Dogs of Design is a small creative agency in Los Angeles. They do everything from web development to photography and video production, branding, advertising, and package design. But the pandemic has disrupted their workflow and just like so many of us, the employees had to pack up their office and take their responsibilities home.
While navigating all of the uncertainties that have come together with this change, Dogs of Design have found an awesome way to break lockdown tensions -- spicing up their online meetings. DIY costumes, props, virtual backgrounds, they're using everything they can get their hands on to see who can come up with the wackiest look. Continue scrolling and check out the fun little competition for yourself!
Everything started out pretty normal
Jessica Cyr, a Dogs of Design team member who occupies the top right corner in their conference calls, said she and her colleagues have the ideal work environment. "We've all been working together for about 11 to 15 years, and we've really become a family in that time," Cyr told Bored Panda. "We're all very different, but we have taken the time to understand each other, and I think we have struck a great balance between creating a casual work environment where we get a lot done but also feel like we can express ourselves and have a good time – it's really freeing. I always feel really grateful to work with people I laugh with every day, and it hasn't been any different while working from home."
Cyr said the days leading up to LA's lockdown felt very stressful and uncertain. Especially the last one when her team was disbanding to work from home. "It felt really sad and emotionally charged like we were just all disappearing into the unknown. When we all called into our first daily 10 a.m. meeting, Max (top left) was there in his square, drinking from a huge, really comically large martini glass, totally breaking through the tension and triggering uncontrollable laughter. It was the lead we needed to keep each other smiling and not get too mentally bogged down with the seriousness going on in the world."
"We started our costume competition slowly with whatever we could muster, just surprising each other with random masks we had, and then Brooke (bottom left) busted out the look from Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know video, and it gave us the fuel to stop being sad and start getting weird," Cyr explained the origins of their tradition.
The preparations begin about half an hour before the meeting. Everyone's in their own homes, figuring out who they want to be that day, gathering all their props, quickly taping or clipping things together, drawing on any necessary facial hair, and finding the right background.
Jessica said her boyfriend has caught her one too many times in a strange position in front of her computer trying to get just the right pose for the first reveal. "Virtual backgrounds knock out anything that extends beyond the outline of the body unless you get it just right," she explained.
But at this point, nothing can stop neither her nor her team members from putting in the effort. "Usually, two or three of us will join the meeting first and we'll try to hold our poses while trying not to laugh until the fourth person joins."
"Once we all finally get a look and a screenshot, we'll get kind of giddy and show off how we used a dog toy or broom handle for our costume," Cyr said. "Then we'll try to reign it in and go through our job list, talk deadlines and roadblocks and tasks for the day."
"But there are plenty of tangents because we just genuinely enjoy talking to each other and getting updated on everyone's lives. Sometimes Max will say, 'Let's save it for weekly happy hour!' if it goes on too long, but we can usually stay on task because above all, we're really grateful to be working and to continue providing for our clients."