Around the home office with General Motors’ Anne Roberts

The senior manager of Cadillac communications discusses moving around a lot while working from home and what her new morning routine is like with a pandemic puppy.

Where did you work pre-COVID-19?

I would be at the Renaissance Center, which is General Motors’ headquarters, or in the Warren, Michigan, Cadillac offices. 

Since March 2020, I’ve been working from home. I have an office, but I’m someone who likes to move around a lot. So I might sit at my kitchen table or stand at my counter given that [I have] a busy day as a single mom, trying to help a couple of kids through school. In the summer and fall, I worked a lot on my patio.

What’s the view like?

A lush suburban backyard. I have a bit of privacy with trees and a lot of plants in the summer, which is great. 

What’s your morning routine?

During the pandemic we welcomed a puppy into our lives, a goldendoodle named Iris. So we’re all up bright and early, which has been an awesome shift. I have a 7- and an 11-year-old. It’s a great positive distraction for them. 

The day starts with a walk, even in the Michigan cold. And then I’m multitasking with calls and checking up on email while I’m getting my kids breakfast. [That] has been kind of a delight, as normally I would go into the office sometimes before they were awake and definitely before they were at school.

What’s the morning read?

I’m looking at Twitter and social media. Axios is always the first thing I glance at, then The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal

How do you connect with staff?

When possible, I do a weekly team meeting, but we huddle on various pieces of the business regularly.

I increased one-on-ones because while it’s important to connect as a team, it’s great to stay connected individually. I often say ”I’m going to go on a walk. You [should] get out,” just making sure people are taking care of themselves.

Is time management an issue?

You have to build a lot of flexibility into a day. I look ahead, on Sunday, to see how the week’s going to go, so I can block off time to help with homework or getting out for a dog walk.

Is Cadillac being careful with messaging during these times?

What’s going on in the world and the culture should always be top of mind in this business. I don’t think that has shifted. 

We were able to look, both as a brand and a team, at what we could do to support what’s going on in the world. My team helped support the greater General Motors organization around our response to COVID-19. [Making] ventilators and masks was very fulfilling.

Do your children understand what you do?

It took a bit of convincing for them to not think all I do is take phone calls. But it’s been cool being able to talk with the kids about personal responsibility and our role in this greater set of circumstances and being part of the ventilator work and the mask-making. It was cool for them to see some of that come together.

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