How to work from home as a designer

Updated: Oct 6


Working from home is getting more and more common and there are a ton of benefits! You can make your own schedule to fit your lifestyle and you can create a calm and productive work environment that makes you feel happy. However, it is easy to get stuck in a circle of working all the time, not meeting people and frankly getting a little uninspired when you work from home. Especially for creative professions, we need to see new things and talk to interesting people to have new great ideas, no matter how nice those Pinterest boards are. So how can you be an expert at working from home and get all those benefits while still feeling inspired and have a nice life balance? Let's dig in!



OVERVIEW:

  • Creating the perfect setup

  • Tools to communicate with your team

  • Routines

  • Get outside

Creating the perfect setup


We are used to thinking about our home as a place to relax and spend time with friends and family. When you start to work from home, you want to keep a clear separation between how you spend your time at home and how you feel and act at work. One of the easiest ways to do this is to dedicate a specific area of your home to work. If you have a spare room with a door you can close, this is ideal for several reasons. Having a separate room actually allows you to claim a tax deduction in most countries since you are effectively letting the space to yourself. Check the rules in your country to find out how this works for you. Being able to close the door is also a good mental exercise. If you do not have a spare room, just picking a spot to put your desk and surrounding it with things that help you feel motivated is a great solution as well.


Once you have your spot, it is time to start decorating and making sure your work environment is going to help you do a good job and feel good at work. Start by thinking about how you like to work. Do you need a standing desk? Do you prefer to use two monitors or is a wall planner going to make your day? This should be a fun and helpful process to get you excited about getting to work each day.


Tools to communicate with your team


If you work from home, or even remotely when you travel, it is important to have a quick and easy way to collaborate with your clients and other creatives. Start by talking with your team and see how they prefer to work and find a way that feels good to everyone. There are a few categories of tools you can try out.


Chat:

Slack - best for project or topic based chats using rooms

Twist - best for conversations in threads


File sharing:

Kayla - Request and share files with clients and other creatives

Google Drive - Share files and collaborate on documents

Wetransfer - Send files to someones email


Project management:

Notion - Acts as a wiki where you can add any structure you like

Trello - Uses the kanban method of moving items from "need doing" to "finished"

Basecamp - Provides a range of functions like schedules, to-do's and assigning tasks

Asana - Works as a to-do list with a lot of added functions


Routines


Everyone works differently and one of the great benefits of working from home is that you can create your own schedule. This can be both freeing and feel daunting so to avoid you working 24/7, try to be intentional about your work and create routines that will be sustainable in the long run. It can be helpful to consider routines that integrate with your life as a way to break up your workday and get you out of your chair. These can be things like working out mid day, cleaning your apartment or running errands but be careful to not use these activities as procrastination. Many use time blocks as a structure to plan their habits around. Time blocking can help you be more effective and keep you focused on the important tasks.


Get outside


Maybe the weather is terrible or perhaps you are just too deep in to your work but staying inside all day can quickly become a bad habit. Isolation can in worst cases lead to depression and for us to shy away from social interactions. Try to get outside at least once a day, even if it is just to pick up something from the store. Other great opportunities are to mix it up and work in a cosy cafe, from a park on a sunny day or from a co-working space where you can meet other business owners.


Getting outside is not only important for you mental health but it is also very important for your business. Social media is great but many find that meeting people in person, even if it is just to chat over a coffee is the best way to build business relationships that last over time.


If you like to get outside but are not in the networking mood, try a museum or even catch a film at your local fringe cinema, who knows, it might be the inspiration for your next project.


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