For our team, we’ve long passed the one year anniversary of becoming a primarily work-from-home company. An anniversary which none of us initially expected to commemorate. Like many, we had to pivot quickly into a remote team, unsure of just how long it would last. We improvised to the cascading changes that altered how we work and create. What was initially assumed to be a short-term situation ultimately became a perennial interweaving of work and home life. 

While we’ve been able to adapt, it’s not been without a mixed bag of benefits complemented with growing pains.

We asked our team to reflect on the past year and half of change, to consider the benefits, surprises, and potential obstacles we can still improve on.

What do we like better about WFH?

A benefit our team discovered right off the bat was greater autonomy in our personal workspaces. Having an entire room instead of just a desk allowed us to better design our space to suit our unique productivity needs. Whether it was furniture to make us feel comfortable, decor to help us feel creative, or just a silent room for a meeting that could’ve proved tricky in an open office, we were able to better control our work areas without encroaching on others’ workflows. 

We could better design our time as well. Mornings became less stressful without a commute, daily breaks became an opportunity to get to an errand or chore we otherwise wouldn’t be able to at the office.

We suddenly had more time to spend with our partners, children, and pets. Having more time for our loved ones was a big benefit for our team. Particularly during a time we were all experiencing a large emotional toll from navigating a worldwide pandemic and uncertain future. 

What do we miss From Office Life?

We all tended to miss the spontaneity and creative energy of in-person workplaces at times. We’re a small team, in the past we collectively grabbed lunch together more often than not. This was a time to catch up, unwind and maybe play a board game. We haven’t been able to quite recreate this via Zoom (but we’ve tried). Though now as it’s getting safer to do so, we’re starting to schedule more in-person friendly get-togethers and time to catch up.

We at times miss the buzz of being around other workers and creators. Especially on days when we’re running a little dry on creative drive. The first months of working from home definitely stirred some cabin fever, and sometimes it proved hard to focus without teammates around to lift us up.

What’s Been the Biggest Pain About WFH?

A common thread of trouble for our team is tech issues. At-home internet can’t always be relied upon, and when it goes down it can really throw a wrench in your day. Particularly when dealing with a looming deadline or an upcoming meeting. For our designers, access to high-quality printing has proven tricky at times too. Our production work often requires thorough proofing, which can be tough without a good quality printer.

Since we had to quickly pivot to being at-home, many of us didn’t have dedicated work spaces in our homes and apartments. Living rooms became offices, guest bedrooms became remote conference rooms.

Blurring the line between domestic and work life wasn’t without its issues either. It could be hard to mediate when we were “on” for work or off-the-clock for our families. With that, it could be difficult to balance responsibilities to our partners and children, and the work needs that needed to be addressed for the day.

Looking to the Future

We don’t have any plans to change our WFH model any time soon. We still provide the same office space, with all the same amenities, but there’s no mandatory office days, or hybrid work models. Our team has proven that we can be just as efficient with or without an office. We still plan friendly in-person lunches and celebrations with one another. We have regular virtual meetings to catch up on everyone’s work progress and at-home happenings.

We’ll continue to make it easy for our team to use the office when they need to, and feel supported when they’re having a workday at home. 

Ethan Wooldridge, illustration by Elizabeth Hall for Mediocre Creative

Ethan specializes in illustration, branding, and digital design. He helps clients build and design brand identities, create collateral, functional websites and everything in between.

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