Having worked as a freelancer on and off all my working life, I didn’t think working from home would prove a problem for me during this Coronavirus crisis. It’s something I’m used to and I’ve always enjoyed the peace and quiet and the joy of just being able to get on with designing without interruptions.
However, with the Coronavirus crisis, working from home in my current role as Design Studio Manager at Design Solutions, and supporting the team has been another ball game, particularly from a ‘techie’ point of view. We’re all having to log into our remote server via the VPN and into a remote desktop to access our print management system. With dodgy or slow broadband connections this has been quite a pain and I for one have resorted to copying files on to my desktop and disconnecting from the server whenever I can.
I am now presented with a whole host of possibilities for connecting with my team, be it via Google Hangouts, Slack or Zoom. The technology and the variety of choice is incredible and I’m very grateful for it. The constant pings from Google Hangouts as the team chat and banter with each other, interspersed with serious comments or questions about current jobs, replaces the chatter of the office.
I’m slowly getting used to virtual meetings and waiting for the slight delay and the frequent buzzing interference in my ear. We’ve also all enjoyed having a ‘nosey’ at each other’s working spaces and admiring pets/artwork on walls/children/interesting work attire etc. (Though I have to say I haven’t yet spotted anyone in their PJs!).
Inevitably we’re much quieter in terms of projects as so many events have sadly been cancelled. However, we are gradually getting used to the slower pace and on the plus side I’m finding we’re discussing and collaborating more. Actually, it’s quite refreshing to have a bit more time to work on the designs without those impossible deadlines we normally have to adhere to.
My iMac isn’t happy though. She says “you’ve got to be joking expecting me to be on Gmail, Hangouts, Zoom, Slack, VPN, Remote Desktop, Creative Clouds, etc, etc. Are you having a laugh, give me a break!” And promptly gives up the ghost. This invariably happens when I’m in the middle of a virtual meeting and in mid flow. Hey ho. (Note I’ve just signed up for a faster Broadband package, can’t wait!).
On top of this I now have all my children home – two university students and one A’ level student, as well as my husband working from home – all hogging the broadband with their numerous gadgets, music blaring and the inevitable chatter, laughter and general happy youthful noise pervading the house. It’s lovely though, and I just hope we can all stay healthy and find a way through these unusual and worrying times.
(Cartoon by our in-house illustrator Jon Starkey)