Over the past 16 months, a huge shift in work culture occurred to me and many others across the world. Till now, my palatial workplace—SystemSpecs—remains devoid of major human presence as employees work remotely from different locations. Creative Designers like me also adapted. Clearly, the scale of this shift was unprecedented and ushered me into new ways of getting the job done.
But before writing this piece, I asked myself: Do I ever want to work in my VI office again? Would I want anything to take away remote work from me? My answers are in this piece…
The switch to full remote work was not on a platter of gold. The first few months were quite difficult as I had to consciously put in extra efforts to justify my working hours. This was particularly because working from home then, even for 8 hours, felt like just two hours.
As a designer, it is important to make people see the value you bring especially in a tech firm like mine. Your work needs to speak for you – this led to what I might describe as a “crisis point”, as I forgot completely about work-life balance while I put in the time to get tasks done.
At some point during the transition, almost every team had a need for some form of visual communication intended for internal and external stakeholders. Hence, the Brands and Marketing team, to which I belong, was vital in this process. Making this ‘new normal’ work for me required some efforts. One of this work was to mentally separate home from office even though both were in the same location.
While on this journey, I had some major challenges but this is how I tackled them:
- Communication: To start with, I had to communicate effectively with my Team Lead. This was essential in the adaptation process. I had to be clear on what my challenges were and how they would affect the delivery of the tasks assigned to me. Together, we came to an understanding and KPIs were redefined to help track my successes while working from home. It was also important to put my team members in the loop especially in terms of expectation management.
- Workspace: For the sake of my health, I got a workspace. From experience, I would advise others not to use their couch, bed or car as one! I got myself a proper table, chair and lamp. I also had my resumption and closing time because I needed some time for other aspects of my life aside work.
- Internet + Backup (incase): This was one of the most important needs to efficiently work from home. A bad internet connectivity would mess your day up! With almost everything happening online, from meetings to task reviews and tracking, to team work, you need to be online always. Knowing how reliable (make that the opposite) many ISPs, I ensured I got backup – and even in some instanced, I backed up the backup.
- Abundant supply of healthy snacks to munch: Now that I couldn’t go to the cafeteria, I needed my mini cafeteria. Going to the kitchen now and then wasn’t always possible so I had to set up my mini snacks “joint”.
In addition to these, Google Calendar, Teams, and WhatsApp were my close pals. WFH requires you to prepare for meetings and stay in touch with others. For someone like me who was terrible with picking or making phone calls, I had to adjust during this period. Text messages or chats was the best for me but if I miss a call, I returned it immediately.
Eventually, I came to the subtle conclusion that the remote work was meant for me. Do I miss the office banters? Yes! I miss the strategy sessions with Mr. ‘Deremi, where we scatter and realign. After such meetings, you decide to either leave with a smile or a “strong face.” Your choice!
I miss the gym! Ah, Mr. Bolaji, Lekan Adeboye and Egbon Kunle, my rivals on the tennis table.
Also, the remote life got better when I got a new work tool (a MacBook Pro).
There is still a lot of growth and learning to do. Working remotely has its cons. You need to know how to impart value and excellence. It might be challenging but we can all get a hang of it if we decide to go the extra mile.
Above all, prioritising my mental health was key. Need I add that working in Brands and Marketing in SystemSpecs is the one of the best things that could happen to anyone? My team is amazing and they come through always both for personal and work-related issues.
So do I want to resume working in an office? I bet you know the answer.
Je ne pense pas (LOL).