If you’re a working designer, you’re currently working from home. For some of you that’s new, for others it’s old hat. On the Core77 Boards, working designers are currently sharing their tips and comments on WFH.
Forum Moderator Mr-914 kicks it off:
“I’ve worked at home a few times in the past year. Usually when a child is sick or I have an appointment. I haven’t enjoyed it as I didn’t have a dedicated space, I lack the quick feedback of impromptu meetings and I miss the camaraderie of the office.
“This week, I’ve actually enjoyed it. I’ve set up a dedicated desk in our house for work. My colleagues are much more active on our chat program. My kids distract me occasionally, but only just enough that I don’t get too lonely or stuck in rut. I think I could get used to this.
“How is everyone else getting by?”
slippyfish points out the importance of routine (and the privilege of booze):
“Nick Cave – the musician – puts on a suit every morning and goes to his office. His office has a desk, typewriter or laptop, piano, guitar, musical tools. He goes to work every morning even though his work is arguably more ‘fickle’ and open to inspiration than a ‘creative’ designer. I like that attitude. Get up, get dressed, brush your teeth, be there on-time.
“And you can work all night with adult beverages as well.”
cwatkinson also stresses the need for having a routine:
“Working at home – KEEP a routine!
“Act as if you are going into work each day – wake up on time, shower, dressed (no PJ’s) and stick to your schedule. Of course, if you need a brain break don’t be afraid to do a task around the house. Or spend some time interacting with the family–but not a 3 hour break. This allows you to maintain productivity.
“Of course there is always balance–I am more efficient and perform better doing design in the evening–but I make sure I get the minimal 8 hours completed and whatever tasks I had set.”
iab brings up one of the downsides of not having to commute:
“It has been awhile since I home-officed. Currently my biggest issue is disconnecting from work at the end of the day. Different physical locations makes for an excellent switch in my case. Now, when I ‘quit’ and just go upstairs, I’m still connected to work. I don’t like it at all. “
Michael DiTullo sounds off with six tips that make his day go smoother:
“A few things that work for me:
“1) Set up a ‘commute.’ I go for a 30-45 minute walk each morning and when I get home I’m ‘at work.’
“2) Get a good microphone and speakers for video conferences.
“3) Get some good overhead lighting and front lighting with daylight bulbs for video conferences (avoid back lighting).
“4) Make sure you have a good backdrop for video conferences… (obviously lots about video conferences).
“5) Remember to be social while social distancing. Been doing lots of texts, FaceTimes, and general chats with friends.
“6) Take another ‘commute’ at the end of the day to go ‘home’ and put all the work aside.”
rkuchinsky, a WFH veteran, shares his time-tested tips:
“I’ve been working from home for almost 14 years now.
“I find it’s partly your set up, but also your personality. Some people are just easily distracted and others can focus. Some basics I find helpful:
“1. Separation. Even if not physical. I previously had a 1400-s.f. open concept loft, but had my office area off to one side and had a separate set of pot lights above so I could switch the “office” off. Before that I had a 800SF loft and had the work desk under the TV that was on the wall but facing the sofa so I was in the same physical space as the living room but facing the opposite direction.
“2. Behaviour. Allow yourself to keep your work space differently than your home. Messy, organized, whatever, but some freedom to have different behaviors is best. My work space is usually an organized chaos but my house is tidy. I can close the door and ignore it…
“3. Routine. Could be time to get in your work chair, time to log off, time for lunch, but some routine is best.
“4. Social barrier. With kids or family around, you need to set expectations of when you are not available for family time.
“Good thing with working from home is you are so much more in control of your productivity. You can be creative when it works for you if there’s no clock to punch. I can do more creative work from 2pm-4pm than I ever could from 9am-12pm. I save mornings for emails, meetings and routine follow-ups. I’ve been saying for years I probably work half the hours for twice the pay just because I skip all the nonsense chats around the coffee room, waste of time meetings, check ins with useless people…
“I can’t imagine even being in an office anymore (though I never say never)!”
Got some tips, questions or comments of your own? Sound off here. (And please don’t tell Nick Cave I looted his website for photos.)