Benjamin Moser has been with MediaCom Switzerland for seven years in various positions and has recently taken on the role of CEO. He started his career at Mindshare and Carat in Germany.
Werbewoche: The home office era is coming to an end in many places - when will you return to the agency?
Benjamin Moser: We have created a concept that allows employees to return to work from 11 May. The employees themselves decide when and how often they want to work from the agency.
Is your entire agency in a home office?
For the most part, we are in a home office. Occasionally, colleagues are on site when there are tasks that cannot be done from the home office, or when the ceiling at home threatens to fall on our heads.
Did you face any technical problems when setting up your workstation back then?
No, or at least no problems that MediaCom would have to answer for. Only my two boys sometimes steal the bandwidth in the W-LAN, as a result of which then the team calls jerky.
Where have you set up shop?
I'm lucky enough to have my own room where I can work undisturbed and which has everything I need. The only thing missing was a good office chair, which I got from the agency after the first few days in the home office.
What do you need to be able to do your job?
The most important thing is to have enough time to talk to our customers and colleagues. A little unoccupied time in the diary helps a lot, because often the conversations without a specific reason are the most valuable.
Did you have to "upgrade" or get materials from the agency during the home office period?
I ordered a different keyboard online that is much more user-friendly, having previously chosen my hardware based more on design than function.
Is it difficult to separate yourself enough when the kids are home?
Since I have my own room and during the day, especially my wife keeps the two bullies in check, it is no problem for me to separate myself. Nevertheless, the two regularly crash my video calls, which is currently but almost to the good tone and that has not yet taken me ill. Nevertheless, I know from many in the agency that it can be very challenging to do justice to your job and your children at the same time.
Have you had home office experience before or is this a first?
Until now, there was rarely a reason for a home office, at most in emergencies or when a craftsman had to come by. I was never a big fan of it - but I can see a few advantages now.
Which jobs go smoothly?
Everything that concerns the factual and factual works out quite well. I would even say that many tasks can be done a little more efficiently. You are less disturbed in your concentration, or you can decide much easier not to be disturbed for the moment than when you are sitting in the office.
Which processes are difficult to handle "from a distance" compared to the normal agency routine?
We are an agency. A very central part of that is the interpersonal and personal exchange, away from all the to-dos. For example, I have a hard time at our virtual town hall meetings. You can't directly observe the reactions of your colleagues to what you say and present, which makes it harder to gauge the mood. That's why I also take the time every day to talk on the phone with at least two employees with whom I don't normally work directly every day. I am very interested in how my employees are doing and how I can support them in this difficult situation.
Is there anything that even works easier or more productively in the home office?
People are more accessible, meetings always start on time, and I feel like I'm moving forward with a lot of issues faster.
What do they do about the ceiling falling on your head at home?
When I need to get my mind off things, I go to my game room and try to improve my high scores. It's a great way to switch off and recharge my batteries.
Did you learn or perfect anything during that time?
Yeah, my "live catch" and "shatzing" techniques while playing pinball are getting better.
Has something like home office jitters set in for you yet?
Yes, increasingly. I will definitely integrate some positive lessons learned from the home office experience into my daily work routine, but I'm also really looking forward to seeing my MediaCom family again. I'm even looking forward to the daily traffic jam again.
What do you miss most about the physical day-to-day life of an agency?
This may sound strange, but I miss the car rides to and from the agency. Those are always the moments for me to get ready for the day in the morning and to recap and wind down in the evening. The trip from the dinner table to the home office is done in five seconds. There's no time for these rituals and so the boundaries between work and leisure are often blurred.
What do you generally miss about normal everyday life?
Above all, I miss the freedom to travel. For example, I would like to visit my family in Germany again.
Looking back, what will you miss most about the current situation?
I will miss being able to see my boys every day, without exception, and being able to play a round of football with them in the garden for an unscheduled half hour.
Are you confident that your agency will survive the crisis?
I have no doubt whatsoever about that. We have long-standing and intensive partnerships with our customers. The current situation is even leading to us growing even closer together and experiencing increased appreciation for how quickly and flexibly we have responded to the changes and developed new approaches to solutions.
As we all know, everything has its positive sides. What is it in your current home office situation?
We already had a strong cohesion in the agency before Corona. In the last few months, however, this has become even stronger and all colleagues meet each other with an incredible amount of understanding and willingness to help. This is of great importance to me and makes me even more aware of why I am part of this agency.
To what extent will your agency benefit from the crisis or from the lessons learned?
We see ourselves fully confirmed in our decision to rely on agile working methods, which we already implemented two years ago. This learned agility has made our work much easier, especially in the current situation, and has allowed us to focus fully on our customers instead of having to first find our way around the new circumstances ourselves.
When and why did you last laugh in connection with the home office?
This was clearly in our last virtual townhall meeting and I laughed with joy. Our employees had played us a self-produced thank you video for how we manage this difficult time. This gesture made me very happy and left me a little speechless.
What would you like to give your colleagues in the industry to take with them on their way through the crisis?
Strong and reliable agencies at the side of their clients have become even more important as a result of this crisis. Agencies that succeed in adapting to the changing needs of their customers need not fear for the future.
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", Werbewoche.ch sheds light on everyday working life within the four walls of one's home.
All episodes at a glance:
- Episode 1: Peter Brönnimann, Publicis
- Episode 2: Daniel Zuberbühler, Sir Mary
- Episode 3: Christoph Bürge, Butcher Rottmann Bürge
- Episode 4: Jeff Gerber, Comet
- Episode 5: Roman Reichelt, Credit Suisse
- Episode 6: Markus Hammer, Equipe
- Episode 7: Frank Bodin, Bodin Consulting
- Episode 8: Michi Frank, Goldbach Group
- Episode 9: Gioia Bozzato, ADC Switzerland
- Episode 10: Michael Kamm, Agence Trio
- Episode 11: Katja Metz, Leo Burnett
- Episode 12: Karin Estermann, Content and Form
- Episode 13: Leone Ming, Leone Ming Est.
- Episode 14: Guntram Friede, Salesforce
- Episode 15: Claudia Lässer, Teleclub
- Episode 16: Moreno Cavaliere, Gruppo Corriere del Ticino
- Episode 17: Tino Krause, Facebook
- Episode 18: Tanja Hollenstein and Peter Riegel, Riverside
- Episode 19: Dennis Lück, Jung von Matt/Limmat
- Episode 20: Urs Jenni, Jenni Communication
- Episode 21: Denise Nick, Partner & Associate
- Episode 22: Samuel Textor, Kind regards
- Episode 23: Parvez Sheik Fareed, PAM Advertising
- Episode 24: Regula Bührer Fecker, Rod Communication
- Episode 25: Jonas Eliassen, Dentsu Aegis Network Switzerland
- Episode 26: Guillaume Borel, ViznerBorel
- Episode 27: Thomas Städeli, Wirz Brand Relations
- Episode 28: Nico Ammann, Home Zurich
- Episode 29: Nora Müller, Republica
- Episode 30: David Cappellini, Monami
- Episode 31: Martin Matt, Mjm.cc
- Episode 32: Fabian Zürcher, Ringier Brand Studio
- Episode 33: Stephan Frey, Attackera
- Episode 34: Pam Hügli, Serviceplan
- Episode 35: Tobias Fueter, Stories
- Episode 36: Norbert Rieger, Michel Bognar and Elie Kerbage, Truestory
- Episode 37: Benjamin Moser, MediaCom Switzerland