The GSG QuaranTEAM: Alex Ivey & Emily Williams

Alex Ivey

Senior Director, Research
Isolating from U Street NW, Washington DC

From a public affairs perspective, what/who has impressed you most in their coronavirus management?
Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand. She’s managed to basically eradicate coronavirus from her country by building trust with the public, which means everyone followed her guidance from the outset. That’s crucial in a pandemic, and it’s no small feat in an era of disinformation, of rogues, of selfishness. She’s been visionary, decisive, and unwavering in her whole-of-government / whole-of-society response to the pandemic.

Which remote working adjustments do you hope will translate back to the office?
I have very mixed feelings about the rise of video conferencing. Generally, I prefer phone calls if we can’t meet in person. But working from home on video can create a sense of vulnerability and transparency. Yes, that is my dishwasher running… yes, that is your dog barking… yes, the baby can join this meeting! We’re all human beings with complicated lives, and I hope we carry that reality more, into whatever world we come back to.

What is the first thing you plan to do post-isolation?
Hug my family very tightly, then go to Le Diplomate with my girlfriend. (That was also our last meal out in the real world!)

Emily Williams

Vice President, Digital Communications
Currently isolating in Old Saybrook, CT; mostly isolating in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

What has been the biggest challenge, surprise, or learning since changing to a remote work environment?
I previously worked remotely full-time for over two years and this is not your typical “work from home.” The biggest challenge for me in this environment has been feeling like I have no escape. I can’t pop out in the middle of the day to run an errand or look forward to going out for a drink after work. I thought I came into this with some good coping skills for separating work and home, but it’s been a lot harder than I thought. Add a small child into the mix and the best I can do is try to stay present, take each day as it comes, and feel incredibly grateful that I have a job that I can do from home.

How do you differentiate your “work” vs “personal” time?
I wish I could tell you I had a dedicated space to work in, but in a relatively small apartment, that just isn’t possible. I do make an effort to get some “me” time in each morning before work, usually by going for a run. And then I try to close and walk away from the computer for several hours each evening so I can spend time with my daughter. On the weekends I make plans to “see” family or friends, catch up on my Bravo shows, and drink cocktails

Which remote working adjustments do you hope will translate back to the office?
I am pretty tired of seeing my own face, BUT I love how quickly we’ve adapted to using video calls. I hope we continue to use this technology for our internal meetings, especially when we’re working cross-office, as well as when working with clients. I’ve had a few video calls with people I’ve worked with for years and had never actually met! A little face time goes a long way.

What is the first thing you plan to do post-isolation?
Go have drinks and a meal not at my own home. I am also feeling increasingly desperate for a haircut.

What meal have you made the most often?
I dusted off the ol’ Crockpot and have been making salsa chicken (stupidly easy, supremely tasty) quite regularly.