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(person on video call, holding puppy up to the camera) And now Miss Fuzzywiggles will take us through our third-quarter financial results.

Sit! Stay! Roll over! Zoom!

Sit! Stay! Roll over! Zoom! published on

Two historic trends converged during the Great Home-Office Migration of 2020:

  1. Zoom calls, and
  2. pandemic puppies.

The result is more fuel for the very happy phenomenon of pets making appearances — expected and otherwise — in work meetings. My calls with my BCFED colleagues over the past year have been punctuated with a cameo cat, drop-in dogs, a guest-star guinea pig and a central bearded lizard (who did not come with a handy alliteration).

For some of us, seeing each others’ pets is a welcome reprieve from the sometimes-grueling world of never-really-off-the-clock working from home… and a happy reminder that not every non-human we meet on-screen is a bot.

For others, though, the sight of Fluffy or Bailey is an irritant to be endured. For them, those four-legged intruders are at best a distraction.

But maybe there’s something more to that — something more behind the muttering over whether pets in meetings are professional. Or whether having kids walk in on you during your meeting is professional. Or whether any sign that you have a life beyond your job description and work product is unprofessional.

Maybe this blurring of the boundaries between our professional and personal selves hints at the possibility that the workplace of 2019 isn’t coming back — and neither is a world where we show up to work, whether it’s in the office or at home, as only part of who we are.

If that scares you, let me just say — don’t let it. There’s a lot to be gained by getting to know each other as our whole selves. The future is friendly… and fuzzy.

* * *

This is one of a series of cartoons celebrating Remote, Inc., the new book by my wife, Alexandra Samuel, and productivity expert Robert Pozen. The subtitle says it all: How to thrive at work wherever you are. It’s a practical, hands-on guide for employees and managers alike, and not just for COVID times: Remote, Inc. will help you navigate the fusion of remote and on-site work that’ll emerge as the new post-pandemic normal. It launches on April 27, but you can pre-order right now.

(woman in an empty boardroom and deserted workplace, to a large video screen of faces) It’s great to be back in the office so we can all meet face to face!

Better Homes & Offices

Better Homes & Offices published on

A little over a year ago, we made a massive, abrupt migration from offices to makeshift home workplaces. As weeks melted into months, fantasies of a quick return to our beloved cubicle farms gave way to the grim reality of remote work. Zero-minute commutes. Meetings conducted in dress shirts and PJ bottoms. A dreary procession of home-cooked meals punctuated by (shudder) more time with our loved ones.

I was one of the lucky ones. Not only was I already accustomed to working away from an office (thank you, freelance lifestyle!), but I was able to draw on the advice and insight of my wife, Alexandra Samuel. She’s been thinking and writing about work and technology for quite a while — and last summer, she began work on a book with co-author and productivity expert Robert Pozen.

Remote, Inc. hits virtual and physical bookshelves in just a few weeks. The subtitle says it all: How to thrive at work wherever you are. It’s a practical, hands-on guide for employees and managers alike, and not just for COVID times. Remote, Inc. will help you navigate the fusion of remote and on-site work that’ll emerge as the new post-pandemic normal.

I got to read drafts of the manuscript. That meant I also got to put many of the book’s strategies and tactics to work over the past year, as the interim director of communications with the BC Federation of Labour. It’s the first job I’ve ever worked entirely from home. And it’s been tremendously rewarding: partly because of those strategies, but also because they’re a terrific group of folks.

My time with the Fed comes to an end in just a few days as I return to my leadership communications practice. I’m looking forward to picking up my work with my clients again. And between now and April 27, when Remote, Inc. officially launches, I’ll be posting more cartoons inspired by Alex and Bob’s ideas about remote work and the hybrid workplace.

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