Merkle quarantine diary – Week 9

Nine weeks have passed since Merkle moved into the home office. Another recap of the week about how we master the daily work routine remotely.

Merkle@Home: This week Ben reports what he experienced in Home Office Quarantine

Day 46 - Monday, the 18.05.2020

The week starts like every week. Yeah, like every day, actually. At 05:54 o'clock I hear them, to me oh so well-known, tapping steps, which consciously quietly, but nevertheless determinedly and fast run towards my bed. Just 3 seconds later these little blue eyes under the blond hair stare at me: "Daddy!!!! Get up!" So I get out of bed and enjoy the morning coffee with one of the numerous home office protagonists. For Dad the Doppio and for Max, 4 years old (almost 5, "he" sets great store by that), the children's "Cappuccino" á la Nesquik. Numerous home office "colleagues"? Yes, I live in a multi-generational house - a special challenge in these special times. The youth consists of Max, the early riser, and his sister, Emma, normally a first-grader, but now for weeks a home schooling ABC soldier. So they're both on current kindergarten and school leave. Anna, the charming mother of the two, completes the "youthful" part of our shared flat. Right on time at 07:45 a.m. the FAT (Family-Alignment-Talk) with the 2nd team is on the program: My lovely parents-in-law. We have been living under one roof for about 5 years now, but this current intensity of living together is new for everyone. At the FAT, upcoming hangout calls are coordinated across generations with Kids-Shuttle commitments, lunch logistics and the availability of each individual. After this sync, the "new business" business can finally start.

Kind schaut durch die Tür
Daddy, is that Holger with the dog on the phone?

Anyone who has kids below the teenage border knows what I'm talking about: Of course, it is really hard to explain to your kids that mom and dad are at home all day, but it is still not the weekend. And here I have to give a big compliment to all the kids in the home office. You really mastered this extraordinary situation superbly! However, you can still see the same pictures on Skype, hangout and zoom calls over and over again: People switching to "mute" abruptly, making wild gestures to complement the kids not yet captured by the notebook camera.

Then, however, one or the other head stares at the screen from the side and finally at the evening hour, then also sometimes fully integrated into calls. "Daddy! Who is that?" "Holger! "Helga? "No, Holger! The one with the dog!" "Can we see him too? The next thing you know, a new business, an account director, two kids and a dog in a video call.

Day 47 - Tuesday, 19.05.2020

Iron sales strategies are being forged in the Gym Keller

We live a little outside, to be more accurate very rural, at the edge of the Isar metropolis. Commuting to the office means 2.5 hours of "lost" time for me every day and I somehow miss it. It's crazy that one can seriously miss a well-groomed rush hour on the Mittlerer Ring to "consume" the accurately lined up cars of a German premium car maker every day during the daily stop-and-go.

As is well known, the range of movement is currently significantly restricted for everyone, but eating is made much easier by the proximity to the fridge at home. One can call this a conflict of goals with a clear conscience, so that going to my "interim gym" basement is currently the only way to balance my physical constitution. So I try, at least every 2nd day, to prevent the home-office round-back position. And today is another "basement evening", after all, the shirts for the customer appointments should still fit when it's finally time to "go out" again.

Day 48 - Wednesday, 20.05.2020

Stofftiere auf Esszimmerstühlen
Paula, Friede & Co open the introduction round today

Today is shooting day. Sounds almost like TV. We want to entertain and get the audience emotionally involved with the planned video. Our business is a people's business. Of course it's about technologies, processes and prices. But at the end of the day, there are always people behind it all, values such as trust and sympathy, in order to want to make a difference together, i.e. between the agency and its customers. Due to the current situation of purely virtual customer presentations, we thought about putting the team together at a table and staging an imaginary introduction round for the customer. Of course, this requires a special set-up in order to bring the "round table" across in a reliable way. After everyone is sitting in his or her own "quiet home office", Paul, Frieda & Co., the collected stuffed animal fraction, has to be used.

You can imagine that such a video shoot means a lot of fun and the material for the outtakes is almost endless. But... also the result is really impressive. I'm already curious what the customer says. 

This week is not an optimal week. At least from a new business point of view. Because of the holiday, which is of course not only dedicated to the fathers, and the chance to build a smooth bridge to the weekend, many customers and those who want to become customers will take their well-deserved time out on Friday. Means for me: 2 days less conversations, exchange and contact. Well, then I'll probably push the tiresome administrative tasks and from next week on I'll pick up the phone again.

Day 49 - Friday, 22.05.2020

Friday! End of the week! Biorhythms are dropping. Not this week. The adrenaline rises relentlessly. Monday is pitch time. Comparisons to competitive sports are perfectly valid here. A long, long time ago, I was active on the tartan track and in sand pits myself, I know how it feels: you trained forever for that one day. Numerous hours of heart and sweat were put into the preparation. One last final training session, the dry run, and then waiting. You sit in the starting block, waiting for the starting signal and hoping to be able to call up 100% of your own performance and to be able to convince the customer of your, in your own opinion, best ideas. The only difference to the past is that now you are not alone, but are experiencing this intensive phase together with the whole team. And that is really fun. I have a good feeling for Monday and I'm sure we'll rock it. With this in mind: On your marks! Get set! Weekend!