Normal lockdown day, normal lockdown meeting.
The window’s open, letting in that (now much cleaner) London air. I’m presenting a few editorial ideas to a client on Teams – there’s about 10 of us in the meeting. I’ve got my retriever, Tillie, stretched out at my feet, a cup of freshly brewed coffee from my new coffee subscription (because we have to find something to spend our money on, don’t we?) giving off the much-missed aroma of a coffee shop, and every now and then a police horse clip clops by. Some might call this new way of working actually rather lovely.
But wait. No… Oh God. Is it that time already? The dog’s pulled the headphones out of my laptop, knocked over the coffee and moved to the window at lightspeed – it’s time for the daily dog vs squirrel battle. Is there another room I can move to? Nope, I’m plugged in and my laptop’s got 5% battery. Headphone-less, against a background of manic barking, I apologise profusely and crack on. It won’t get any worse. Rookie error – spoke too soon. Tillie’s set the client’s dog off. The meeting is now taking place against a background of what can only described as some sort of manic dog karaoke.
Normal lockdown day, normal lockdown meeting.
What comes next is laughter. A lot of laughter. From the client, from my colleagues and, eventually, once the embarrassment has faded, from me. Because after six weeks of lockdown, we’ve all been there.
Our internal meetings at Wardour are no different. Our daily editorial meeting isn’t complete without Tim getting attacked by his cat for not paying him enough attention, nor is my 9–5:30 ‘normal’ without the daily dog vs squirrel battle (which I don’t believe, in the entirety of its history, a dog has ever won).
So whether you’re the person who runs back to your house because you forgot to say goodbye to your dog (Who on earth would do that…? Ahem), or the person putting out food for the cat as they remember so naively believing the children meant it when they said they’d look after Fluffy, being at home with our pets, at the very least, makes lockdown a bit more interesting.
“There are moments when I look up and both my son and I are working at the kitchen table, my husband is on a conference call in the front room and I see Pickles, the cat, has joined us. It’s comforting, the new normal for our household,” says Charlotte, one of our Senior Account Directors.
It’s also a nice reminder for pet lovers that when we go to work, our pets don’t participate in a Toy Story-inspired alternate universe where they cook in our kitchens and watch our TVs. “The amount Pickles sleeps is a revelation,” says Charlotte. “She can go in and out as much as she likes now we’re at home, but she’s very content staying inside, sleeping.”
Meanwhile, other members of the team are enjoying their new desk mates. “Spooky the cat turns up for her ‘shift’ sitting beside me – a very soothing addition to my working life, and one I’ll miss when back in an office,” says Angela, our Production Director. “Our other cat, Zampa, however, studiously ignores me until feeding time, like he always has.”
And in the same way that lockdown is making us really value our loved ones, it turns out Editor Sophie’s cats are having a similar revelation. “The cats do not get on with each other at all, but since we’ve both been at home full time they seem to be much more chilled around each other.”
For many of us, our pets allow us to have a stable routine in a time of huge uncertainty – something that can be really beneficial towards mental health during this period. David King, New Business & Marketing, has found just this with Albert, his Munsterlander (that’s ‘dog’, for any of you cat people). “It’s actually quite therapeutic being with Albert, as no matter how we feel he still needs his routine – at least two walks a day, scheduled feeding times and quite a few cuddles. Which means we have to schedule breaks in our working day to meet his needs.”
Post-lockdown? I won’t miss the daily battle. But I’ll miss the daily company, the routine and, like so many pet owners around the world, the chance to spend so much time with these furry family members that we all wish we had more time for. When it’s time to go back into the office, I know I’ll be a bit shocked when I look up from my desk and don’t see a retriever staring back at me, or when a squirrel runs past the window and the Wardour team doesn’t run around screaming manically. But then again, I suppose something similar will happen on birthday trolley day… even post-lockdown, some things at Wardour will never change.
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