Stories from Home: PR heads share glimpses of their lockdown life

Trendsetters of the PR industry talk about their time at home amidst the lockdown in a light-hearted conversation with e4m

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Apr 18, 2020 1:50 PM
work from home

The fear of coronavirus may have limited people's movements and confined them to their homes, but it has definitely not broken their spirits. The workforce across industries has gone into a work-from-home mode, including PR and Corp Comm. It has been more than a month since the industry started working from home. The perseverance and motivation of the public relations industry is absolutely commendable. Industry leaders have kept the spirits high of their employees and themselves too by engaging through different work from home practices.

The lockdown has given the leaders time for themselves. Along with work, our leaders are able to concentrate on their hobbies, pay attention to their physical as well as mental health, which tends to be neglected during the usual working days.

E4m had a light-hearted and fun-filled conversation with the trendsetters of the public relations industry on how do they spend their lockdown time and got amazing responses.

Shivani Gupta Managing Director at Strategic Partners Group:

“Working from home comes with its own challenges. There was initially a fair amount of uncertainty, which made it difficult to settle into this new environment. However, forming a routine worked well for me. I always start my day with meditation and yoga. This helps me align myself for the day ahead. It was challenging to coordinate work virtually in the beginning but now things are in motion, which helps me follow a routine despite being at home. One of the things that I feel has emerged as a positive for me is that I finally take out the time to explore my hobbies. I have been cooking and baking; reading a lot of books on yoga, health, wellness and nutrition; areas that interest me; but I never found the time to focus on between work and family responsibilities. 

This whole situation made me reflect back and realise that probably it is never about a lack of time to do things that you love to do. It’s about prioritizing and finding a balance in everything. It has been a good time to take a pause to value and have gratitude for small things in life. As a family, we try and spend our evenings playing cards, board games and sometimes doing karaoke over the weekends for a change. I believe this period has brought in most of our lives, not only a sense of balance as we are always working a lot and running after our so-called life goals, but also guiding us to focus on our mental well-being. I would say all we have to decide is how to best utilise this time that has been given to us.”

Valerie Pinto CEO at Weber Shandwick India

“Living through a pandemic and the ‘new normal’ of working from home can be stressful and exhausting. I make sure to stay mentally, physically and emotionally engaged, and thus healthy.

 The first week of lockdown brought with it excessive amounts of work, and endless video calls. I didn’t have a second to spare, but this gradually started changing as I got into the groove and made a routine. Things got easier as the weeks progressed as I made sure I utilized my time effectively, ensuring plenty of downtime as well.  I monitor my snacking and try eating balanced and light meals. I give myself strict deadlines, with schedules in place for client calls and video meetings. With the tasks of the day done, by 6:30 pm I switch off and unwind.

 At the end of a day, there’s nothing like a glass of wine, and a great playlist to help you relax. I use this time to catch up with friends and family, which de-stresses me, and I then retire for the night so that I can wake up for my early morning Yoga session.

I’m a foodie and extremely passionate about cooking, so I also make sure to squeeze in some time to bake. Since I don’t eat wheat, all the goodies are reserved for my watchman, the garbage collector and the building cleaner.”

 Amit Misra CEO MSL South East Asia

“The intensity of work has been unprecedented, and apart from a crash course in technology to hone my remote working skills, I have been fully consumed in client engagement and operations. It’s been super hectic;  yet I am eternally grateful for the same”.

 Archana Jain Managing Director & CEO at PR Pundit

“The better part of my working week is spent at the desk. I am trying to maintain the discipline of business hours addressing business planning, client & team communications.

 In order to relax, I am cooking up new recipes from cookbooks that have been gathering dust and some interesting ones being shared on Instagram & YouTube; spending time in the garden – sowing summer vegetables, repotting my bonsais; and ensuring an exercise regime each day. I have welcomed a coronial puppy into our household. A dear colleague gifted me a black Labrador puppy and my evenings are spent time running around with him.”

 Tarunjeet Rattan – Managing Partner, Nucleus PR

 A daily dose of meditation and a routine is essential for me to maintain some semblance of balance in my life right now. My one hour of meditation before I delve into all the calls, mails and webinars helps me stay grounded. I also take one hour off every day to pursue my illustration/mandala projects via my other venture ARTickles. Art therapy is a great stress buster!   Along with it, talking and reconnecting to family and friends on daily video calls really helps lighten the mood and stay connected with the outside world.

 As far as physical activity is concerned, I have to really work at it. So, apart from having my 9-month-old beagle – Peppy be my personal trainer, we have now started a fitness challenge in our team that is being received very well. Plus it is super fun!

Atul Sharma Managing Director, Ruder Finn India

“First and foremost, I think it’s critical to maintain a reasonable balance between the home and work schedule. It’s easy to get consumed by one or the other, but I have formulated a routine and stick to it, dividing enough time between both. Since my children are being homeschooled through online classes—as is the case with several others—we’ve had to acquaint them to the new Edu Tech ecosystem, which for young kids is a completely new concept. On the work front, all of us are ensuring that we are constantly connected via video calls because, in times such as these, it’s imperative to ensure we don’t get caught up with deadlines and continue to build connections and nurture relationships. We’ve devised methods to stay in touch through townhalls, fitness sessions, let’s be in touch calls and are also utilising social media to keep the flock together, engaged and upbeat. We recently held a Fitness session hosted by one of our colleagues that received rave reviews! As for me personally, apart from my regular workouts at home, as a fitness enthusiast, I’m constantly on the lookout for interesting workout regimes online.”

Prema Sagar – Chairperson and Founder, BCW India Group

"In the daily hustle, we are constantly running, with no time to ourselves. Working from home has given me a lot of quiet mind-space to think. This has given me a lot of mental peace. Other than that, music is my biggest stress-reliever. Every year, during the Easter weekend, the Genesis Foundation organizes the Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival, but we couldn’t do that this year, so I have been immersing myself in music at home. Staying in touch with friends and family is another thing that brings happiness. In fact, we are these days talking to friends who we haven’t spoken to in years!

On the physical fitness front, I have been walking inside the house and doing my steps. We are also ensuring that we are eating healthy. The best part is that I now do my physio exercises on my own, in the absence of a physiotherapist."

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