Designers working at home, comments, tips?

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 comradery 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?

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.

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. :frowning:

Love the Nick Cave tips. 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, face times, and general charts with friends
  6. take another “commute” at the end of the day to go “home” and put all the work aside

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 1400sf 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 expectation 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)!


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 scheduled - of course if you need a brain break dont 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 preform better doing design in the evening - but i make sure i get the minimal 8 hours completed and what ever tasks i had set.

Sort of related, if you’ve got kids at home during this time, this is a great series posting every day at 1:00 Central

Just posted in another thread asking if you all were now WFH. We have been divided into 2 groups and alternated days in office and at home. Problem is my wife works from home and has the dedicated office. Past few days I’ve been on dining room table (with a good task chair, though), lounge chair, sofa, kitchen counter. So far miss the dedicated space at the office. Also, my lower back has been out the last few days and this lounge chair sit isn’t exactly best ergonomic practice.

Watched the Mo Willems video with the kids tonight. Big hit! Thanks!

I was really resistant to the ideas posted in this thread for a long time. Why should I need a separate place for work? Why do I need a routine? Why do I need a commute?

I have never found a good answer to these why questions, but I’m now thoroughly convinced that I DO need these things. I’m amazed at my ability to waste days and even weeks on things like youtube and reddit… The easiest solution in the past was for me was to work in public settings. I feel stupid watching youtube videos on video games in public, and I used this fact to keep me productive.But at home I can waste all day on them.

With all my local coffee shops closed down, I have been forced to make a work-space that is separate from my play space. I have to force myself to walk for 20-40m twice a day to get into and out of the working mindset. I have seen some success, but I’m still super annoyed that all this seemingly extraneous stuff is necessary for me to get any work done…I don’t get it!

eh, we are just human. Maybe some of us can magically get into and out of work mode, but it helps to have some artificially will power… like going to the coffee shop :slight_smile: same thing, different place. Humans… we’re weird.