Doomsday may not have befallen us yet, but a few of my acquaintances dare to disagree. Being stuck at home with 18-month-olds (and sometimes with 81-year-olds) makes some of us wish we could just step outside and catch that blessed virus once and for all, though there is some graceful bliss to be found in working from home. If anything, we’re all stuck in a familiar environment, which can be stimulating for those so-called creative juices.
You can also have the opposite effect, however. Not everyone is comfortable working from home, and there is not a hard-and-fast rule on how to keep the creative motivation alive during the pandemic.
It is but a desperate attempt to see the glass half full, but several agencies are trying to achieve just that and they have quite a few interesting words of advice for you. We have collected them all below.
StormBrands - Preserve office mentality
StormBrands has been on Creativepool long enough to be shortlisted for our 2017 Creativepool Annual Awards, and it is no wonder it has some inspiring advice for us all. Senior designer Dean Harding’s daily routine now includes asking oneself “how would we do this at work? Why wouldn't I do that instead?”. This helps preserving office mentality and it prevents getting distracted during the day.
He also emphasises the importance of remaining connected with your colleagues through Zoom or other means, as though they were “sitting around the office.” Even without talking, sharing that virtual presence can be highly motivating for your productivity.
Reed Words – Keep it fun
Senior writer Orlaith Wood recommends setting some time aside for fun, ‘non-worky’ interactions, to keep yourself from going insane like a Sim stuck in his own pool. It’s been little more than two weeks since lockdown started and Orlaith is already missing her face-to-face conversations with fellow writers – so, the team decided to schedule some time at the end of each day to have a chat about work, babies, pets and interior decorating.
They have also set up virtual tabletop games with their deputy creative director to have a little online-organised fun. Take this as an inspiration to give a nudge to your own boss, perhaps. These playful interactions help the team stay positive and connected, in times in which anxiety looms large beyond the window.
Me&Dave – Adapt
On the other hand, not all of this is going to be fun and games, and there is a lot of brainpower and time involved in daily catch-ups. Creative director and co-founder Mark Davis recalls that a simple glance or nod at a screen was enough to keep things moving in the office, but now things get much more delayed by different remote working setups and times.
Mark recommends against fighting this, however; the only solution is to adapt. His team schedules one hour less of catch-ups per day, which puts the strain off people and allows them to have some more time at the end of the day. We can easily anticipate that ‘Adaptation’ is going to be a popular buzzword in the next few months, and we can see why thanks to Mark's spirit.
Charlie Smith Design - Keep organised
‘Adaptation’ also means finding new ways to stay organised, such as daily to-do lists and mini-deadlines to keep the team creatively on track. Founder and creative director Charlie Smith employs Zoom calls as those mini-deadlines to keep track of project momentum.
It's tempting to forget about ourselves in these trying times
It may also be useful to create a comfortable work space at home that is just ‘yours’, ideally with a door that you can use to gently shut the world outside. It does help with focus, and it is great to gain that habit of sitting down to get some decent work done every day. Humans are creatures of habit, after all.
Straight Forward Design – Focus on people
It’s far too easy to lose track of our loved ones while we’re trying to adapt to a new reality. Don’t. Whether you’re a parent managing home-schooling or someone living alone, do not underestimate the power of connecting with others.
Cofounder and creative director Mike Foster emphasises the importance of communicating with everyone to guarantee job security and emotional support. This is just as true of others as it is of our own selves. We still ignore the impact this pandemic will have on mental health a few weeks from now, but we have time to prevent that. Reach out to your friends, create something for them with your art, stay connected.
But do feel free to isolate from your three-year-old with a good pair of headphones and some AC/DC, if you need to. I won’t blame you if you do.
Header image: 2016 Future Lions, by AKQA