#WFH Diaries: Céline and Clément Mornet-Landa of Sid Lee Paris
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its chaotic gallop through space/time, we're checking in with creative industry folks worldwide. Here's an update from Céline and Clément Mornet-Landa, a creative director pair from Sid Lee Paris.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourselves.
We are creative directors at Sid Lee in Paris, but we live in Montpellier (south of France). We split our time between the two cities—three days in Paris, four in Montpellier—and work on Skyn, KFC, Klepierre, Uber Eats, Good Goût. Also, we're married.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
We're living through the quarantine in Montpellier with our 11-year-old son.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
We're used to working part of the week from home, so it doesn't change a lot, except now we get to see everyone else's bookshelves in the background [of conference calls], not just ours!
Our agency really did well when it came to adapting to the new home-office setup. Everybody has been responsive so we could help clients during this crisis. Some are, understandably, choosing not to communicate, but we did put together and release a campaign for Skyn, encouraging people to stay at home this past week.
It's important to promote that message. Every two days, we organize a breakfast call with the whole agency so we can see each other and talk about everything going on. It's important to keep in touch with everybody.
Describe your socializing strategy.
We don't really need a strategy, as we see and speak to a lot of people all day long: creatives, accounts, clients … Our activity hasn't stopped, clients have needs, and we're here for them. We have lots of meetings scheduled so we don't feel isolated. For real life, we'll just have to wait!
How are you dealing with childcare?
Our son goes to his grandparents' and they help him continue his school program. He's home by 5 p.m. and plays with friends on Fortnite. We don't really like when he spends too much time on screens, but these days it's the only way for him to socialize while being safe.
What are you reading?
We don't watch or read the news much because it's quite anxiety-provoking. So we read novels to take us away, like Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick, or comics like Et si l'amour c'était aimer? (What if love was loving?) by Fabcaro.
We'll probably reread the complete Bilal comics, which we haven't read in a long time…
What are you watching?
We're finishing The Outsider (HBO), which is excellent. Then we'll start the last season of Better Call Saul. We're impatiently awaiting the end of Devs so we can binge watch the whole season. It's a magnificent, dark sci-fi miniseries, good for your eyes and your brain!
What are you listening to?
Our family loves French rap—there's a whole new scene here, with lots of artists, well-produced. But when we need serenity, nothing beats a good Erik Satie or Lisa Gerrard song (we swear, her voice range is capable of opening a chakra!).
[Editor's note: Here's a wee taste of the French hip-hop scene.]
How are you staying fit?
By eating less! But it's difficult when you're stuck at home not to crack for a piece of chocolate. In France, you can't go further than 1,300 feet from home, and you need an authorization, so it's better to exercise at home. Thankfully, YouTube is full of tutorials to help you work out with nothing but a floor.
Have you taken up a hobby?
We have a lot of work these days to help clients throughout this crisis, so for the moment our hobby is working!
Any tips for getting necessities?
In France, shopping is a mission: 45 minutes of waiting in line, and once you're in the supermarket, you can only have two people in an aisle at any given time. Our tip is to get there around 3 p.m.; it's less crowded. Take enough supplies to last a week. The idea is to go as rarely as possible, but don't take too much, to avoid shortages.
Don't forget to wash your hands after, and again after having stored groceries in the cupboards. And have hand cream, because you really will need it after several weeks of intensive hand-washing.
An awkward moment since all this started.
It's not necessarily awkward, more something we're not used to: Since we're doing video conferences with clients, who are themselves at home, we enter their privacy a little bit and that breaks down barriers. This is amplified by the fact that we are all in the same boat and must remain united.
Best work email you got since all this started.
An email from a client who expressed gratitude for having reacted quickly and efficiently. What happens brings us together, and it's always a pleasure when someone says nice words to you.
An aha! moment since all this started.
We're realizing that the boundaries between personal and professional life are thinning. Sometimes you'll have a kid who walks by, not realizing there's a meeting going on, in underpants and a T-shirt. Last time we were in a meeting, a colleague's dad passed behind with a fishing rod!
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
We don't want to be pessimistic, but we think the quarantine will last longer than we realize. Life will resume its course sooner or later, and when we all meet again, we will be very happy. It will be a very positive moment of communion and love!