Four more of our fabulous team members share their working from home experiences from shambolic spaces to early morning Cbeebies fun and learnings on resilience through isolation…
Blurring my background
As told by Loralie (Project Manager)
This room in which I work from home was previously our study/guest/TV/“chuck-it-in-there” room – a room that has never been decorated since we moved in five years ago. It’s got rejected bits of furniture and other random items in here, such as a fibreglass blue marlin, American number plates from previous cars, a periodic table of elements and an almighty stack of DVDs. It also holds our infamous family portrait. This room seriously needs a make-over and its tiny desk set-up doesn’t afford me a picturesque window view either, but it has done ‘well enough’ as my workspace since March.
I’m grateful to have this shambolic space so that I can shut off from the rest of the house when needed – it’s been like my haven, keeping me comfortable and cocooned, while our team ‘catch-up’ calls every morning keep me connected and motivated. These Teams calls give me something to get dressed for too. A degree of routine is important for me. Apart from being at home, my work activity hasn’t changed much, except that I do find it hard to ‘switch off’ and break away at the end of the day – the temptation to take a peek at work stuff is always there. I do miss the spontaneous chats and face-to-face meetings, as well as the banter and general background noise from the studio, but our Slack channels have become a whirlwind of creative thoughts and friendly abuse, which goes some of the way to compensate.
Aside from work, there have been some seemingly small gains to working from home – being here has meant I have been able to put the washing on the line outside (yes!), check the new veg patch more regularly, take deliveries, see a bit more of the kids, cat and fish, squeeze in the occasional run at lunchtime, nip to the fridge as often as I like… all these things add up to make me happier.
The downside is … the weight gain 🙁
Magic moments you can never get back
As told by Pete (Designer)
Having freelanced for a number of years, working from home is something I’m quite used to.
I much prefer the morning routine, getting the baby his bottle instead of sitting in traffic and being in the car for an hour is far more enjoyable. I used to listen to a podcast or music in the car but that’s now been replaced with CBeebies, which I enjoy just as much!
Distractions – kids, dogs, delivery drivers and the old postman who loves a chat. He normally knocks my door mid afternoon and just stands there waiting for me to talk to him, sometimes I’m even on the phone and he still stands there. If the dog runs out and licks him then that adds another 5 minutes. His round must take him forever!
Magic moments – We had Albie last year and working from home has allowed me to see him everyday, far more than I would if I was travelling to work and being out all day. Being here when he does something new, learns a new word, took his first steps are moments I would most likely have missed. It’s the little pros like this that I like best. The work life balance becomes a blur but because I enjoy what I do, sticking to 9-5 isn’t a problem and if I need to take a few minutes out for whatever reason I can just come back to my desk and pick up work again.
Perfect balance – I’m lucky to have such an amazing balance at home. Sara, does everything she can to make sure I’m not distracted by baby, kids, dog or anything else when she knows I’ve got a lot on and it’s great to be able to chat with her through the day and even bounce ideas off of her and get a different view on some of my concepts.
The downside – The biggest downside is the lack of real social interaction, the office banter, Friday scampi and just generally not seeing people. Teams calls are good and definitely bridge the gap but the office vibe at Alive is a special one and you do notice the difference being at home.
The pros – I feel more focussed on work and wanting to push myself to deliver the best creative I can for each given brief. In terms of concept development, discussing ideas and even if you hit a creative block, a quick Teams call usually gets you back on track right away. Taking 10 minutes out to chat about your ideas is something I rarely did when in the office, but it’s something I think working from home has brought out and a quick call with one of the other designers really helps to steer an idea in the right direct.
If this way of working is the ‘new norm’ then I’m really enjoying it and would be happy to carry on in this way but to also come in to the office on occasions to have the best of both!
A walk on the creative side
As told by Andy (Design and Animation)
It still feels weird to be working from home. I do like just popping down to the living room to start work but on the flip side I have found it’s harder to shut off when your mac is downstairs.
While I have a lovely bright conservatory to work from, it can be cramped as I often share with one of my family. As we are in close proximity and often on different calls it can be distracting as you can imagine.
I need a routine and structure as I can be lazy without it and I miss the inspiration I get from being at work. There are no creative wall coverings or posters for me to get ideas from at home, nor a quick lunchtime trip to the shops to be inspired by my favourite brands. A quick scoot around town gives me a chance to do some thinking about project(s) and also to clear my head and have a bit of a refresh that you don’t always get at home.
So, I’ve been working in the Alive office a few days a week when I can book a space (new measures mean we can’t all go in). It has helped me break things up a bit and the atmosphere is more familiar. I can bounce ideas around with colleagues and it feels more natural to grab 10 mins with someone, rather than calling them specifically. I really miss the office banter and the abuse (mainly) Laura gives me. And while the banter doesn’t disappoint on our comms channels it just isn’t quite the same as in person!
Life beyond the four walls
As told by Ian (Web Developer)
I had already been working from home for a long time, so had an established and comfortable working space. Talking to colleagues, I knew my working day and environment didn’t change as much as others. If anything, work was the only part of life that wasn’t significantly different, although that’s not to say it was plain sailing.
Working from home and living alone can sometime feel quite isolated but isn’t normally a problem. Seeing my daughter, occasionally popping to a coffee shop with my laptop for a change of scenery and watching live bands were all important parts of my life balance.
With the news, social media and a flow of emails cancelling gigs for company it became too easy to become anxious and overly introspective. The challenge was to learn from the introspection and move forwards.
Cue the brutal crash course in self-awareness! I had to learn what triggered certain feelings and how to be content with my own company. Taking a break from social media and rediscovering doing creative things for fun both helped a lot.
I still don’t know when, or even if, things that mean a lot to me will return to normal but I feel more resilient for the future.
Read some of our other stories …