Greetings from the home office - Episode 35: Tobias Fueter, Stories

Tobias Fueter from Stories shows us his workplace within his own four walls in the 35th episode of "Greetings from the Home Office".


Stories Co-Founder and Cannes Lions winner Tobias Fueter loves emotional storytelling in any format on any screen: whether Christmas commercials or comedy series, animated musicals, innovative content formats or VR experiences. His international award-winning works fascinate audiences and measurably strengthen brands. He lives in Zurich with his wife Noëlle, two dogs and an Apple TV. How long have you been in the home office?

Tobias Fueter: Since the 16th of March and since a week now and then again in the office.


Is your entire company in a home office?

Since we as a film production always rely on our terabytes of video data and our big servers, we set up a flexible system from the beginning, how we can basically work from home, with access to our servers and so that we still had individual of our post producers on site when needed. Thanks to our whole Stories team and all our freelancers for the great flexibility and quick response time during these weeks!


Did you face any technical problems when setting up your workstation back then?

As a production, hardly at all. Zoom had been our preferred video conferencing tool for over a year and our business account had been ready for a long time. We had also experienced online approvals and remote shoots months before. As I said, however, the big file dates on film are always a challenge, whether in the office or at home. But we are used to solving that. Personally, on the other hand, I've actually always struggled with technical problems, not because I don't know my way around, but almost the opposite: I'm so nerdy that I wanted to use the time at home to optimize the very last thing out of my new Mac laptop and the more I "optimized" there, the bigger the problems became. (laughs)


Where have you set up shop?

I've always had a home office space in our eat-in kitchen, nice by the window with a view and our beloved video projector in the back.


What do you need to be able to do your job?

Laptop, fast internet, a cold cup of coffee and one of our dogs comfortably napping next to me under my desk.


Is it difficult to separate yourself enough when the kids are home?

I don't have any children, but I do have my very lively wife Noëlle and two difficult to train dogs...


Do you have home office experience or is this a first?

I'm used to working from home and love the peace and quiet of being able to immerse myself in a subject. And with our flexible working hours, work comes up at some point anyway, regardless of whether you're in the office or on the road - that's why there have often been unintentional home offices before.


Which processes are difficult in comparison to normal everyday work?

In the fast-paced day-to-day production, we appreciate the direct exchange in the open-plan office, where everyone listens to each other and can react immediately. In the home office, a regular and thorough exchange is essential to maintain the flow of information and avoid misunderstandings.


Which jobs go smoothly?

Concept work on film ideas, director's interpretations, archive searches and all other work that can be done individually on a computer without too much data can also be done wonderfully from home. Often even more concentrated.


Is there anything that even works easier or more productively in the home office?

Cut approvals, PPMs and strategy meetings with our agencies and clients work surprisingly well. The nice thing about online meetings is that you're more likely to get all the decision-makers in one meeting and come up with a solution together quickly. The meetings don't last as long and since you always look everyone directly in the eye on Zoom, the attention level in the meeting seems almost higher to me than in a large meeting room.


What do you do about the ceiling falling on your head?

What me and my wife always do: We take our dogs out into nature. There is nothing more inspiring than a walk in the woods.


Has something like home office jitters set in for you yet?

I notice how I am even more impatient than usual. Since I don't always hear what else is happening right away, I always quickly get the feeling that the world is standing still and I'm not making any progress. That's one of my big weaknesses and I meditate on it every day, pretty unsuccessfully so far. (laughs)


What do you miss most about the physical workday?

The movement, the creative chaos, the flexible rethinking, the spontaneous ideas, the personal spark of inspiration, the instant energy in direct contact.


Are you confident that your company will come through the crisis unscathed?

I am an incorrigible optimist and am convinced that the crisis will make us all even more innovative, intellectually more flexible, and productionally more quick-witted. We all had a lot of time for ourselves - and finally for our loved ones - and for thinking about what is important to us in the world. I believe these experiences will have a lasting and positive impact on us - and the world as a whole. We will all go into the future with more foresight, clearer goals and a greater sense of purpose.


As we all know, everything has its positive sides. What is it in your current home office situation?

More time with my wife and my dogs and finally being able to watch my favourite films on the beamer again. In addition, we had a great Zoom cinema premiere of Micha Lewinsky's worth seeing "Moscow Simply!" a week ago. We all watched a movie online together from our living room couches wrapped in blankets or already in our pajamas with our families. It was a wonderfully futuristic and at the same time totally "retro" moment.


When and why did you last laugh in connection with the home office?

Adi, our Stories partner, is the man for the funny Instagram shares. I don't know where he always finds this stuff, but what's floating around in our Stories chat is absolutely brilliant in parts. Actually, we should sign the directors of these amateur films right away. (laughs)


Even if you don't have a crystal ball: Do you expect the current situation to last much longer?

There are already too many opinions on a topic that no one can really answer. I prefer to focus on what we can actively influence: namely, dealing with the current situation on a daily basis and reacting flexibly. The travel restrictions, for example, mean for me at the moment that we may focus on our national talents in the near future, which pleases me personally and is also a positive side of this crisis: reflecting on our own strengths.


What would you like to give your colleagues in the industry to take with them on their way through the crisis?

I've got three rolls of toilet paper in the basement if anyone's interested....

The coronavirus has a firm grip on society. Those who can stay at home, stay at home. The advertising, communications and marketing industry is also shifting operations to the home office on a large scale. With the series "Greetings from the home office", sheds light on everyday working life within the four walls of one's home.

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