ESKW/A’s Viewing Recommendations While WFH

In an effort to stay connected and invoke some watercooler chat in the virtual world, we’ve begun asking staff for a personal update and signoff at the end of our staff-wide Zoom meetings. Last week everyone told us what they had for breakfast (far too many of us are subsisting on coffee alone), and this week we asked for TV and movie suggestions (for nights and weekends, of course).

To keep things relevant for our professional network, we highlighted staff picks that fit into these categories: Design, Art, and “Given the Times”—but we had to include a few Guilty Pleasures at the end. Happy quarantining!

Design

Several staff cannot deny the architect within, even when at leisure, and indulged Netflix’s Grand Designs, now in its tenth season. This show “presents people who take self-building houses to a new level, following every step of their ambitious plans from beginning to end.” When one of us mentioned this show, somewhat ashamed, others unabashedly replied, “SO good!”

From another corner of the design world comes Amazon Prime Video’s Making the Cut, in which Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn challenge 12 established fashion designers to become the next global brand. Each week’s winning ensembles are available to buy on Amazon, which will hopefully inspire some business casual looks for our return to the office, since WFH robes and day-jamas will be unacceptable.

This last one may be a stretch, but for a more sinister and surreal show loosely involving design, HBO’s Westworld recently entered its third season. Someone had to architect and, like, 4D-print all those simulated realities, right? That show is confusing.

Art

On our #health-wellness Slack channel, folks had already mentioned that The Metropolitan Opera is streaming past performances, and some Broadway shows are also available on YouTube. Our office manager Lauretta watched “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” last week, which is more than the composer himself can say. Stephen went to bed early, because the program’s start was delayed due to technical difficulties.

Fialka, one of our associates, let us know that the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) is streaming its 2020 features and short films for free from April 20 to May 1. Beginning May 29, TFF is also participating in We Are One: A Global Film Festival, “for 10 days of free entertainment and an opportunity to donate to the World Health Organization,” Fialka added.

Piggybacking off Parasite’s Oscar wins, a few of us have checked out Bong Joon-ho’s other films, including Okja and Snowpiercer (which will also soon be a TV show, but was a graphic novel first[!], as Partner and comic book-connoisseur Randy Wood was sure to remind us).

Given the Times

Science fiction reigns pertinent given the times. Jon Mark, one of our senior project managers, has leaned into the sci-fi/thriller genre, offering up 12 Monkeys for how its characters deal with a nascent plague that terminates most of the population (yikes). And still more of our staff has stayed with the post-apocalyptic survival vibe, taking in The Walking Dead and Z Nation.

For a lighter take on the times, another Lauretta selection is the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day, if a lot of your days are starting to feel the same. Or to break the monotony and isolation, perhaps take some inspiration from Cast Away and paint a face on a ball. Tom Hanks survived that ordeal and COVID-19, just saying.

Guilty Pleasures, Sports Junkies, and For the Kids!

This last section is our catch-all, because we’d be remiss not to admit that some of us are binging “less heady” pieces like TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé, Bravo’s Real Housewives of various cities, and Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle.

If you’re fiending for sports, ESPN moved up the release of its 10-part Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls documentary, The Last Dance, with new episodes coming out on Sunday nights through May 17. What time is it? “Game time, woo!” Sorry, actually 9 p.m. Eastern. Some of us are really missing some sports time.

To keep little ones occupied, a new dad in the office suggested “Miss Katie Sings” on YouTube, and Partner Kimberly Murphy recently introduced her kids to ‘80s comedies Overboard and Uncle Buck. They’ve since asked for more “oldies” (yikes again).

Let us know in the comments or on social media what you’ve been watching to pass the time, or if you’ve got any more classics for Kimberly’s kids!

Prioritizing Health & Wellness During the COVID-19 Crisis

IMG_0749Given the times, ESKW/Architects has been doing our best to stay healthy physically and mentally while working from home. Starting last month, we’ve been sending weekly office-wide emails with tips for remaining active and stable, and individual team members have been leading other initiatives virtually. These are some strategies that are working for us, so please let us know in the comments what’s been working for you!

Our first email reminded staff of the 20-20-20 Exercise to reduce eye strain, which recommends taking a break from the screen every 20 minutes and focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. A similar rule of thumb is B-B-B for Blink, Breathe, Break.

The weekly emails have also included links to the Headspace mindfulness meditation app, as well as apps that currently include free workouts like Nike, Core, and Carrot. One email offered tips for staying connected with friends and family with virtual dinner dates, game nights, and book clubs–and even suggested going low-tech and sending a handwritten letter or postcard!

Everyday on our #health-wellness Slack channel, Architect Daniel Horn has been reminding us to practice 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation at 2:50 as part of an effort led by at250.org that encourages everyone to stop and take a deep breath together, because stress can lower immune response and social distancing can increase feelings of isolation.

“I actually heard about @2:50 from my fiancée,” Daniel said. “But to our surprise the first time we watched it, our friend Arthur Grau from MIT was the one running them! It’s a very small world.”

In lieu of starting a new #achesandpains channel, one team member asked the #health-wellness forum for tips to ease lumbar strain and lower back pain now that he’s not at his normal workstation. Put a foam roller or rolled-up towel behind your back if you’re suffering yourself, or try standing at a counter for some portion of the day.

 

Our #lunch Slack channel was always somewhat active, but it is now more so as the team has been sharing recipes and plate pictures. We’re definitely starting to see more fruits, vegetables, and quinoa, as people have been seizing the opportunity to cook more and eat healthier instead of eating out.

Associate Janine Sutton Golub first started sharing shots of her plates while working from home as another way to stay connected. “As we’re pulled out of our normal routines, keeping some routine, even if it’s different, is very important,” Janine said. “I hadn’t made myself lunch in a while. I do miss our office’s neighborhood lunch options, but this is a new kind of fun.”

By far the most fun, relaxing, and engaging endeavor has been Thursday Yoga-Inspired Breaks led by Associate Fialka Semenuik. She had spearheaded similar in-office sessions in the past, which everyone loved, so now she’s taken our practice virtual. Lion’s mouths, downward dogs, and cat-cows–oh my!

Fialka has completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training course after first approaching a vinyasa flow practice as a way to manage stress and exercise more.

“I distinctly remember how good I felt after the first class. I began focusing on whole-body wellness and wanted to share the benefits with others, and that’s how it first came to the office,” Fialka said. “Now, thanks to the partners’ concern for everyone’s health and welfare both physically and mentally, we had the idea to put together health tips to share. I just hope my contribution has been valuable. More importantly, I hope to remind us of the inseparable mind-body connection and to find that one deep, full breath for the day.”

This has been a trying time for us New Yorkers and for the rest of the nation, but we’re doing our best to stay healthy, and we hope all of you are too. Be well and stay strong!