Changing The Rules… with Matt Waller, Recipe

Matt Waller

Matt Waller, Creative Director at creative whiz Recipe, lays bare the real narrative of working from home during lockdown.

In probably our most poetic Changing The Rules to date, he takes us through his new normal.

This includes everything from axe-throwing (gulp) with the kids, to not wanting the lockdown to end.

We suspect he’s not alone in this thought…

Matt Waller 1

Like every good story, I think this needs a beginning, middle and end.

So let’s start at…

THE BEGINNING

We (the agency) didn’t realise how this was going to change everything…

To illustrate the point, five days before lockdown we were debating if the agency should still go on its annual skiing trip. That weekend the Airports closed.

So we thought we’d ‘get ahead of this thing’ and decided we should practice working from home.

That Thursday and Friday were designated to be the dry runs…

We’re all over this now.

Wednesday was the last day the office was open.

Blimey, this thing moves fast.

Luckily we work in the cloud, we’re all connected. I order some hair clippers from Amazon. I’m ready for the new future.

I use my time well, I get that kitchen aid thingy machine from out of the back of the cupboard and realise it makes pasta… Vow never to buy pasta again.

I do jobs around the house that have been left wanting for years; I do jobs around the house that don’t need doing; vacuum in cupboards and under sofas.

Then I sort the home printer out and clean ALL the windows.

Our four boys are attempting home-schooling. Lego is one lesson.

I create a class called ‘Axe Throwing’ and ‘Sniper School’… You never know where this thing will end up.

We have a creative catch-up with the team every morning and shoot the breeze.

I get to see and meet people’s cats, see where they live and, ironically, feel closer to everyone.

We clap on Thursdays, the whole street is there.

No cars on the roads, pollution down, wisteria is in bloom.

Fresh banana bread and cookies are baked.

I trot down from work at 5:30pm and declare: “I’m home!”

This is wonderful.

THE MIDDLE

This is awful,

The kids refuse to learn, we have letters from school saying nothing has been done.

The kids don’t respect ‘daddy is working’ because they claim all I do is ‘chat’.

I’m shot with Nerf guns while presenting on a regular basis.

Damn that Sniper School.

Matts kids with Nerd Guns
Nerf attack: Serious professionals must negotiate tricky waters in the WFH world.

The daily numbers are sobering and I have to stop watching the news.

I have to sleep with a key around my neck. The key opens a steel chest that contains all the remote controls and screens in attempts to flatten the curve of screen time.

We have discovered children hiding in the loft cavity with laptops. (true)

The only thing that seems to be working well is the agency.

The word from clients is work is just as good, if not better. We are perhaps becoming more productive.

No more hours wasted commuting, less energy spent on the bits that aren’t creative.

I always claim that everyone has ten energy points a day, measured in the internationally recognised unit of ARSES. Hence the term ‘couldn’t be arsed’.

I think every agency’s aim is to reduce things/tasks/subjects that expend energy (arses) on things other than creative.

But I’m worried.

Now that I’ve swapped my Ivory Tower for a Lego Tower, has the illusion been shattered?

Would you trust someone with a dodgy haircut to creatively direct your multimillion-pound launch from under a child’s bunk bed and armed with nothing more than a strawberry flavoured pencil?

matt waller wfh
WFH dreams: Many will doubtless share Matt’s working from home reality!

And what about ‘Chemistry’ meetings? Presenting is just lonely. No more reading the ‘energy in the room’.

Now it’s a killer idea launched into that unblinking green eye.

Maybe it’s a great leveller, no more can you be judged on the shininess of the receptionist’s forehead or the slickness of the sofa.

The idea is king again. Long live the king.

THE END

Should there be an end to all this?

I hope there isn’t, but in a positive way. Of course an end to this pandemic – that really needs to end.

But not an end to fewer car journeys, fewer flights.

More cycling, more family time, more walking, more baking, more balance.

Less suspicion that WFH is a hangover. Less pressure to be working all the hours.

This has been the ultimate reset. Only time will tell.

Stay safe everyone and make the best of it.