Following the COVID-19 outbreak, US businesses have been making substantial changes to the way they conduct business. GC Insights is an ongoing series of interviews that share how GCs and their teams are demonstrating flexibility during these unprecedented times.
Robbie Kamerschen, EVP and General Counsel of Atlanta-based Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN) a specialty retailer with headquarters in Atlanta and 1,900 stores across the United States and Canada.
Logan Ide, President of Latitude Atlanta, caught up by phone with Robbie in his home office to ask a few questions.
Logan: What has changed most in your day-to-day role?
Robbie: At this moment, I’m spending most of my time reviewing local and state orders with our team to determine where our stores should remain open. About 97% of the time we can (and should), since we deliver “essential services.” We provide products that people need so they can work or go to school from home, or keep their homes clean and safe, but we’ve had to make adjustments in the way we deliver those products. As an example, we’ll deliver an appliance, but many customers will use family to load it into their homes so we can maintain social distancing.
Logan: How are you staying in contact with the executive and legal department teams at Aaron’s?
Robbie: My work office is located right next to the CEO and CFO, so I miss the ability to pop in for quick discussions. I think this situation has forced all of us to be more organized in our communication, which will be a benefit when we’re back to normal. We’ve created a series of Zoom check-in and team calls to make sure we’re keeping in close contact. We have a daily operations call to keep on top of executive orders and compliance, and I meet with my team every other day so we can check-in and discuss priorities. Using video really humanizes the experience, plus I like the Brady Bunch view of everyone on the screen.
Logan: Are there any discoveries you’ve made during your remote working experience?
Robbie: Yes, three. Since my cell phone has limited coverage in my home office, I have renewed faith in the value of my land line telephone. Second, I make a point of dressing for work (at least a collared shirt) to maintain some sense of normalcy. I’ve also discovered the value of taking a walk to clear my head and provide a quick break from the office.
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