Rich Breymeier is the President of Flashpoint Digital Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency based in Pittsburgh, PA. For the last three and a half years, Rich has been President of the B2B-focused organization. Prior to COVID-19, 90% of Rich’s work was already remote, so the pandemic has not greatly affected his schedule.
Thank you for speaking with us, Rich. We look forward to seeing what you and Flashpoint do next!
Rich Breymeier and his three team members help businesses manage their digital marketing, search engine optimization, and content creation. Since Breymeier already worked online, he was already comfortable with remote work before COVID-19. Speaking about his team’s structure, Rich says, “We’ve always been remote. We’ve always had a work-from-home setup, but would get together in a co-op space when needed.”
The team uses video conferencing tools for meetings
The only real change to his work structure is that his team no longer has regular meetings in person. Flashpoint has embraced online meetings, adopting the use of video conferencing tools to replace their in-person conversations. While Rich has “always been a person who enjoys face to face interactions, he “knows that’s just not viable now. He sees video conferencing as a “double-edged sword” with “some great efficiencies, but some downsides.” The most notable downside for Rich is “losing out on being able to read the emotions of the team members and react and connect in that way.” As a remote leader, Rich knows the importance of recognizing the “different personalities and different work styles” within his team.
An upside for the Flashpoint team of working from home during the pandemic is that it is no longer “an issue to find a time to meet, and it’s easier to make things happen that need immediate attention, because you don’t have to go anywhere.” Although this efficiency and accessibility are super helpful business-wise, Rich emphasizes the necessity of recognizing “Zoom fatigue.” When Rich sees fatigue in his team members, he tries to build excitement and morale. Sometimes, he goes as far as sending his team lunch during a busy work day to bring a smile to their faces.
Flashpoint is getting busier and busier
Since the majority of Rich’s work is remote, he already had a personal office at home. However, Rich’s live-in girlfriend is now also working from home because of COVID-19, so they have to share the space. They “have separate work areas” and Rich says it’s “usually pretty good,” as long as they don’t distract each other. Rich’s business is virtual, but he worked fewer hours in the beginning of the pandemic. His clients struggled with their own businesses and how they wanted to proceed. Fortunately, Flashpoint “ramped things up with corporate clients to help them serve their customers, and we’re getting busier and busier.” The company was also able to get a small businesses loan as part of the CARES Act and “create some security.” Now, Rich says, the business is on a “continuous uptick and keeps growing.”
On a more personal note, COVID-19 has helped shape and structure Rich’s life in a positive way. He has “more consistent start and stop times” in his workday. Since his girlfriend also works from home, they take lunch breaks together and stop around the same time. This has “been a good thing,” as it allows him to focus on the people closest to him. He takes time now to go on walks to break up the long days in his home office, and enjoys doing safe, outdoor activities on the weekends. While he didn’t walk during the day prior to COVID-19, he began walking once the lockdown let up because he wasn’t allowed to in the weeks before. Rich attributes this to the psychological notion that because “things were taken away, we appreciate them now,” even if it’s just a quick lunchtime walk.
How will businesses proceed moving forward?
Ultimately, COVID-19 has taught Rich several lessons, namely “always expect the unexpected,” as his dad used to say, and “appreciate the things you took for granted.” Looking to the future, he ponders “what kind of business nest egg needs to be in place going forward” to combat things like natural and economic disasters. He stresses a need “to help business owners be more proactive, so we don’t have people losing jobs.” The pandemic has Rich thinking about what “protocols can be put in place” for businesses going forward.
As a piece of advice to fellow remote workers, Rich says “treat remote work like you would before the pandemic. Get up in the morning, get dressed like you’re going to work, and set up a professional work space.” Even at home, it’s important to “separate home and work life, so you don’t lose productivity. Keep your same habits.”