Businesses are never fully prepared for something like today’s current situation – everyone is working remotely and confined to their houses, studios are empty, physical meetings have been replaced by virtual ones, and everyone is unsure how long this will go on for, and how to remain positive, healthy and focused. We asked Co-Head of Nuke Toya Drechsler how she is focusing on maintaining a positive outlook, and on the importance of staying connected to one another during these times.

We are all going through unprecedented times – there is a sense of fear of not knowing how long this new way of living and working will last, but I know that we are all in this together and we will come out of the other side – and we need to remain positive and continue to push through. A few weeks ago, while our engineering department had been working non-stop to get our systems up-and-running and all of our artists working remotely (and they have done a truly remarkable job), it gave me a short moment to catch my breath and re-organize my home set-up. Instead of seeing this as a temporary confinement or a never-ending ordeal, I decided to fully adjust my lifestyle to these new surroundings – we can always change things back but re-organizing really helped me “arrive” mentally in this new way of working.

I researched workout options to keep me physically – and mentally – healthy, and I found dance, boxing and yoga classes from instructors around the world that fit in with my schedule. I made sure that the things I need to stay productive (e.g. not seeing my bed while working!) would be reflected in the area I created, while things such as natural light, pictures of friends/family would be plentiful and on full display. This set-up has allowed me to see the small positives in everyday situations. And once I saw the familiar MPC monitors flicker to life on my home machine for the first time, I smiled beyond the corners of my mouth with the feeling of ‘homey-ness’.

Mainly, though, what keeps me motivated is to try and be a current that is offset to the mood of everyone around me – when friends and family or my team are having a stressful or sad moment, I feel compelled to step up and give hope, be positive and understanding, and I know that there will be moments they will do the same for me. It is absolutely impossible to go through this without any forms of doubt or fear and being far away from family and friends in this time is scary, but we are all going through the same experiences – so addressing them when possible and also taking our minds off of them when necessary is helping a lot. Daily video calls with our teams and checking in with artists who might be alone on a job right now are part of the way we are making sure no-one is feeling left out or lonely in this time of social distancing.

As artists, there are so many things each and every one of us wants to explore and simply doesn’t find the time in our usual schedules. And though these times feel busier than ever, there is a strong argument for using allocated time that we would usually spend on a commute or a lunch break to work-out, dance like no-one is watching, or try new mediums of art that might be scary and foreign to someone who usually creates and alters pixels for a living. Plus – as our jobs are often quite technical – there is a never-ending supply of tutorials, papers and material to watch and learn from.

I have also taken the time to embrace the small things while staying home – I recently baked a cake from an American quinoa fudge brownie base combined with a German Pudding with peaches and rosemary – to remind me and my roommate both equally of our homes and give us comfort. This and some European drinks during a sunset picnic on our balcony, which I am thankful to have, paired with calls with friends and family around the globe, definitely helped me feel at home when I can’t be.

I’m also listening to a podcast my father made. My grandfather wrote down the story of his life and I never got to read it. Seeing as my parents in Germany are going through the same amount of “safer at home” practices we are, my father took the time to record all of those stories – he even wrote and recorded an intro music for it! So, now I’m hearing about tales from all generations and it shows me they have been through much harder times, and it also it makes me smile every day with the thought of hugging them again soon.

I don’t feel confined. I mainly feel so glad that our current situation allows us to call home in real time and connect with everyone we care about until we have made it through this – and I am so grateful for our team of absolute superstars who still ensure we are able to create wonderful work from the safety of our own homes.