DESIGN | PROCESS | RESOURCES
By now, you've probably done your google chrome's head in by searching all day every day what to do about working from home. You've been scrolling on social media non-stop, and the lines between your personal life and your work life are getting more and more blurred by the minute.
For those of you who have had an office job for the last decade and for those of you who have just graduated and have no idea where to start, we get it. Moving to an all digital world is overwhelming and almost no one was prepared to make the switch so abruptly.
For the last 5 years I've been working remotely wherever I could and today, I'll be giving you some of the biggest lessons I've learned during the last few years, some of my biggest tips and tricks for creating a successful "Work from home" environment, and the things you should really avoid when working from home for the first time. This isn't to say that I am an expert, as I, myself recently graduated from college, but I have had my fair share of remote odd jobs and consultations over the past few years in the Design industry.
I'm sure you've heard people say 24/7 that you should be investing in things you know will help you long term. As a broke college student living in the Big Apple for my prime college years, I was jumping at every chance to buy things I didn't need. This meant I was out all day every day with friends, I was going out every night to Dream Downtown and Tao, and I was finally coming home at 5am to crash before my 9am class that morning. I made some horrible financial mistakes. Not only was I unable to work because of my Visa status, but I was throwing my few hundred dollars I had for the week out of the window on things which neither benefitted me or my career.
It didn't take me until my final year of college to realize I needed to start from scratch because temporary things I wanted were eating up my budget.
Before investing in the smaller things, start by making a complete list of things that are a must-have in your field. Maybe this means researching what programs are used the most frequently in your field, or looking at job listings to see what programs are typically required to know to be a potential candidate. Don't shrug it off. Make the list.
In my case, once I started applying for jobs, the list of programs I had learned in college and the list of programs on job listings did not line up completely. I started to get stressed, because my experience was limited and my program skills were entry level. If you're in the same boat, don't fret.
Once you've made your list of essential programs and equipment, take a look at how often you need to use them, and narrow it down to the main every day essentials. For me, this list included: Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, Revit, V-Ray and Sketchup. Of course, this list is different based on your field, so make it as you see fit. While you're researching, take the time to pull up an excel spreadsheet and list all the annual fees, subscription fees, or outright purchase fees for all the programs you need so you have a better understanding how much of your budget should be saved towards those programs.
You next, need to understand what systems and equipment you need to properly run those essential programs and complete projects. Look at the specs of the computer needed to run those programs effectively before going for the new purchase. I had gone through 4 MacBook Pros by the time college ended, and I still had to make overnight trips to the campus computer lab because iOS didn't support the programs I was using every day. That was thousands of dollars (even with a student discount) down the drain because the guy at the Apple store told me "This mac is better for running multiple programs."
Sure, to some extent my Mac was the best thing I could have gotten while in Design School for post production and every day use, but on the professional side it was a nightmare. The programs I needed were only Windows updated and compatible, so I was constantly switching between Mac and Windows. Not only was that a hassle for me on the rendering and digital work side, but it was a hassle because if I went home, I had absolutely no access to my work files if I wanted to make changes. So, instead of just going for the trend, get a computer that works for what you need it for.
Investing in your set up
Sitting at your kitchen island is a great way to work from home, but really, investing in a set up or home office is the best way to go. If you live in a small home, a makeshift office works, but if you have the space and the means to build a desk area specifically for working remotely, I say that's the way to go. Invest.
Your personal set up is so important when working remotely. Making sure you have all the gadgets and the systems to make your job smooth is the biggest investment you can make when you're starting to work from home.
In my case, investing in a full desktop set up with a comfy arm chair made the most sense, as I tend to sit at my computer for 10 hours on average, between rendering, post production, and other miscellaneous odd jobs like responding to emails and downloading rendering content.
To read more, check out the blog post "Work From Home: Must-Have Gadgets"
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