Tips from a 100% remote design team on getting through lockdown

At Pepperplane we run a 100% remote team which allows us to work from home safely while we work with clients globally. Over the past three years we’ve learned a lot about working from coffee shops, shared office spaces, and of course, home. With COVID-19 spreading at an alarming rate, working away from an office has become the new normal for many. We’ve got a few tips to make the transition smoother and make remote working work for you.

#1 CREATE YOUR WORKSPACE

It can be difficult to concentrate in an environment that you normally relax in after a busy day of work and traffic. You might also be sharing your home space with family or roommates and this could get tricky if none of you are used to working from home.

The first thing to do is to designate a space as your “work space.” It can be a desk in your room, your dinner table or your closet (if things get really distracting, although not recommended). This means that you can “go to work” and keep similar business hours as much as possible.

This designated space will also warn those you share a home with that you’re in work mode and probably not available for a quick coffee or chat.

#2 Get the right tools

We make use of a bagful of tools in order to stay connected and communicate effectively. Here are some of them:

Slack
We use Slack for real-time chat between all our team members. We do our daily updates, group discussions, and all private chats on Slack.

Invision
InVisionApp calls itself a digital product design platform. It’s an amazing tool for prototyping, project presentation, collaboration, and asset handovers.

Google Hangouts
We use Hangouts for all video calls. It’s free, works really well, and it makes it really easy to share calendar invites or links in chats.

Monday
We use monday.com for all our business and project management, tracking, and reporting. It keeps everyone in the loop no matter where they are.

#3 Beat the feeling of isolation

 If you’re used to being in a bustling office or studio environment, sitting at home alone can be very uninspiring. These are our tips to combat the creative cabin fever

Video chats with colleagues

  • You might be someone who draws their creativity from being around co-workers, clients and/or users. Lockdown makes that impossible so you’ll need to find ways to work around it. One way is to have video chats with clients or colleagues to get the interaction you need to fuel creativity.
  • Listen to podcasts to hear some human voices while you work.
  • Join online design communities and contribute as much as possible. Dribbble is a great place to do that! It’s very interactive and a great way to get feedback when you need it.

#4 Stay active

Get up and move around whenever you can. Working on the couch or in bed might be a bit too comfortable and before you know it, it’s 4p.m. and you haven’t moved a muscle.

If you don’t have a lot of space, check out some YouTube videos on stretches, yoga, and home exercise to keep the juices flowing.

Maintain a work/life balance

Relax, take regular breaks, and make sure you get enough sleep. Working from home might mean that you actually have fewer distractions than at the office. This might send you into productivity overdrive, which sounds like a good thing but that can have negative effects over a long period of time. Remember to look up from your screen every now and then, get up and take some deep breaths. Wake up and go to sleep at your regular times, keep office hours, and stick to your normal routine to help assist with this.

Remember to eat! At the office, lunchtime might’ve been a definite break in your day – a chance to socialise with co-workers and just step away from your desk for a while. When working at home you might find that you eat too little or way too much (just because the fridge is right there!). Be cognisant of these changes and find a healthy way to manage them. Maybe try plan a weekly menu full of healthy food (and the occasional treat), set reminders on your phone for meal times, and always have fresh fruit and veg available for quick, healthy snacks.

IN CLOSING

Working from home might be a big adjustment for most people but it’s for a good reason and doing your part will help the world get through this pandemic much faster.

We hope these tips will help you make the most of remote working!

Get in touch with your creative wing