What working from home has taught me - by Ben
In March 2020, as the lockdown regulations were implemented, the realisation hit me that working remotely from home was an inevitability. Initially, I expected the worst. I’ve worked from home before in a previous job, and I soon came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t for me. In my opinion, being in a studio environment, working alongside other people, creating together as a team is one of the best parts about being a graphic designer. I went into this new working life with some skepticism; would I be able to hack it? In reflection, I’m really happy to say that I’ve found this experience a lot more manageable than I expected. So I’ve compiled a handful of tips that I personally found to be beneficial and hopefully other people will too.
Tip 1. Stay connected
The reason this suggestion comes first is because I think it’s the most important. And this is coming from a quiet, introverted person like myself. Feeling connected to your colleagues is really helpful in terms of camaraderie, team spirit and your own mental health. Whether it’s going over the days work and objectives, or just catching up about the weekends activities and general chit-chat, it makes the world of difference in feeling that you’re a part of something. Thankfully, with the assistance of the internet, keeping in-touch is as easy as ever. Whether it be through email, phone calls, texts, face-time etc. Feeling that support from people you work with can make a massive difference.
Tip 2. Time management
When working from the studio, managing my time well is a very important part of my job. This is more so the case when working from home. Obviously, certain briefs and tasks come with a deadline set by the client, but it’s always healthy to set targets for yourself in order to keep a disciplined and orderly work schedule. The easiest way to do this is to simply note down the jobs that you need/want to work on during the day. It is also good practice to communicate your daily targets with your team, talk about the work that has come in and be aware of each other’s job lists in case yourself or a colleague needs a helping hand.
Tip 3. Make your workspace a place you want to be
For the average person, the majority of your day is spent at your place of work. Whether that be be in the office, in a workshop, on a building site etc. So when it came to working remotely from home, a lot of people had to set up a little workstation in the corner of the room that you could only just fit in. It’s understandable to feel a little distracted when working from home, this is where you relax, eat meals and enjoy time with loved ones. So when it comes to getting your work head screwed on, it can be a challenge. A solution that can help resolve this issue is to try and put together a workspace that you actually want to spend some time in. Make it comfortable, homely, organised and fully equipped to take on what a working day can throw at you. This is a great way to keep you focussed and settled whilst working.
Tip 4. Keep active
Outside of work, it’s imperative that you take time out to relax. Any interests or hobbies that you may have can really help you switch off and chill out. One thing in particular that I have found to be a benefit during this time is keeping active. I’ve always enjoyed sport and exercising, but I am guilty of not doing as much of it as I could. However, during last year’s lockdown, I found myself walking and running more often, started biking, doing yoga and attempted online HIIT classes. I found that this not only helped me keep fit, it was also a fantastic way to destress. Exercising can provide neurological benefits that help you stay sharp and motivated. On a normal working day, I will always go for a 20-30 minute walk. It gives your brain a small break from what your doing and helps you recharge.
I hope that these tips can help people who are having a hard time working from home, because I’ve been there before and it can be a lonely and isolating experience. Human interaction (even if you’re not the biggest fan of it) is very important in day-to-day life. It can be very easy to go inside your shell when you don’t have to be out your door to beat the traffic and get sat at your desk before work starts. I’m definitely not reinventing the wheel of working from home with these 4 tips, but I found my experience to be hugely improved by applying these pointers. It gives me confidence that if we were to go through another lockdown (please god no!), I’d be able to work from home again without having any qualms or anxieties.