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Today’s Office: Rankin on his morning dog walks and why boredom is key to creativity

For the British photographer and founder of his eponymous creative agency, Rankin’s working environment hasn’t changed drastically, only he now works in an office about his studio and he misses his team dearly. Here he tells us about his morning dog walks, why boredom is the key to creativity and his concerns for societies dependency on tech.

I’m currently working from my walk. Every morning between 6am and 8am I walk with my dogs and dictate emails or listen to books. It’s a new thing I’ve got into, as my inbox has got very full working remotely. But generally, I work from an office I’ve created in my flat.

From there, I can see the back of my flats, with a railway line and quite a nice view of the city. And because my flat is above my studio, everything I need is fairly easy to get to. When I have to shoot, I can just get in the lift and go down.

While I really love the fact my team don’t have to commute every day, I miss having daily interaction with them. But it’s definitely a better way of working for some of them, and because we have a work from anywhere policy, they can be wherever they want, unless they are needed.

This year we have all adapted, whether that is easy or hard depends on the project. I love the fact that things are more prompt and happen faster – no one wants to sit and natter on Zoom, they just wanna get the work done and move on.

However, I do think it will affect the consciousness of our social-cultural being – especially at a time when there is such a massive gap between generations and cultures. And the culture clashes we’ve been seeing are happening for a reason. I would love to be able to encourage us all to see each other’s point of view a bit more and you can do that better in real life. A lot of very clever people find themselves in echo chambers, myself included, it’s only being exacerbated by this new way of working.

Staying inspired is one of the things I’m worried most about. Before the pandemic, I was a voracious reader, you would think that I would read more now because I have more time. But I don’t. There is definitely a will to create that is affected by this situation. I find myself having to be very disciplined in making sure I find ways to inspire myself.

And so I set out times and spaces to think and consider stuff. Before the pandemic, we were becoming addicted to our technology in a very unhealthy way. Now we are totally dependent on it. In my opinion, you can be more creative if you find some form of boredom in your life. You have to have space to miss out. I am a big proponent of the idea of ’jomo’ – the joy of missing out, rather than the ’fear’.

It seems to me that when we need to reduce our screen time we are cornered into increasing it. On that basis alone I would prefer to get things a little more back to normal and balanced.

Like most people, when the pandemic hit I turned to the bottle. I probably put on about a stone and a half of wine gut. However, since we’ve been back and into this lockdown I have been much more disciplined about not drinking in the week and careful about what I eat. All it takes to lose weight is someone telling you that you might die from being fat.

Work and real life have never been separate for me; I’ve always been an extension of my work. So if anything that has got worse. However, I’ve made the decision that this year and some of next year are a blip on life and that I’m just going to suck that up.

For example, I’ve not been on holiday at all, I recognise that that isn’t always healthy, but I want make sure that my business gets through this and comes out stronger.

This is not something I would recommend to anyone else, but it’s the way I’ve always approached my life. My mum used to say, if you choose to do something you love, you never work a day in your life. I try to live by that, but I do make sure I have some time off at weekends to be bored.

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