Each day we speak to a journalist about their new normal, today we hear from Lisa Smosarski.
Where are you working from right now?
My bedroom because I’m sharing my home with my husband and three children and it’s the quietest place in the house! I’m sat at my dressing table on a nice looking but not ergonomic enough chair… but the most distracting thing is the dressing table mirror. I can see myself ALL THE TIME and it’s very off putting.
What’s your new morning routine?
I’m not setting an alarm, which is nice, so am awoken by one of my children who have been getting up very early because it’s sunny. Then I mainline about three cups of tea, agree with my husband which hours we’re working or home-schooling that day, then get on with the feeding of the 5000. The morning isn’t that different to normal – I actually have more time as we’re not all trying to get out of the house.
What is your workwear looking like?
I am sticking to my normal casual work look. So I am putting on make-up, am wearing jeans and sweaters. Although, I may have snuck in a couple of pairs of yoga trousers if I’m being completely honest…
How has your working week changed since Covid-19 hit?
My biggest change is trying to home-school and work – it’s basically impossible. My CEO has been so supportive and recommended avoiding blending those times to save my sanity, so now my husband and I are working shifts and teaching shifts. We get mornings or afternoons to work and then swap, but as I’m losing a good few hours every day I’m spending my evenings working, too.
What are the current plans for filling your pages?
It’s business as usual tbh, whilst trying to reflect how people are feeling. So normal issues, normal plans, except we’ve tweaked a few regulars – our Elsewhere page now has a kindness spin, our Work/Life has adjusted to our new ways of working and is very contemporary. We want to support our audience, to show we are alongside them, so that is part of our agenda too. We have also launched a big digital franchise, Working from Home with Stylist with a Facebook group at the heart, and are producing more at home workouts through our Strong Women brand.
What does a work lunch look like these days?
I am on leftover duty – yesterday I had some roast potatoes – because I really don’t want to waste food during this time. I can’t confess to making anything much more inspiring than a smoked salmon wrap this week though. I feel so short of time I’m eating at my laptop – although I did grab a 10 minute Diet Coke break in the sun earlier.
What’s the biggest challenge for your desk/publication right now?
We have had to temporarily stop print distribution as there is no one to hand the magazine to, so that has been a challenge as we have been fast tracking our own app to be able to give away a digital edition during this time. That’s all sorted now which is fantastic. Our main challenge is reading the mood of our audience and making sure we adapt accordingly, despite none of us knowing how this will play out.
Has anything positive come out of this?
Although I am devastated by the impact Covid-19 is having on individuals and families, I am trying to find the positives as I think it’s the only way I’ll get through this time.
So the optimist in me thinks lots of positives will come out of this period. As a business we have fast-tracked digitalisation and developments around podcasts and our fitness brand Strong Women, which is really exciting. As a company we have fast-tracked a home working infrastructure which will change how we work more flexibly in the future. As people we are prioritising, supporting, empathising and practicing a lot of gratitude. I saw a post from Matt Haig talking about how when this is over we will go to a café or to the cinema and it will be the best outing we’ve ever had and I thought, “YES! He’s SO right”. We will look at our lives with new eyes and stop taking things for granted.
What’s your top tip for PRs right now?
It’s a tricky time so patience with journalists is key – many people are juggling work with a lot of other demands, including their own health or that of their families, so quick responses are hard for many of us. With that in mind, targeted personalised messaging of where your story fits in our world is key as we are making quicker decisions and need that focus quickly.
What’s your comeback plan?
It’s hard to say now but I can promise we’ll be back with a bang! There is so much more we want to do with Stylist, and none of us can wait to get back together and start doing it.
Follow Lisa Smosarski on Twitter.
To hear from other journalists like Lisa Smosarski about how they’re getting on in lockdown, see our other interviews from our Life in Lockdown series.
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