Many creative teams across the globe, whether working at an agency or for a brand, site collaboration as the source of many of their most creative ideas. Now that many of us have shifted to working remotely, how are creatives keeping the spark alive and staying on track?
For answers on this topic, I reached out to the creative experts at Domtar Paper—our internal group of senior-level Graphic Designers—for advice on how to keep collaboration, creativity and productivity alive, even when shifting away from a face-to-face working environment.
Susan Jones –Graphic Designer, Domtar
- Keep to a schedule. Working from home can hamper progress if you have no plan in place. The pets, the kids, the laundry, etc. can all can become distractions that can set you off course if you don’t have a solid plan for your day. Setting mini deadlines can keep you on task.
- Have a space that is dedicated for your work. Set aside a room or just a corner of a room if that’s all you have to dedicate as your working space. Being comfortable and knowing where your tools are will make you more confident and efficient in your workflow, and leave more time for creativity.
- Schedule time for a break. It’s easy to just keep working and not take time for a break when you are home. Working through lunch and continuing to work past hours is a common problem for remote workers. It’s just easy to keep going. This can cause burn out and reduce that work life balance that we all strive for.
- Make sure to communicate with team at least once each day. Giving progress reports more often when working remotely can lessen miscommunication and assure that work is on track.
Erin Potter – Graphic Designer, Domtar
- Revisit some of your old books or magazines for inspiration. Take a deep dive into those book or magazines to pluck out little elements for a fresh take on project that has you stumped. Just like fashion, design trends can come back around and become trendy once again.
- Take some time to indulge in your favorite hobby or learn a new skill. When you need a break, use that time to get started on a hobby that you’ve been putting off. Better yet, use some of that to learn a new skill that can potentially add value to your day job. From YouTube to Lynda.com, there are many ways to learn new skills these days.
- Stay connected with co-workers and clients. This one is pretty simple. Leverage technology to stay in touch. Texting and video conferencing can bridge the gap of socialization when you’re stuck in your home office. It’s always uplifting to see another person’s face, albeit on a computer/device screen.
- Print out emails and to-do lists to reduce eye strain of staring at your screen. I find that I can skip over details reading through my email inbox, especially after staring at the screen all day. I like to print out my emails/to-dos so that I can slow down, read through everything and take notes. Using a highlighter is another great way to call out the most important details.
Roland Basdeo – Graphic and Digital Designer, Domtar
- Stick to a routine. Get ready to work as if you were going to the office—walk the dogs, get dressed and ready as if you will start work like a regular day in an office.
- Make your workspace enjoyable. A personal preference for me is to have radio on at a comfortable level to work along with. I pick a station that has a live DJ as it feels like your day is progressing with music and dialogue
- Turn off personal notifications on your phone or tablet. Phones and tablets can be really productive and amazing for working from home—just when you are working actually use it for productivity.
- Take breaks at or around the same time you would at work. One huge benefit of working from home is that, often times, you can get fresh air easier. Use the benefit of sitting outside for a few minutes to tackle creative problem solving, brainstorming or just a few minutes to collect your thoughts.
At the end of the day, remember this—creatives are resilient. Be excited about trying new tools, setting new routines and possibly learning something about yourself or your work style that you weren’t expecting. Be comfortable being uncomfortable and challenge yourself to learn something new from this experience.
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