Working from Home & Other Tips to Flatten the Curve While Supporting Your Community

As our global community, country, state and cities work together to support public health and safety in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, we can all do our part as individuals to flatten the curve. As we move to remote work and prioritize social distancing, STF has some tips for what we can do as individuals to cope with these changes and support our local economy and communities.

Working from Home

As companies transition to remote work in order to flatten the exponential spread of coronavirus, STF has a few tips to help you work productively from home:

  1. Ensure your tech set up
    As you start your remote working endeavors, ensure that all your tech is set up correctly. From laptops to webcams to other necessary applications, make sure all your telecommunications lines are open with your employer and clients. You can’t get the work done if you don’t have the right tools. Contact your IT services and ensure everything you need will work from your home.
  2. Carve out a space
    Find a space in your house where you can focus where there typically isn’t a lot of action. If you have a home office, great. If not, carve out a corner in your dining room, living room or bedroom to work. Make sure you have enough space to stretch out with your computer and other necessary supplies like a notepad and pens. Having your own space will help encourage your productivity.
  3. Set up a routine
    To prevent temptations to procrastinate and slack off, establish a routine for yourself. In the morning, get dressed and brew your coffee as if you were making your commute to the office. This will help prepare you for the work day. Throughout your day, schedule time for focused work and for short breaks. At the end of the day, log off and distance yourself from your workspace. This schedule will help you maintain a work-life balance as you work remotely.

Supporting Your Local Community

As our community faces health and economic hardship, here are some helpful ways we can support one another and make sure our favorite local businesses can open their doors again soon:

  1. Shop Smart
    When grocery shopping, limit your purchases to two quantities of any item. This will ensure there are enough items to go around. Additionally, if you see a price tag marked “WIC” try to pick a different brand of that item. “WIC” indicates that the item is approved for the federal supplemental nutrition program. If “WIC” items run out, individuals on the program will leave the store empty handed. Shop smart to ensure everyone can stock up for social distancing.
  2. Check on Your Neighbors and Friends
    With today’s technology it is easier than ever to check in with each other from afar. Use video chat, text and phone calls to check in on the well-being of your friends and neighbors regularly.

With these tips, we hope you will join us in doing our part to flatten the curve and support our community.

Authored by Madeline Roper. Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash.

The death last week of Jack Welch marked the passing of a leader whose management style the New York Times characterized as “the superstar executive (who) is often criticized today as a symbol of corporate greed and economic inequity.”

Welch, the former G.E. chief executive, was a larger-than-life figure whose power earned him the nickname “Neutron Jack.” Along with charismatic CEOs like Lee Iacocca, Welch personified the 1980s “greed is good” executive – a leader whose command-and-control style struck fear into his employees.

They were omnipotent. They had all the answers. Followers jumped at their command. And no one questioned their authority.

But today is different. Leadership styles have evolved. To paraphrase another 1980s slogan, this isn’t your grandfather’s era of leadership.

Authoritarianism is a thing of the past. (At least in business. I’ll save political discussions for another time.) One-way edicts from “on high” are gone. The public – including employees and the media – is more skeptical of business leaders; our trust in them is eroding.

Today’s most effective organizations are run by collaborative, democratic styles of leadership. Cross-function teams are “in.” Thus, persuasion and influence are more important than ever – even (and especially) among leaders.

And while this form of leadership is tougher to master, it can be much more powerful than the iron fist.

“The day when you could yell and scream and beat people into good performance is over,” says Lawrence Bossidy, retired CEO of Allied Signal. “Today you have to appeal to them by helping them see how they can get from here to there – by establishing credibility, and by giving them some reason to follow. Do all those things, and they’ll knock down doors.”

Effective leaders know how to recognize the emotional state of their peers, and adapt their emotional fervor accordingly. They know how to connect.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, not all business decisions are made with logic and reason. “If we scratch the surface,” reports the Harvard Business Review, “we will always find emotions at play. Good leaders are aware of the primacy of emotions and are responsive to them.”

In his last days, Jack Welch confessed to business author William Cohan about some of his regrets in dealing with people. It was a rare display of self-doubt and vulnerability.

Always a student of human behavior, perhaps the old, corporate lion recognized that barbarous leadership is a relic from days gone by.

Russ Florence is a partner at the consulting firm of Schnake Turnbo Frank. He writes a monthly column for The Journal Record. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Special thanks to the American Advertising Federation Tenth District for naming our firm a Mosaic Award honoree!

The American Advertising Federation Tenth District announced winners for the organization’s diversity and inclusion awards. The honorees will be celebrated at the inaugural Mosaic Awards on Friday, April 17, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The Mosaic Awards recognize individuals, companies and agencies within the four-state district of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas whose commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident through their creative work and organization-wide initiatives.

Nominations for the 2019 – 2020 Mosaic Awards were accepted from American Advertising Federation club leaders, members, individuals and companies within the district. A panel of six industry professionals from across the U.S. evaluated the nominees within nine AAF National Mosaic categories.

2020 AAF Tenth District Mosaic Award Winners:

  • Workforce Inclusion
    Schnake Turnbo Frank, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Mosaic Champion
    Pete Lerma | Principal & Founder, Richards/Lerma, Dallas, Texas
  • Diversity & Inclusion Integrated Campaign
    “My Story” – Equality Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Diversity & Inclusion Student Programs
    Ghost, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Mosaic Champion
    Valentina Gomez Bravo, Founder & Creative Director | Bunker +58, Tomball, Texas
  • Mosaic Champion
    Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston, Texas
  • Mosaic Talent in Advertising
    Gilbreath Communications | I am Life Campaign, Houston, Texas
  • Mosaic Talent in Advertising – Content Creation
    Lopez Negrete Communications | Walmart Holiday, Houston, Texas
  • Supplier Diversity
    Contracting and Employment Support – Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okmulgee, Oklahoma

For more information, and to purchase tickets for the Mosaic Awards, visit the AAF Tenth District website:

Alex Lopez Negrete, President and CEO of Lopez Negrete Communications, will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening. The event includes a cocktail hour and entry to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s galleries (featuring works by Dale Chihuly and Kehinde Wiley). The Mosaic winners will be honored at a dinner and ceremony immediately following which will celebrate diversity across the district. The Mosaic Awards will be held annually in conjunction with ADvent10n, AAF District 10’s annual convention.


Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Advertising Federation, a national trade association, is the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” The AAF encompasses a nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs, and university chapters. The AAF includes more than 200 local clubs across the country representing nearly 40,000 advertising professionals.

Photography: Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman

At some point, I became a lark. Josh Ritter is, too.

Ritter does his best work in the mornings. He rises early and sits at his kitchen table, writing songs. If it’s going well, he plows through lunch without noticing. If he needs a break, he takes a walk around the neighborhood to reset his frame of mind.

He leaves tasks that require less focus – phone calls with his manager, working on recording logistics – to the afternoon. He reworks his creative output in the evening.

Author Daniel Pink refers to this as “understanding the hidden patterns of everyday life.” In his book When, Pink uses research to examine the notion of timing. Much of the book is devoted to understanding your chronotype – that is, when during the day you’re at your peak.

“We are smarter, faster, dimmer, slower, more creative, and less creative in some parts of the day than others,” Pink writes.

Most of us are what he calls a lark – people who are at their best in the morning. While it’s easy to categorize them as morning people, it’s not about mood. It’s about focus, energy and outlook.

“Early in the day our minds are more vigilant,” Pink writes. “We can keep distractions outside our cerebral gates.”

Thus, Pink suggests trying to conduct your most important work in the morning – tasks that require steadfast critical and creative thinking; difficult conversations that warrant a clear head; tough decisions that demand a razor-sharp mind.

By afternoon, the day begins to wear us down. We get distracted and tired. If possible, Pink recommends conducting more mundane tasks after lunch. Don’t squander those peak morning hours catching up on routine emails; push it to afternoon.

Likewise, mornings are usually the best time to receive information. Researchers analyzed more than 26,000 corporate earnings calls over six years, analyzing the emotional tenor of these conversations – which could, as a consequence, affect the company’s stock price. The results were clear. Morning calls were often reasonably upbeat. As the day progressed, the “tone grew more negative and less resolute,” only to recover after the market’s closing bell.

Pink cites dozens of examples – from the habits of writers, to the success rate of surgeries, to attorneys writing briefs – to illustrate his point.

None of us can control our calendar entirely. But as When tells us, we best avoid the doldrums of the afternoon when doing high-stakes work.

Russ Florence is a partner of Schnake Turnbo Frank. He writes a monthly column for The Journal Record.

In the 25 years I’ve been a runner, I’ve noticed a few things.

I’ve noticed I always feel better after a run than I did before; I’m always glad I ran.

I’ve noticed more about cities – street art, interesting buildings, beautiful parks, people walking dogs – than I would ever have noticed from a vehicle.

And I’ve noticed that in January, I see runners I’ve never seen before. It’s the annual arrival of the New Year’s Resolution runners.

By February, they’re gone.

As we get our 2020 goals on track – personally, professionally, organizationally – let’s remember two very important keys to achieving them: The first is to start; the second is to continue.

This week a friend posted a talk from author Anne Lamott about what she’s learned in life. One item in particular struck home. It deals with writing and other creative endeavors, but it could apply to any pursuit.

“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts,” Lamott says. “But they keep their butt in the chair. That’s the secret of life. That’s probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They do it by prearrangement with themselves. They do it as a debt of honor.”

She tells a story about her older brother, who as a fourth grader became overwhelmed by a term paper about birds. Their dad told him, “Just take it bird by bird, buddy. Just read about pelicans, and write about pelicans in your own voice. Then find out about chickadees, and tell us about them in your own voice. Then geese.”

Those New Year’s Resolution runners are good about starting. Continuing is tough.

Several years ago, a friend decided to take up running. He tried going a mile on his first run, but couldn’t finish. He tried again, and again. Finally, he got frustrated and quit.

Most people want immediate results. But it takes time, discipline, and patience. When I started running, I could go only a couple of blocks. (And only at night – I didn’t want the neighbors seeing me.) But a friend told me to run those two blocks every day, until it felt comfortable. Then, go three, and repeat. And keep building, block by block. Eventually, you’ll go a mile, he said. Then two.

In sizing up your 2020 goals, don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity. First, start. Then continue. Bird by bird, block by block.

Russ Florence is a partner of Schnake Turnbo Frank. He writes a monthly column for The Journal Record.