Around the home office with Harman International’s Darrin Shewchuk

The VP of public affairs and communications discusses his work-from-home schedule.

Darrin Shewchuk, VP of public affairs and communications, Harman International

Where are you working from?

I’m actually working out of my home, just about 15 minutes outside of Stamford, Connecticut. I’ve taken over our dining room space. I started in our home office but decided that I liked the light better and, quite frankly, a nice sort of green view out the window here. 

What’s first each morning?

I start my day around 7-7:30 in the morning. And that’s obviously catching up on overnight emails, scanning media, looking at the feeds and reports and generally catching up. Usually my first call of the day starts around 8 a.m.

Probably the first [read] is The New York Times. From there it’s The Wall Street Journal, and the PRWeek Breakfast Briefing is another one I go to on a regular basis. Part of our business is focused on the automotive markets. So I’ll also scan the headlines from Automotive News. Those are kind of big ones. One newsletter I just find incredibly useful is CEO Daily by Alan Murray. He’s quite brilliant. 

What fuels your mornings?

Usually at least one cappuccino or espresso and then brewed coffee. I’ll definitely have about three or four cups during the day. Coffee is not my addiction. It’s sugar. So if I’m really needing to write something or concentrate, it’s sugar that fuels me.

What’s the meeting schedule like?

Every Monday I have a standing meeting with our global comms team, about 12 people from around the world. 

Most of the people I liaise with are in different parts of our operations. So I’m regularly on a call with somebody anywhere from Los Angeles to Stuttgart, Germany, to Shanghai. 

What’s the biggest challenge while working from home?

For many of us the challenge is reminding yourself to step away from the computer. And that’s something we have to be conscious of. 

My wife is good at luring me away from the desk, so to speak. It’s something as simple as “Do you want a cup of coffee? Well come over here and get it.” And I’m fortunate to have a place where you can just step outside for some moments. I do that.

How do you wind down? 

I love music. So that’s my No. 1 to put me into a different mood or to transport me out of one mode and into another. Depending on the day it might be Frank Sinatra, it might be EDM, it might be country and western.

Describe your remote work setup.

I took learnings from friends and colleagues who were better remote workers than I was. They were just like “Dude, raise your monitor up, don’t strain your neck and make sure you’ve got better lighting.”

I would say the biggest thing is probably having a good internet connection.

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