In light of the concerns surrounding COVID-19 the staff at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology we wanted to share our tips to help others who might be transitioning their work from office to home.
Andrea Bogart, manager of the DCDT, prefers in-person connections and spend most days at the center, but during this challenging time, most communication can be done through phone calls and email to manage business. She shared some valuable information from those who are making the switch for the first time:
Create a quiet space dedicated to your work.
Be sure you are armed with the technology you need to work from home and set it up in a space you dedicate only to your work. This might be an office with a door or a corner of a common space. Make arrangements for a private location should you need to make work calls or video-conference at any given time.
“Dedicate a space for work so that’s all you do in that area,” said Bogart. “I have a small home office that I share with my husband and when I enter that room and sit at my desk, I’m in work mode.”
Technology will be your friend.
“There are many free or low cost ways to keep up relationships and manage projects that people should be using regularly,” said Bogart. “Video conferencing can be done easily and free through Google Hangouts, SKYPE, and ZOOM (a free version allows 40 minute-only video meetings).
Prepare for technical glitches. The transition will come with technical challenges – be it connecting to your home network, computer or accessing software. Be sure you have an IT professional you can contact for help when working remotely.
Christopher Stefani, associate director of the Detroit Center for Design + Technology added that cloud based file sharing systems are key.
“As designers, whether you are working in architecture, interior design, product design or elsewhere, you are very rarely working solo but rather in a team,” he said. “The need to be able to share documents, have multiple people work on digital models or share feedback and edits are paramount. Making sure we can actually continue to build, shape and edit a ‘product’ will be necessary to make sure the show can go on!”
Communicate with coworkers clearly and often.
“I suggest increased communication if you’re used to working in an office,” said Bogart. “It can be difficult to go from constant information to communication in spurts. Setting up a team project management program like Asana, Basecamp or Slack can help keep everyone working together. Add guests to calendar events so they are alerted to any changes that occur.”
Try to maintain communication on just one platform so you don’t miss a message sent or received where you don’t expect it. For many businesses this might be email. But some will prefer texting, or other examples above.
Set clear boundaries between home and work
Be sure that family members and those close to you understand that you are working and require time and focus to do so.
“Keep distractions low,” said Bogart. “And this may sound silly, but if you’re working from home, get dressed. Emotionally, it’s important to change your mindset after you get up and staying in pajamas, although appealing can sabotage your productivity.”
While working from home is more easily accomplished in some professional fields than in others – and balancing work and family is also a difficult transition at this time - these are considered safer option as the state has been asked to take caution against the COVID-19 virus.
To keep our spirits up and design inspiration alive, we’re asking you to share images of your work-from-home set-up with us.
We’re collecting them on Instagram, where you can find a new post every Monday featuring the office of a creative business owner, LTU staff member or student.
Share yours by sending us a photo via DM or tagging @detdesigntech and using the tags like;
We can’t wait to see it!
*image: Here’s how Karl Daubmann, dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, is working today. Show us your home office! We’re sharing sneak peeks of our current WFH office space. To participate, just post or DM us and tag @detdesigntech #workfromhome and we’ll share yours too.