WFH#1: The clumsy art of being busy in a god damn pandemic

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Harendra Kapur

23. 03. 2020 | 3 min read

WFH#1: The clumsy art of being busy in a god damn pandemic

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This is a weird time to be busy. 

Like crazy busy. 

Agency busy. 

Agencies are weird and wonderful places at the best of times. 

I have now come to learn that they get even weirder and wonderfuller at the worst of times. 

Last Friday we shut our office down and decided to work from home. 

Now, we’re privileged to have the kind of job that we can do from home. 

But every single thing about what we do is 0.5% harder when we all work from home. 

That message someone didn’t reply to?

That email overturning that decision? 

That argument you were avoiding?

That point you needed to make even though you knew it would bug everyone on the call? 

Absolutely none of those situations improve when you’re also trying to figure out what time Sainsbury’s restocks toilet paper and whether or not their supply chain is likely to let them down.  

Or when you’ve got a 4 year old screaming “LION KING” at you every 10-18 seconds. 

Or when you’ve got a neighbour who just tested positive. 

Or when you’ve got a daughter who just spent the weekend with someone who tested positive. 

And yet here we are. 

Delivering websites. Rolling out new processes. Taking input calls. Arguing with stakeholders. Presenting concepts. 

Agency busy in a god damn pandemic. 

It’s like you spend your whole career learning how to stay standing on a rolling barrel and then someone sets the barrel on fire and tells you the still-to-be-determined end of the road may or may not be a cliff. 

So here’s the golden question that anyone managing anything of any kind of import in any kind of company is thinking right now: how do you take it? 

And the simple fact of the matter is that I, like you, don’t have a god damn clue. 

I don’t have any advice for a time like now. 

I don’t want to take advantage of this. I don’t even know what there is to take advantage of. 

Like the rest of you in The Marketing as Advice Industry (TM) I can barely figure out if me and my team have our own shit together right now. I most certainly can’t tell you how to help your team figure it out. 

And yes, we’ll still write the think pieces you need us to write about responding to this. I’ll write them myself. 

What I’m saying is…

Don’t ask me to. 

Wait. Listen. See what your market actually needs. 

If there’s something they need, that matters greatly to them, that you can provide, that you should provide, do it. 

If they don’t need to hear from you, don’t care what you think or don’t particularly wonder what your advice is, don’t offer it. 

Brands get built in times like these. But they also get broken – this is not a great week to be Gal Gadot. 

More than anything else, they get ignored. 

So save your cash. Keep the powder dry. 

Take this like it really matters how you take it. 

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