Like pretty much every office worker out there right now, the #BanFam has embraced the working from home trend and have holed up at home to avoid catching (or spreading!) any unwanted germs. Unfortunately, that also means we’re avoiding face-to-face time with the people we spend most of our days with: our coworkers.
So how do you keep a team of 40+ together while we’re all in our own little quarantines? Obviously, you create an elaborate weeks-long team challenge inspired by everyone’s favourite childhood book series. Duh.
On March 18, we began the Banfield House Cup — a house cup competition that takes place in your home. Banfield was split up into 4 Houses, each named after an important part of Banfield culture:
There’s House Dot, after the Banfield logo…
…House Armstrong, named after the Banfield building, Armstrong House…
…House Change, named after President Timothy Jones’ favourite word…
…and House Fork, named after Banfield’s rarest commodity.
And (almost) every day of the quarantine so far, the Houses have been competing against each other in a series of challenges for a random amount of points. Whichever team has the most points will win an exciting, top-secret prize once we’re allowed back at the office.
So, without further ado, here are some highlights from the first three weeks of Banfield House Cup:
Day 1: Best home office
For the first day’s challenge, we started simple: who had the best work-from-home setup? And the answer was Graphic Artist Carol Donegan of House Dot. She may not have a fancy desk, but all the quarantine essentials were there.
Senior Writer and Partner Derrick Outram (House Fork) also scored a few points for this one for finally giving us a glimpse at his actual home office:
Sorry, not sorry — if we had to see it, you do, too.
Day 2: Best lunch
By day two, we were already missing eating lunch together under our Stephen Pollock original. So naturally, we had a lunch-off. And wow, do we know how to eat.
Creative Designer Katrin Emery (House Dot) somehow pulled this off — sticky rice, salad, steamed veggies, tofu, kimchi, veggie dumplings and a homemade sesame sauce. It’s been almost a month and I’m still jealous she got to eat it, honestly.
Katrin, if you’re reading this: please make this again and leave it outside my door. Please.
Day 3: Best spring picture
The third day of Banfield House Cup took place on the first full day of spring. It was super gross out and not really spring-like at all, but we sent the #BanFam out anyway to get the best possible spring picture.
Unfortunately, the best spring had to offer ended up being a depressing mitten in the mud, taken by Katrin. I guess portrait mode can make anything beautiful.
Day 4: Best alien visit
Day 4 brought us our first team challenge. Houses were given a scenario where a ship full of aliens crashed onto earth and needed a crash course on the state of the world — but they don’t understand any human language. Each House chose five images they could use to show the aliens what was up.
The winning combination brought House Armstrong their first points in the challenge:
Day 5: Weirdest object in your house
Creativity and weirdness go hand-in-hand. So we figured the #BanFam would keep some pretty weird stuff in their houses.
Based on the fact that the winning submissions were Carol’s collection of teeth (???) and Producer Koa Padolsky’s (House Armstrong) insane life-size angel statue, yeah. They do.
On the sixth day, we prepared…
And then we had Banfield Staff Trivia, a Zoom trivia Happy Hour where the Houses competed in a contest of weird facts about their coworkers.
Day 9: Best hot drink
By day 9, we were back on track with a hot drinks challenge. Koa (or more specifically, Koa’s daughter) also won that one.
Day 10 was the first day of a two-part meme challenge. On Day 10, the #BanFam submitted photos of themselves, kids or pets that could be used to create a new meme format. The winners were Katrin Emery, Designer Sean McSorley (House Change) and Account Director Aurelie Barbe (House Armstrong):
Day 11: April Fools!
It’s hard to really show evidence of “April Fools participation”, so let’s just go with this graphic Digital & Content Marketing Manager (and graphic designer to be) Mark Brownlee made to celebrate the day’s winners and losers.
The most efficient prankster of the day was Strategist Eleanor Beale (House Dot), and the two people who “fought for truth, justice and the sanctity of the Banfield House Cup against all odds” were Creative Directors Craig Lobban and Timothy Jones (House Change).
Day 12: The meme-off
On Day 12, we took every photo submitted on Day 10 and made memes. Like, a lot of memes. And guess what? We’re actually super funny.
Eleanor’s winning meme didn’t actually use the winning photos from Day 10, but when it works, it works. You can look at the long list of runner-ups here. (Spoiler: this was right after we all got really into Tiger King on Netflix.)
Day 13: Pajama day
On lucky 13, we got to finally do a social event we’ve been shooting down for years: PJ day! The difference of this day to every other day in quarantine was that we didn’t pretend we’d at least changed into sweatpants or something. No. We were fully, unashamedly comfortable.
Especially Motion Director and Partner Ryan Grevatt (House Fork), who dressed his Carole Baskin best for the occasion.
At the time of writing this, House Dot is in the lead, with House Fork and House Change trailing close behind. But since it doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere anytime soon, there’s still lots of time for House Armstrong to make their name in the competition. The Banfield House Cup will continue as long as we can keep thinking up new challenges — and hey, maybe these updates will too.
Has your office done anything to make working from home feel a little less remote? Let us know! Seriously, please let us know. We’re starting to run out of ideas…