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Business Observer Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2020 1 month ago

Area advertising leader sees big future in blending working from home with an office

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Patricia Courtois of On Ideas says people still want to connect with brands that are sincere about the role they play in a consumer's life.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Executive: Patricia Courtois, executive vice president and chief client officer

Firm: On Ideas

Employees: 24, in Jacksonville headquarters and Sarasota

Working situation: Combining WFH and office. Our physical office is officially closed with WFH for all, but it's so peaceful there with everyone gone, that I go in two to three days a week just to get a break from my dining room table. I also find that if I'm home, I'll be multitasking to the hilt — too many distractions! We also connect with our team across all offices every morning on Zoom. It's a great way to make sure everyone is doing okay. 

Biggest WFH or WFO challenge: Because we are so collaborative, I miss the camaraderie of being together. We do make up for that with Zoom calls, but nothing beats being together in-person.

Most important business lesson you've learned in the shutdown: We can work remotely with no loss of productivity. It's also helped us connect with each team member on a very personal level — to see what they are dealing with and how we can be better leaders in helping everyone reach their potential.

How far out into the future are you looking for the business? I think at this point, one year out is about all we can do. While saying that, figuring out how to bring everyone back to the office setting safely is a day-to-day concern.

What marketing trend will last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic? Promoting working remotely will be a big game-changer. Research is showing consumers are starting to tire of the "We're in this together" messaging, but they will still want to connect with brands that are sincere about the role they play in a consumer's life.

What’s the biggest marketing fad right now you’d like to see go away? Brands using the Zoom meeting format for their commercial spots. We can all relate to the Zoomers who are not able to connect, so it's getting a little tired.

How do you maintain your spirit/morale during these tumultuous times? Being grateful that our family is healthy and that we live in a beautiful place that allows us to enjoy the great outdoors while being socially distanced. When not working, we started a couple of huge projects around the house that have been on the back burner. Just being out in the flower garden and getting my hands dirty has felt really great. I'm riding my bike more, and we're kayaking and playing some golf, too. 

Books, articles, TV shows, podcasts and/or audiobooks have you’ve focused on: I've got two books going simultaneously, “The Price of Illusion” by Joan Juliet Buck (former editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue), and “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow. I love listening to the podcast "How I Built This" on NPR. And I'm binge watching every episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Great British Bake Off."

Exercise or stress relief have you’ve turned to during the crisis: I do a Pure Barre workout at least four times a week (just hit 1,000 classes!) as well as bike, walk, kayak and golf.

Last trip out of the house: Groceries (but basically all of the above activities).

What are you most looking forward to post-lockdown/pandemic? Three things: being back with my teammates, a dinner party with friends and traveling to Jackson Hole, Wy. to hike and explore Yellowstone with our son who lives and works out there.

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