Keeping Calm and Carrying On: My Time Working From Home

Written by: Chloe Barker

For some of those entering the eighth week of remote working or furloughed employment, patience and tolerance might be starting to wear thin. Mindful of this, the team here at Bluesky Design have been making a concerted effort to keep in regular contact. Rather than allowing the situation to make us feel more disconnected from our colleagues, we’ve been encouraging and motivating each other every day to use this time to each of our advantages.

My typical morning ‘at work’ now begins at 9.00am with a team video call and a welcome bit of motivation to get out of bed and make myself presentable (from the waist up, at least). These morning conference calls are our platform for discussing live and potential projects, and for updating one another on workload and any deadlines that might be coming up over the course of the week. This way, we’re all able to plan and manage our working hours accordingly. They’re also a great opportunity to fill one another in on which television series we’ve been enjoying and which live YouTube quiz we’ll be participating in that evening!

It’s the responsibility of individual team members  to set their own structures for the day ahead, and our routines are flexible. We’ve had to build an element of trust with Fiona and the rest of the team in order to make this work; proving that we’re still able to produce work independently and to meet our clients’ requirements just as we would under ‘normal circumstances’.

Motivating myself amidst the host of new distractions has been one of the hardest aspects of working from home for me. I’ve found the best way to solve this, with deadlines looming, is to tackle the difficult jobs or email responses first . With those out of the way, a sense of satisfaction is achieved and the rest of the tasks come more easily; keeping focused and maintaining concentration isn’t a problem when you’re absorbed in what you’re doing. The same principle can be applied to jobs around the house or in the garden, too.

COVID-19 Work in progress

We’re all experiencing different situations working from home, but spending all our time in the same place definitely has potential to make the days feel monotonous and uninspiring. Having access to your own fridge at lunchtime provides some compensation for this, but I’ve found that a regular catch-up with my team is usually the best way to boost my mood and give me the reassurance I need to fulfill my objectives for the day ahead.

Staying connected like this helps to simulate the feeling of being in the office and provides workers with a welcome escape from other parts of their life. As individuals, our working lives are often rooted firmly in our sense of self and they comprise an important part of our identities. Being able to continue exercising the skills that make us successful in our roles and sharing that experience with our colleagues can feel very important in times like these.

That being said, we’ve all had to adapt the ways we work. What might once have been a quick question to a nearby coworker has now become a pre-arranged conversation, conducted at a mutually convenient moment. The rhythms of work in the office and its naturally collaborative atmosphere are disrupted at home. At times I’ve found it frustrating trying to navigate around this.

I wasn’t especially conscious of the availability of feedback and advice from my colleagues in the office, but it’s definitely something that  I’ve missed while working remotely.  Competing for a quiet place and a good Wi-Fi connection at home, I’ve really grown to appreciate the value of a purpose-built work environment designed with different modes of working in mind. Based at home, many of us are simply having to make do with whatever space is available.

The more time we spend working remotely, the clearer our new working practices will become; at the moment we’re still coming to terms with our situation and most of us are only just beginning to understand how our roles might be affected in the future. But by keeping our minds open and by making an effort to keep communicating, together we can continue to adapt and make the most of whatever the future might hold.

Chloe has been working from home since the beginning of the lockdown. She lives with her parents in a village north of Leeds. Despite limited access to broadband she has managed to perform fantastically as part of the team throughout the lockdown period. Well done Chloe!

Fiona Collier

Written by: Chloe Barker