Working from home - striking the right balance
We have the power
It’s great that in this connected day and age, we increasingly have the option and the ability to work from home. Over the 25 years that I have worked in the creative industry, developments in communication technology and changing attitudes towards working culture mean that for creatives, the concept of connecting remotely with work systems and colleagues has become much more widely accepted and we can now work from almost anywhere we choose.
However, the current global crisis brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means that working from home is now the only option for many, and some may be adjusting to working from home for the first time. Although the current lockdown means that it can feel at times as though we’re working almost in isolation, it is becoming more apparent just how important it is that we strike the right balance between working independently and staying connected in order to keep focussed and at the top of our creative games.
Creativity and stimulation
As creatives, we need inspiration, and for me, this typically comes from sights, sounds and experiences that are out of the ordinary. Interest in the arts, music, film, literature, and activities such as walking, exploring the local area, travelling and interacting with colleagues are often considered to stimulate the creative mind. But are we missing out on all of this when we work from home?
Being able to fully immerse yourself in your creative thought process without distraction is a key reason that working from home is so popular amongst us all. However, working from home means not needing to leave your home environment – the place where you spend most of your waking hours. There is no need to commute, and so there are no external stimuli; no clever outdoor advertising to make you think, no unfamiliar people to observe and consider, and no need to spend time waiting for a train or bus. So, how can we stay motivated, inspired and stimulated?
Personally, I like to create a calm, ordered environment for myself away from my usual home surroundings. I have the luxury of a studio set up that is independent from the house. This helps me to stick to a structured routine and allows me to maintain a clear delineation between work and home, along with the following key factors:
- Regular exercise breaks help to keep the creative juices flowing and reenergise the mind. Physical exercise is often the first casualty of working from home, so it should be factored into your daily routine.
- Creative stimulus from music is very important to me and so I listen to music and aim to take a break to play the guitar for 15 minutes at least once a day to help to exercise that side of my creativity as well.
- Ensuring that I have regular, concise online design research periods that can motivate and inspire me also helps to keeps the creative juices flowing.
- Short breaks away from the studio and house are also important, although at the moment, these breaks are limited due to the current restrictions.
The importance of collaboration
One of the achievements of my career that I am most proud of is being involved in the creation and development of the expert and multi-skilled creative team that we have at Konstructive. Face to face conversations can be a great source of inspiration and thanks to digital solutions such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Jira, they are still possible when working from home. The ability to interact with other members of the team is essential for me. Being secure within your team does more than improve the quality of your work life; it can also make you feel more at ease when sharing ideas, concepts and thoughts with your colleagues.
This collaborative process is essential for creativity and is reflected in the partnerships that we develop with our clients, encouraging ideas to develop and grow. Listening to our clients, enabling them to adapt to the challenges they may be facing and empowering them to achieve their goals is incredibly rewarding and ultimately, is what keeps me motivated.
So, to summarise
While working from home can be liberating and productive, the evolution of a careful work-life balance and the ability to interact regularly with colleagues and clients helps to keep the creative mind stimulated and focussed, enabling us become happier and more in control.
One thing is for certain; the way that many of us work post coronavirus may never be the same again. We have the power to work from home and we need to use it wisely.
Contact us to discover how we can help your business to adapt.