With the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, businesses everywhere were faced with the challenge of working from home. Businesses who are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely now must find ways to manage their workforce digitally. Designers, who are typically used to working in a collaborative agency environment, may find themselves struggling with this new working arrangement.
As a digital design agency with several remote workers, we’ve devised a guide to help you remain productive while working from home. Follow these simple tips to help make your home a great working environment.
Designers often have many client projects on the go and need to prioritize them in order to meet strict deadlines. While working from home, it can be difficult to focus solely on your work. It may be tempting to jump between work tasks and household chores especially if you have young children and pets at home. In these cases, tracking your time is essential.
There are several free time tracking apps available online. Even better, project management software will enable you to manage projects and track your time for each task. Tracking your time will not only help with billing but it will also ensure that you are managing your time in the most efficient way possible.
The top project management software for creative teams include:
While being quarantined at home, hours can start to bleed together and you may begin to lose track of time. Maintaining a routine is crucial to remain productive while working at home. Scheduling your breaks can help maintain that routine and make sure you don’t overwork yourself or take too many breaks.
Specialists say you should take a break every 50-90 minutes. Your breaks should be 15-20 minutes and longer at lunch. The frequency of your breaks depends largely on what tasks you are doing. Designing may require less frequent but longer breaks because you don’t want to break your flow. More administrative tasks may require more frequent but shorter breaks.
A good rule of thumb for taking breaks is to actually take a break. Take the time to get away from the task you are working on and change up your environment. If you are designing on a computer screen, use your break to get away from screens. Moving your body is also important to help refresh your mind. Try these simple stretches to help combat musculoskeletal injuries that are common in people who work at a desk.
In this day and age, it’s hard to ignore all of the digital distractions of texting, social media, email, instant messaging and phone calls. Especially when you are confined to your home and can’t get out to socialize. While working from home, it is essential to set specific times to turn off or mute notifications so you can focus purely on your work.
Distancing yourself from distracting devices such as your cell phone can help you with maintaining your concentration. If you are taking the recommended breaks, you can reply to any missed messages or notifications between your work sprints.
Work like graphic design and web design often has stringent deadlines set by the clients. Creative agencies balancing many different projects, need to be able to balance employee’s time with client expectations. While working from home, particularly in uncertain times like the coronavirus outbreak, setting and sticking to deadlines is crucial. Using the project management software mentioned above will help you with visualizing your deadlines in a timeline.
If your role isn’t client-based and you don’t have solid deadlines, create your own. Start by writing out a list of your tasks and then order them by priority. From there, you can assign deadlines to help keep you on track.
Certain types of music are proven to improve productivity. The best sounds to listen to at work include classical music, cinematic soundtracks, nature sounds, instrumental songs, or simply white noise. If you’re looking for something a bit different, try the relaxing sounds of ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response.
Maintaining a high level of productivity while working from home doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. By using a combination of effective time management and relaxation techniques, and using technology to your advantage, you can turn your home into a productive work environment.