I’m unquestionably an introvert, so the idea of working from home – without distraction – has always interested me. In the past, I have worked from home for two or three days at a time, but this is my first time working full time from my apartment.
Everyone told me I’d be living the dream. “You can roll out of bed two minutes before the work day starts and you don’t even have to put pants on.” While I do feel like I’m living the dream, I’m taking a more structured approach.
I’ve spent most of my working life waking up early, biking a couple miles to the office, and being the first one there. It’s a routine I’ve grown to love. I decided early on that I needed to keep this routine. I still wake up at about 6:30-7:00 and make breakfast. I put on clothes appropriate for a client meeting and head out the door like I’m going to work. Instead of walking to an office, I end up walking a couple miles around town. It gives me a chance to bump into people I know or stop at Pop-A-Top for a cup of coffee. When I get back home, my mindset has changed. I’m not walking into my house, I’m walking into the office.
My home office is a twelve-foot by twelve-foot room with stark white walls, a black tile floor, and one window that lets in a surprising amount of natural light. Until a couple of weeks ago, it was home to unpacked boxes and a weight set I rarely touched. I like my work environment to be pretty minimal – the fewer distractions the better. So I went through all the boxes and had a pretty successful Craigslist sale to empty out the room. Now there are only four large objects in here. I have my standing desk – which I built just for this experience – and a bookshelf filled with design books. There’s also a weight bench and a rack holding a full set of dumbbells. While I still don’t use the weights, it’s nice to know they’re there if I need to.
One of my favorite parts of what I do is being surrounded by other creatives. I haven’t met a single designer who doesn’t have weird interests or hobbies. There’s always great conversation that isn’t related to design. The week I spent in the Bullhorn office proved that this team isn’t an exception. Whether it’s Brad talking about bringing bike polo to Lexington or Stevie questioning the existence of asbestos under the floor of the Parachute Factory, there’s always interesting conversation to keep you inspired. Not being able to jump into those conversations when they’re happening will likely be my biggest challenge while working remotely. How do I keep myself immersed in office culture and conversation? I don’t want to become “that guy in Florida we outsource work to”.
I’m a huge fan of Slack. I’ve used it as an in-house designer and as a freelance designer with great results. I planned to get the Bullhorn team to adopt Slack as a communication tool, but I’m starting to notice that the system for communication that’s already in place makes a lot more sense. I’m adapting to that by using Asana and Google Hangouts as my primary tools.
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