Hear how Shaun, Phoebe and Lucy have been making the most out of working from home.
From freshly brewed coffee and calming playlists to making lists and staying productive, this is how the Utility Content Team have been finding their temporary offices.
I think the three of us feel quite fortunate to be able to work from home. There are so many people around the world who aren't in a position to work in a safe space.
Personally, I've enjoyed the change of workspace and the little changes in my working day. The extra hour in the morning (from not having to commute) has allowed me to start slowly with a good coffee and some music, easing into the working day for 9am.
I read a WFH tip quite early on that recommended getting dressed in the morning as if you're going to the office and I must say, this has really worked for me. It puts me in a working mindset and acts as a separation mechanism - when I change into something "more comfortable" at 6pm it signals the end of the working day and the start of a relaxing evening.
It's important, whether it be in the office or at home, to figure out how you work best and for me, keeping my line of sight quite minimal and uncluttered is essential. My workspace usually consists of nothing more than my iMac, a notebook, pen and a coffee / water.
Having not long moved into my current house, I didn't have a home office set up so for the first week or two I'd been working from a dining chair (a beautiful, and surprisingly comfortable Muuto Workshop chair) which wasn't ideal. I've since upgraded to a Vitra EA117 office chair and the change has been amazing.
Designed in 1958 by Charles & Ray Eames, the EA117 features height adjustability, a swivel base and extreme comfort. Office chairs exist to make working from a desk easier and that's just what the EA117 does for me.
Working 9-5 has meant that at times, my home has at times felt as if it's just a space that I pass through, to eat and sleep. It's been nice to spend some time in it and enjoy the spaces I've worked to create over the years. it also doesn't hurt that I can cuddle my dog throughout the day!
Having said that, I did find it strange at first getting used to not having people around to speak to and bounce ideas off. Luckily, we live in a time where we can easily connect with people remotely and stay in touch with the rest of the team. We're really getting into a groove now.
As for the working day - I'm making sure to keep a routine. I had one day where I rolled out of bed and went straight to my desk and I realised that just doesn’t work, I felt very groggy and struggled to focus. I now make sure I get up early, shower and get dressed in my normal clothes (comfy clothes make me want to sleep) then go for a walk with my dog before work to get my brain going. It's nice to have that little bit of extra time in the morning now that I'm not commuting.
I spent a few years freelancing so I'm fortunate enough to have had a dedicated space in my some for work (we turned our dining room into a screen printing studio/workspace when we first moved in). That separation is key I think - much like getting dressed in the morning, it gets me in a working mindset. When the working day is done I can close the door and don’t have to go back into until the following morning - it’s a mental separation being able to close it off from your home life.
I think the downtime in a day is just as important for staying sane and productive. We all know what they say about "all work and no play". I recently just started the American Office and I am already on season 5 - it's been something I look forward to every night. It's just so light-hearted and I’m so invested! I have also been taking a lot of baths and have been enjoying cooking! Honestly just taking everything slow, it's just been nice to stop and actually appreciate things I had taken for granted in a busy life. Also… Animal Crossing.
All in all I'm getting through by remembering that this is temporary and staying positive - we'll be back enjoying normal life sooner rather than later. Until then I'm making the most of the home comforts and maintaining my routine to stay productive. When this is over I'm going back to the office with a strong mindset and a high level of productivity!
I realise how lucky I am to have a job that allows me to work from home - the structure in my days is something I'm very grateful for. My commute from bed to desk now comes without the headache of rush hour traffic and home comforts like my kitchen for lunchtime and Lola (my dog) for cuddles are things I could get used to.
As Shaun and Lucy mentioned - we're quite well connected and stay in touch throughout the day. It's nice to be able to stay in the loop and collaborate on tasks from different parts of the city.
I speak about structure in our "Isolation Inspiration Station" blog post and it's something I've been trying to inject into my working week. I usually set my alarm for around 7.30 am because I like to get up, get dressed and take my dog Lola out for a walk. I am usually more motivated in the morning to do something active, and it's nice to go out when most people are still asleep. By the time I get home, eat breakfast and sit down to read my emails, I already feel as though I've ticked something off the to-do list - it helps kickstart my productivity for the day ahead.
On that same theme, I like to stick to my normal working hours (9 am to 5.30 pm). I try to get out for a short walk at lunchtime (if I've not made it out with Lola in the morning) which again, is what I'd do if I were at the office. I guess I'm subconsciously seeking normality in a time in which nothing we're dealing with is normal.
Separation between work and downtime is key when working from home so even if I really want to have a power nap or watch tv, I wait for the working day to be over - and then I can treat myself to some trashy tv.
I've been trying to do something creative with my downtime, whether it be painting or baking cookies. I like to have achieved at least one little thing by the end of a weekend to keep my hands and mind busy. That's not to say that I've not done my fair share of binge-watching Netflix - I've compiled a list of what I've been watching so far here if you're interested.
Top tip : a relaxing bath and putting on a face mask takes binge-watching to a whole other level.
I'm taking lockdown one day at a time and using it as an opportunity to maintain a healthy lifestyle and do the things I've been telling myself I've not had time to before - things like painting :-)
We'd like to wish all of our customers, readers, friends and followers the very best of luck with the continued lockdown and hope you all stay safe and healthy. We'll get through this together and come out the other side stronger than ever.