Even though the world is starting to reopen after months of lockdown and folks are starting to go back to work, there are lots of us still working from home. While we’ve likely found our groove after months of WFH-life, if you’re wondering how some notable Toronto boss babes have transitioned to work from home life, then keep on reading. These ladies are not only leaders in their respective fields but they’re incredibly inspiring. Find out how each one of these boss babes structures their schedule, breaks up their day, and for some, leads their teams!
Caleigh Rykiss, Owner of BOLO
“I am one of those rare people who THRIVES working from home. Before I started BOLO I was a freelance writer and producer and I really found a good flow in a WFH routine. Now that I’m back home after a few years spending 12hrs + per day at the studio, I feel uber productive – despite the fact that the future my business and industry is in serious danger. My mornings are sacred – I usually take an hour or so to quietly drink my coffee without any work distractions – catch up on the news and snuggle with my puppies. After that I usually have a focused few hours between 9-11am where I put my head down, answer emails, make changes to the BOLO class schedule and plan my social media posts. I think it’s really important for people to know what their most productive hours are – its a key to breaking the WFH code. My favourite time to workout is between 11-1pm ish – I feel awake and strong and I find its a great way to break up the day. I will usually participate in a virtual BOLO class and then plan out my class for that day or the next day. Another silver lining to WFH is the ability to elongate workouts and spend more time activating, mobilizing and stretching the body. After that I usually have another super productive hour in the early afternoon. I teach classes and host staff meetings in the evenings – which is a nice way to end the work day. My biggest weakness is social media – I find that I am on my phone FAR MORE than usual and it can be a slippery slope. Still working on figuring out how to prevent going down rabbit holes and wasting time there.”
Afiya Francisco, On-Air Style Expert
“Even though I’ve been self-employed for many years, self-isolation is a whole new experience that sees me taping live segments remotely from my kitchen while homeschooling my two boys, Felix and Des. A typical day is a green shake, homeschooling for about an hour and a half. I squeeze in meetings/emails/research during the boy’s hour-long morning screen time. One of my favourite things has been getting in daily family hikes after lunch. Then the afternoon kind of mirrors the morning. Finally, once the kids are in bed, I’m back to work.”
Natasha Koifman, President of NKPR
“Over the last few months, working from home has been an adjustment. As a business owner of a PR agency, it’s been important for me to continue to instil confidence in our team as well as continue to support our clients and partners. While we’re all working in isolation, we’ve made sure that everyone on the team feels connected the same way they would when they’re physically in the office – so we start each morning with a full team Zoom meeting; every day a different member leads the call, we go through account brainstorms, share industry news and interesting articles and do interactive activities. We also always encourage everyone to take time for themselves during the workday to get outside and clear their mind.
To break up the days, I start my mornings with a quick workout via an online SPINCO on Demand class and then later in the evenings my partner and I go for long walks to explore different neighbourhoods. Rediscovering everything that this city [Toronto] has to offer by foot has been incredible – I’ve gained a new appreciation for our communities, from local grocers and artisans on the Danforth, to local coffee shops in my favourite neighbourhood Bloor-Yorkville. I’ve also found a new love for cooking! Right now I’m slowly making my way through Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook — spaghetti alla bottarga is one of our favourites… I mean I didn’t even know what bottarga was until now!
Our clients, big and small, have had to make changes to adapt to the current climate so this has been an exceptionally important time for us to really stretch our thinking and explore new and innovative ways to support them. Being a valuable partner at the table – a true extension of their team – is part of our brand ethos and in these times this has been even more than an imminent priority; my workdays are spent in client meetings and coming up with creative solutions based on their goals to make sure that we are helping them reach their goals as well as ultimately drive sales through an unprecedented time.
What I’ve learned most is that as we adapt to a changing world, we’re presented with so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Our way of living has changed…and we’re now given the opportunity to reprioritize our time. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about is that our only irreplaceable currencies are time and love, so the most important choices we can make is where and with whom to give them to.”
Catherine Addai, CEO of KAELA KAY
“My day usually starts at 7 am to get my kiddies ready for their day and ends around midnight. In between, my days are filled with meetings, order fulfillment, and conversations with the production team, lots of emails, food breaks (very necessary) and checking in with my family. As all parents dealing with homeschooling and trying to work during this COVID-19 time, I’ve had to adjust to working from home in my basement and adjust my schedule so that I work 2 full days a week and I home-school our children 3 full days week. Also, 4 pm has become my golden time on workdays where I try to get as much work done as possible by 4 pm so I can make shipping carrier cut-off times and be wrapped up by 6 pm. To get ahead in the week, I plan my upcoming week on the Saturday prior; I plan what’s happening with the children and homeschooling, what shipments are going out based on the production schedule, what content we will be sharing on social media, what Zoom meetings I need to be on etc. – I’ve learned to reserve my Sundays for leisure and actually BEING with my family :).”
Ellie Mae Waters, Creative Director and Founder of Ellie Mae Studios
“As a creative person, working from home has definitely been a shift. I have developed a very serious relationship with Zoom. Most of my day feels like I’m jumping from one Zoom call to the next, which feels productive, but actually gives me a lot less time to get the work done that we were talking about. It’s been very interesting developing a creative process with the rest of the design team while being physically apart, but mood boards and FaceTimes have really helped.
To break up the day my boyfriend [Ellie Mae’s CEO] and I go for a drive and take our French Bulldog, Clay, for a walk. I find the fresh air helps me to disconnect and gives me a fresh perspective on everything that is going on.
Leading the team from a distance has definitely taken me into uncharted waters. The connection that we have in the Studio has always been one of our biggest strengths; I miss connecting in person to really grasp how everyone is feeling.
At the beginning of quarantine, we worried that people were going to burn out with so much screen time and not being able to leave their homes. To make sure everyone’s mental health stayed in a good place, we chose to change our five-day work week into four days. It has been an adjustment but working from home has really pushed our team to communicate more. I believe that once we’re back in the studio, we’ll be a stronger group because of it.“
Alex Nikolajev, Content Creator and Host, One Last Thing podcast
“Working from home can definitely be a challenge so I do try to stick to a consistent routine from Monday to Friday to ensure I’m the most productive between my 9-5 work and the podcast in the evening. And really my best tip for getting sh*t done is time batching. What that means is literally blocking out chunks of your day to focus on a specific task or a series of small tasks and assigning a set time to each of them. Let’s say I need to go through emails — I’ll set 30 minutes right in the morning and then in the late afternoon. Those two blocks of time are strictly dedicated to checking email and then I don’t have to stress about reviewing them throughout the whole day. This allows you to not only better focus on what you need to get done but it also breaks up your day and makes each priority on your checklist seem achievable. I also time batch my workouts in AM and go for a run or jump on my Peloton because I always find I feel distracted throughout the day if I’m thinking about having to workout vs. if I just get to it first thing in the morning. Lastly, if all else fails that day, a quick cuddle with my dog is simply the best way to take a clear break and then dive back into work!“
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