How to succeed at working from home
The realities of working from home can be daunting and liberating, as many of us are experiencing. Something that was once viewed as a privilege has now become commonplace and normal across industries. In the past year, we have worked almost exclusively from the comfort of our own home, like so many of you. We wanted to share what we are learning and best practices for anyone who works from home, however sporadically it may occur. Find comfort in knowing that it is indeed a common challenge to all, but there are tools that facilitate and enhance the experience.
Discipline is really the core to this practice. It's something that some naturally possess, but for most, it's something that you slowly build with the help of consistent focus and effort. As we have improved our own discipline, work flows smoother and productivity has immensely increased. This has primarily been accomplished by blocking out "domestic distractions," which is not always an easy thing to avoid at home. It requires being intentional about the way you use your space and separating domestic mode from work mode (even when they exist in the same space).
Speaking of space, as many city-dwellers discover, having a space solely dedicated to a home office is a luxury...that we do not have. Because we are working in a fusion space that serves both domestic and work life, it's our "professional" rituals that we implement to signal to our brains to transition into work mode. We are very deliberate about these rituals, which include a work-only radio station, time-blocking important tasks, weekly project/progress reviews, and making time for a healthy lunch. Our rituals focus on creating the most productive working environment, while still incorporating aspects of self care.
We are not only deliberate with our rituals, but also with the use of our space. During working hours, we have a very thorough home office set up, complete with all the
bells and whistles (printer/copier, white board, client binders, samples galore, you name it). After working hours, everything disappears, and I don't mean that we stuff things in a closet. There is an intentional place for our "supplies," integrated into our systems of home organization, blending in an aesthetically pleasing way. The aesthetics are something that we value immensely (part of our design side) because it inspires us in our creative process and is reflective of us as designers.
In our journey so far, what we have learned is to be conscious and mindful about our multi-use living and working space. When we are at home, it is a priority to keep the office contained and out of sight, which is not always easy. And when we are at work, we focus on our rituals tailored to creating optimal efficacy in our team. Though it may not seem like much, crafting an inspiring home office environment really is a successful melange of aesthetics and psychological preparation.