Working From Home Diaries
This month, we thought we would share with you our thoughts about working from home as we start our third month of remote working. Here’s how each member has found it so far.
Digital Marketing Executive
Working from home took a bit of getting used to but I’m definitely into the swing of things now. However, I do miss the office environment and the ease of being able to ask questions, discuss projects and just chat with people in the same room. Things like Slack and our regular Zoom calls have definitely helped though. In May I went on furlough, and I quickly realised that I needed to maintain a routine to keep sane! I’ve been completing a lot of online courses to broaden my marketing skills and working my way through my big reading pile.
I am enjoying working from home, nobody notices when I rock up late and Joe can’t tap me on the shoulder. Missing stand up cakes and not staring at the same wall all day (and obviously the team). The above photos are of my normal setup and the standing desk for when the sun comes out!
It’s hard to remember now life before the lockdown, there has been more time for work without the travelling into Bristol and also into London. We’ve made an office out of our kids’ wendy house, who has become a cosy, if not roasting place to work! Once we adjusted to meetings on Zoom, we have found them to be very efficient, and I think we’re turning work around faster for clients, without waiting to schedule face to face meetings. Undoubtedly this will become more normal even when we’re back in the studio, but I am very much missing face to face work with the whole team, as well as visiting clients. It will be interesting to meet so many clients that we have begun working with since locked down, when we can finally meet in person!
This is my home set up so I can work on both Windows and Mac projects.. During the lockdown, I have missed the face to face contact, and there are too many snacks around. 🙂 Whilst I was on furlough, I have enjoyed learning Umbraco CMS, and I have made much more use of the time I have saved travelling to and from work. I’m happy to be off furlough now and working back with the team again.
Digital Marketing Content Lead
Working from home has meant having to adapt in lots of different ways, but overall it’s been a really positive experience – getting to know our clients in a different way as we all work together in unprecedented times. I’ve also got to know the neighbours and my community much more. I didn’t know anyone on the street before lockdown and now we all talk regularly. I’m also enjoying my new career on the side as resident barber. Fingers crossed for my boyfriend that the messy mullet’s making a comeback.
Digital Marketing Technical Lead
My favourite part of working from home has been being able to have full control of the office music choices. I do miss my screens though – it has been a challenge going from three to one. When I haven’t been working I’ve been using the increased indoors time to play the guitar and piano and to keep up to date with the latest development trends and news.
Working from home during the lockdown hasn’t been too difficult for me. It took me a few weeks to get into the swing of things and figure out how to adapt to working outside the studio, but now I feel like i’m working just as well as I would be normally. Luckily, I had a spare room set up as a separate working space already, so the transition was relatively quick, and I’ve had a nice comfortable place to work from. WFH Pros – Having more time in the mornings & evenings as I don’t have a 40 min walk to and from the studio – My boyfriend has been furloughed, so he makes breakfast & lunch and endless coffee for me WFH Cons – Communicating smaller bits of information can sometimes take a bit longer, as usually we can just turn around and talk to someone in the studio
Pro’s: – How quickly and efficiently the team have adapted to the ‘new’ normal, everyone has given 100%! – No commuting time, usually I spend on avg 2 hours a day in the car, I now either have that time back for myself or work longer hours – I have been able to take advantage of being at home and getting out on the bike during the week, especially with the longer daylight hours – I really appreciate still having the opportunity to work a ‘new’ normal week and interact with our clients who have continued to provide opportunities for us to support them – Despite the current climate there has been some new and exciting opportunities for the business Con’s: – Missing the office camaraderie and banter of the team sat in the Fanatic Loft – There’s a lack of variety through the week – no visits to meet clients, no clients visiting the loft and we have new clients that we have not met in person yet – I have noticed that my commute would provide me opportunity to get into a work mindset on the way in, thinking about the days objectives etc, I have also needed to find a replacement for the drive home which would also give me a chance to switch off before walking though the front door
I can’t believe it has been over two months since we were last working in the office. I really miss the studio environment, we have exchanged our light and airy space for our kids’ wendy house, which was freezing when we first started in lockdown and now it had become more like a sauna in this lovely sunshine! I’m enjoying spending more time with our family as there’s no taxiing to and from clubs, instead we’re using this time to go on walks and bike rides and discovering new places right on our door step. Hopefully this will become part of our new “norm” post lockdown too, with less resistance from the kids than previously! Home-schooling three has been a challenge whilst working but we’ve managed to find a routine that works for us, and X Box has been very helpful too! I’m looking forward to being back in the office together as a team, whenever this will be but as Fanatic is still smashing out great work and making clients happy we don’t need to hurry back and can decide when it is right for us to make that move.
Digital Marketing Lead
It has certainly been a an interesting transition to adapt to working from home. The pros have been the ability to work in my pyjamas and test out a range of facial hair designs. My main con is loosing the collaboration we enjoy in the studio. I’m normally not sat at my desk for too long before I’m off to chat to someone in the Studio about a project or new piece of work. Being able to chat to so many different people with such a wealth of knowledge is fantastic and not as easy to achieve over IM or calls. Zoom conference calls also take getting used to, making sure we don’t speak over each other or being able to show off our doodle brain dump of ideas. Being a very face to face company I’m used to regular face to face time with not just the team but also clients. But my new windowsill garden has certainly helped, giving me a bit of green in a top floor flat!
Working from home has been a mix of emotions, on the one hand it’s nice to not have to commute in traffic everyday, but on the other hand I do miss the team and the studio space. I have managed to nab my Mac and most of my workstation from the studio to make it a little more familiar. Although I don’t have the team around I do end up sharing my work area, with my girlfriend who’s doing a degree at the moment, it’s bit annoying when we both have meetings and conferences throughout the day, but we manage! The only other thing that’s new really is that I’m growing a pathetic excuse of a beard…
Furlough has been interesting to say the least. I think it’s a real test on your mental character and it’s interesting to see how others react to it. For me personally is it not too dissimilar to playing Sport for a living and not knowing where you’re going or doing year to year. So I think some people really struggle with the ‘not part of the plan’ aspect of this whole situation. Aside from that, I moved into a new room which is massive so I’ve decorated that. Also, I’ve continued doing my prints which have come out great. Finally exercising (skating, cycling, and golfing) and seeing friends. Most of all enjoy this time as it’s been decent weather and cross my fingers so I can travel soon. France is calling my name!
Senior Graphic Designer
You could say that being furloughed is like being on a paid holiday. You now have all the time to do things, that you’ve said that you never had the time for and with lockdown limiting the distractions – I, like many others had grand ideas of being really productive and achieving a list of things. I can’t say that it’s been bad at all, I’ve devoured the numerous bakes that have filled my flat with defocus smells, some of my favourites were the coffee and walnut cake, Victoria sponge, carrot cake and the banana bread, all gluten-free of course.
I even purchased an Xbox at the beginning of lockdown, although that’s had a negative effect of my productivity, but did increase my eye to hand co-ordination. We are also fortunate to live on the harbourside with a large balcony and as the weathers been pleasant I have enjoyed sitting out in the sun reading, drawing and enjoying a few glasses, as well as enjoying our daily stroll around the floating harbour. The free time has enabled me to finally sort through thousands of our photos from our travels and brush up on my Adobe Premiere Pro skills by making travel videos. I have also kept up designing random things for my own enjoyment, although I always seem to struggle without a real brief, I get lost and distracted with all the ideas that fill my head, which eventually leads to nothing getting finished. However I (personally) feel that everything hasn’t been as great as people would expect with this “freedom” that i’ve gained. I miss the routine / structure – my wife works during the week at Bristol Children’s hospital, this leaves me in our flat on my own to do as I wish, which after catching up on the news and having a coffee, it can be hard to motivate yourself and i haven’t achieved half as much as i would have liked. I miss being part of a team in a creative studio, socialising, talking about work, wrapping my head around a brief and the enjoyment that comes with smahing the project out! I miss all the banter that comes with all that. The whole Coronavirus has put life on hold for everyone, all our plans for the future that we’ve discussed are now re-discussed on a daily basis with no final outcome as everything is up in the air. The scheme has been great for businesses and it was good to hear that there’s possibilities of being able to ease back into work with part time working becoming an option. The last few months have flown by and I’d feel bad saying they have been lost months; however, this is how it can sometimes feel. I can’t wait until we can all start getting our lives and businesses back on track.
New Team member – Phillip Joins our Development Team
Last month, we recruited another expert to join us at Fanatic. Phillip is a .net programmer and is supporting us with Umbraco and bespoke.net applications and has already made an impact and helped us to progress several technical projects. It’s been interesting having had a new member of the team having never met face to face but Phillip has fitted in really well and we are pleased he is part of the team. We’re looking forward to getting back to the studio to finally meet in person! We asked Phillip a few questions to find out how he has found starting with us.
1) How have you found starting a new job during this lockdown period when we are all working from home?
Starting work has definitely been less stressful than I initially thought it would be. My co-worker James has been great to work with and, whilst I know it is pretty strange to be thrilled at the prospect of work meetings,the bi-weekly zoom meetings have been a pretty nice source of human interaction.
2) What have you found to be the most challenging and enjoyable part of lockdown
I think the most challenging thing about lockdown is trying to find some activity which occupies your brain so you don’t feel like a slug hiding in a hole for 7+ months. I tried and failed at learning Italian with one of those audiobooks and I learned how to say “How much is that?” but stopped before he got to the numbers so I wouldn’t understand the response. For me, the main pro of lockdown is that it allows you to walk down the middle of deserted roads like you are living in a western.
3) What do you like about being a .net programmer?
I like the amount of creative freedom which .Net development gives you. You can pretty much code what you like on it and it is rarely over complicated like some other languages.
4) What were you doing before joining Fanatic?
Before Fanatic, I was working at another digital agency and developing sites with a friend who is also a programmer.
5) What do you like doing outside of work?
This is potentially the most Bristolian answer I could give but, outside of work, I like to go climbing at The Bloc. I am not the most athletic person in the world, so I like how uncompetitive it is and the climbing centre looks a bit like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory, which is a major plus.
6) Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
An interesting fact about me is that I was on a competitive cooking TV programme on Channel 4 at one point, despite being unable to cook in any capacity. I won’t tell you when it aired or what it was called because it is too embarrassing so you will just have to take me at my word.