How are you managing while working from home? In part three of our new article series, we're sharing insights from RGD Members on how they're trying to separate their work lives from life at home.
Missed Part 1 or Part 2 of our series? It covers ways you and your team can stay connected while working remotely, and tips for boosting your and your team's morale.
We hope this series provides you with inspiration and support!
3. What strategies are you using to separate your work and home life?
Generally sticking to “office hours” helps. But given the circumstances (I have two young children at home), there’s always gotta be some flexibility. I have a dedicated space where I work, but since I use a laptop, if I’m needed upstairs, it can always come with me. Work time is usually during the day, and a bit in the evening if I need some time to focus without interruptions. I’ll use the time to catch up or to get organized for the next day. For client communication, I try only to send emails between 9am – 5pm. This sets a client's expectation that they won’t be hearing from me if they email something at 10pm at night, even if I happen to be at my computer working.
— Sarah Prouse RGD, VP Creative Possibilities at Fusion Design Group
That's been harder for me as our amount of urgent communications to support the business has gone through the roof. But you have to take the time to decompress so I'm doing my best to wrap up my work day by dinner time and not check email in the evening. In order to keep up with the marathon, we're going to refuel, and that's by spending time taking care of ourselves and our families.
— Wendy Millard RGD, RGD President and Director of Design Services at Empire Life
I’m lucky as I have two university students at home so it’s not as bad as it could be. I feel for my team with younger kids. Their worlds are colliding!!!
Bandwidth is our biggest issue at home. We live in the rural area and internet is not what you’d call blazing fast. My wife has graciously given up her office so to be perfectly honest this hasn’t affected me in the way it has a lot of people. Again, living in the country, we’ve been social distancing for a while.
— Mark Roberts RGD, VP Creative at Davis Agency
The Works provide flexible work times (you don’t have to be at your desk for 8 hours), there are core hours, however we encourage taking breaks often, communicating when and for how long you’ll be away from your desk and we respect personal time (if you’re dealing with family at home or taking a long walk mid-day).
— Will Hum RGD, Principal & Creative Director at Clear Space
Personally, I have a clear space (pun intended) for work and calls in my home office. Also, I ensure to keep a consistent and familiar schedule so that I stay disciplined.
We have a set workday schedule that has been agreed upon between us and our manager. No one is expected to be online or respond to email outside of that time frame, so there's no pressure from my team to keep working beyond that.
I'm lucky to have an actual office at home that I share with my husband. Once our workdays are over, we turn off the light and 'go home'. I think it's really important to have a separate physical space where you complete your work, if you can. It's easier to separate work and home life mentally if you're already doing it physically. As much as it is tempting to go sit on the sofa or in bed to work, I know it wouldn't motivate me to get anything done.
— Ceri Higgs Provisional RGD, Graphic Designer at Techboomers.com
This has been a bit of challenge as we just got through a really intense month with three large client deliverables and a rush pitch. It’s easy to get lost in my work when at home, to the point where I forgot to eat, don’t go to the bathroom or get a drink of water for over six hours straight due to an impending deadline or back-to-back meetings. I’m trying to consciously stick to a routine with 5 minutes here and there to get water, take a bio-break, or even just to get up and walk around the room. Your colleagues understand, it’s okay to say “sorry, I have to step off this call for a minute” when you need a bio-break!
I try to consciously shut down at the end of the day, resisting the urge to power the laptop back up and check on stuff unless it’s truly urgent. Tomorrow is another day!
— Caroline Bruckner RGD, Director of Design Strategy at Ove Brand | Design
It’s important to recognize that work-life balance looks different than it did a few weeks ago. Many of us have partners and children who aren’t normally home during the day now needing our attention, and all our normal routines outside of work are now on hold. Working on urgent projects outside of normal hours can be a good way to keep busy, and going to the grocery store or out for a walk in the middle of the work day can be a good way to maintain physical distance. For me, having a separate space that I use almost exclusively for work helps me walk away at the end of the day.
— Nancy Mullin, Graphic Design Manager at BDO
I’m connected with my team and ensure no one is left behind! We check in late-day, to provide assistance or see who’s still ‘burning the mid-night oil’ and try to encourage a hard stop (of course sometimes deadlines dictate our end time).
— Nelson Silva, Creative Director at The Works Design Communications
Stay tuned for our final series instalment on how RGD Members and their teams are taking care of their mental and physical health during this time.