10 tips on remote work which will help to survive the quarantine
In unprecedented times, more people than ever before are working remotely. We take a look at the strategies you can use to maximise efficiency and prevent burnout, and take a positive look at how you can come through this a better artist.
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the rules of the game. Many industries are affected by the global situation, including CGI production. Movie releases are getting delayed, advertising companies are freezing all their projects, people are getting fired or sent home for remote work. We asked artists from Mondlicht Studios to share some tips, which will help to deal with the situation and even get some profit out of it.
Stick to the schedule
There is a popular belief that freelancers have a very flexible schedule, and can allow themselves to get up as late as they wish and adjust working hours to their taste. It’s partly true. However, if you ask successful freelancers whether they are getting up at midday after a relaxing 10-hours sleep, the answer will be “no.”
Following the schedule helps you solve two main problems remote workers usually face: unplugging after work and organizing your workflow. If you don’t organize your remote work, it would be incredibly hard to unplug and rest, which inevitably leads to burnout and depression.
“When you are working in a studio, any time-management problems are leveled by the team and skilled producer. But if you have started remote work, time-management and self-organizational skills come to the fore. If you fail, it will affect the timing of the project and money loss. If you understand that you can’t deal with the remote work, it’s time to start working on your time-management skills. Start small and organize your day: you should perfectly understand what things you have to do today and how much time you’re going to spend on every task."
- Vitaliy Yakin
One of the latest projects in Vitaliys´ portfolio
The schedule is the first step to avoid overworking. However, even if you are incredibly organized there is a big chance you could not resist the temptation to work a couple of hours more (and then a little bit more). There is nothing wrong if you need to work with a very strict deadline, but it becomes a real problem if overworking becomes a routine.
There are some tips which allow you to divide your working and personal hours. First of all, set appointments on your calendar for the end of the day. After a couple of hours outside of the monitor, you will think twice before getting back. During the quarantine, we can’t visit a gym or cinema with friends, but we can start practicing physical exercise every evening. This easy solution will help you to plug out at the right time and also strengthen your body.
“Yes, every artist tends to be absorbed by his work, especially if a project is very inspiring. But it’s vital to understand the limits of your body. If you overwork too often, our organism will finally answer back. If you want to keep your productivity and avoid burnout, you’d better pay more attention to the amount of hours you work.”
- David Schäfer
Focus on time-management
If you have never had a freelance experience, you’ll soon find out that managing your work is hard enough. Thinking about hours you have instead of wasting your time on the road, you’ll plan a lot of useful things. But at some point, you’ll find yourself staring at the endless to-do list and having no idea where to start.
There are many books on time-management, so we are pretty sure that you’ll find a system that fits your lifestyle the best. However, there are basic rules in each of them. You can start practicing right now to make your life a little bit easier. First of all, understand what things are the most important and should be done today. Also, limit the number of tasks you want to do during the day. Finally, get an understanding of where you spend your time. For this, you can start a diary or install some time-tracking tools on your computer.
“When you are a full-time employee, you just need to focus on your hard skills and provide the result in time. But when you are a freelancer, you get way more things to do, including paperwork and self-promotion. To deal with everything, you need to have excellent time-management skills. My recipe: get up early, focus on the most important things, and don’t forget to plug out.”
- Dmitriy Glazyrin
Avoid distraction at home while you are working
We can be very conscientious and take control of our lives – not to waste time on favorite TV-series and social media, but there are way more difficult things to control. For example, your family and pets. How to explain to your kids that if they see you, it doesn’t mean they can play with you?
First of all, you should accept that there will always be some distractions. However, you may control the majority of them. Be open to your family and invest some time in explaining the situation. Great idea – to schedule your family time. In this case, kids will know that every day you’ll have a couple of hours to play with them. After all, you have more time now, why not invest it in your family?
“A very smart thing to do is to create a working space. There should be a small corner in your house, where nobody will distract you. Talk to your family and explain that when you are at this place, you are at work. This will help to minimize the amount of interference while you are working and improve your organizational skills.”
- Vitaliy Yakin
The latest projects created by Vitaliy Yakin
Find the best way to communicate and collaborate
As a remote worker, you can forget about everyday meetings and overhead discussions. What’s more, lack of communication can easily provoke any misunderstanding, especially if the company is not used to working with a remote team on a regular basis.
There are only a few things you can do, but this is enough to make a difference and improve communication on a remote basis. Be patient – people will need time to adjust their working process to new realities. If you have an experience or a good idea – always share, people will be happy to get a piece of advice or test a new idea which can improve the process. Finally, communicate as much as you can to prevent any misunderstanding.
“Communication is the key to remote work. It’s not that hard to communicate with the client directly, but way harder to organize the group of remote workers. A lot will depend on producers and managers, who will have to adjust the working process to a new reality. However, there are a huge number of programs which could help with that. So it’s just a question of time. I recommend staying patient and positive. It will help everybody to make the process much less painful."
- Maksym Khirnyy
Find some time to chat
One more popular problem remote workers need to face is loneliness. First days you will be happy that nobody is distracting you, but in a couple of weeks, you will miss talks near the coffee machine and seeing other people around.
In times of world quarantine, you can’t just replace your work contacts in meetings with friends, so it’s time to be creative and think about transferring a working space online. We recommend not to limit yourself only with work-related discussions – share some jokes, discuss your hobbies, find new ways of connection to feel yourself a part of the community.
Another smart thing you can do – invest some time in networking. Now, when the majority of brand representatives and art directors have to stay at home, they have more time to chat. Even if now you have some problems with clients, later new connections will bring you new projects.
“Despite all the difficulties, this situation opened many new doors. If you spend the time wisely, and choose networking over Netflix, you can get a lot of new connections in the industry. The crisis will pass, but new connections will stay.”
- Dmitriy Glazyrin
Control your habits
When you can smoke a cigarette any minute, and the refrigerator is only ten steps away from your working space, it’s hard to resist the temptation. There are no secret tips which help you to take control of your habits. The only thing you really can do is to be more mindful.
If it’s too hard for you, think of your necessity to work from home as a chance to change something in life. Start exercising more often, quit smoking, cook healthier food. If you can change your mindset, you can get more profit from this situation than you thought.
“Yes, I faced some unexpected problems during the quarantine, but at the same time, I got more time for self-education and myself. This situation made me think about personal habits: I quit smoking, started to exercise more and paid more attention to what I’m doing with my body. After all, our productivity and energy depend on our everyday habits.”
- Zhanna Travkina
Celebrate your victories
All people need to get praise for good work and efficient decisions. However, there is nobody who can praise you if you are working at home all the time. Sadly, the lack of rewarding feelings leads to the lack of motivation.
To keep your motivation on top and be full of energy in spite of any difficulties, you have to celebrate your victories. Finished the project in time? Found the most efficient solution? Created a damn-good artwork? Then give yourself the reward you’ve earned!
“It’s vital to get positive feedback on what you do. This helps you to push yourself harder and stay interested in your work. It’s not that hard to establish a healthy environment in the studio, even on a remote basis. Just be open to the ideas, problems and victories of your colleagues, and find time to help them. The attentiveness and kindness will be rewarded.”
- Maksym Khirnyy
Evaluate small things
People are getting tired from a routine faster than one might think. And we are talking about everyday life full of some small events from driving to work and meeting new people at the nearby shop. When you have to sit at home almost all the time, it’s easy to become tired of routine very fast.
To avoid this, try to create some nice rituals, which will keep you inspired during the day. It could be a cup of your favorite coffee, hot tub at the end of the day, or a new book to read. Also, think about a new hobby. We are pretty sure there is something you always wanted to learn but never had time to try.
“Everything depends on your perception. And the quarantine is no exception. You can focus on how sad it is to sit at one place 24/7, or you can be happy that now you have more free time than ever. You can spend it on improving your skills, learning new software and creating personal art-project.”
- Vitaliy Yakin
Be open to the new opportunities
If you take a look at the comments of industry leaders, you’ll notice that they are trying to stay positive and get a profit from the situation. Many of them are finding the quarantine a reason to try new ways of working together. They are not trying to adjust previous ways to work. They are discovering new ones, which could be more efficient now and in future.
If you’re too worried about the situation on the market, try to change your mindset a bit. There is no way we can go back in time and prevent the outbreak of coronavirus, but we can discover new possibilities in this new era of a remote workforce.
“COVID-19 has already changed the way we work. Don’t try to fight it; this won’t help you, your studio, or the global economy. Accept the situation and think about how you can not only go through it, but live the full life in this new era of remote work. When this frightening period ends, you’ll come back a better specialist and a better person, if you spend your time wisely right now.”
- David Schäfer
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home as much as possible.