I’m not sure I’m hugely prepared for the office exile provided by the coronapocalypse. I haven’t stocked up on pasta, for starters. Fuck that for a game of soldiers. Pasta is a banal foodstuff that tries to make itself interesting by wearing the slightly more entertaining robes of the sauce it carries, much like a dull creative director in a flamboyant pair of trousers. I’m also deeply socially uncomfortable buying even a four-pack of Andrex, let alone a "hoarder’s dozen" – to the point where over the years I’ve developed a very special facial expression for when I buy boggy that absolutely 100% does not in any way suggest that I’m in a rush or pinching a loaf at the till.
You can add to this lack of basic hibernation prep the fact that I’ve got a collective noun of Polish builders knocking down our 1970s kitchen next to the lounge where I work. They play really loud music from their phones while they smash things up. Weirdly aggressive Polish heavy metal, suggestively satanic in tone. Makes it quite hard to concentrate, especially with my tummy rumbling from lack of pasta and the constant nagging fear that I’ll have to use my T-shirt to wipe my bottom within a couple of days.
So, no, I’m not hugely prepared for this whole "working from home for the next few months" situation we all unhappily find ourselves in. But, you know, count your blessings and all that – I do find that it’s jolly good fun to have meetings via the medium of Hangouts/Skype/Teams/Slack, seriously debating creative work and strategy while naked from the waist down. Try it – it really does take one’s mind off things.
Chief executive, Lucky Generals
Monday: Started the day positively – went for a run after drop off and then we had our usual Monday roll call. Spirits were high and the opportunity to comment on interiors was strong.
About 3pm, my desire to talk to another person on the phone was wavering and my Fitbit wasn’t massively impressed. The hysteria at the school gates suggested this wasn’t the place to be – a mix of conspiracy theories and the fact Waitrose had run out of pesto.
Tuesday: Having been very focused on getting people to continue working and keep the show on the road, my thoughts are now moving to everybody’s mental health. Today will mostly be focused on reading up on this. Yesterday just blended into a 14-hour working day and, speaking to most of the team, they felt the same. Today, we’re bringing in some boundaries… a lunch hour, a switch-off time to make sure people put some structure into their days.
Chief executive, Now
Monday: Took the decision early on to move to remote working (while attempting to remain more influenced by government advice than by the fact that one of the creatives was wearing a face mask in the office!).
Most clients seem to be relaxed, thank goodness – keen to understand how we are planning to continue with business as usual despite the unique situation. Fingers crossed that continues.
Tuesday: First day for the agency working from home and the miracle of Hangouts means we’ve all had almost as much face time as we usually do in the office! In classic extrovert style, though, it only takes until about 11 before I’m missing human contact…
What this does remind me of is when I used to work part of my week from home and how I managed perfectly well with reviews and calls on video conference. Even I, having had that experience for a large part of my career, can fall into the trap of thinking we all need to be physically together when we don’t. A silver lining of this situation is definitely going to be enforced practice of the flexibility that I know most of the industry is genuinely aiming to implement.