The glory of working from home, revealed

As our teams in Melbourne head into another six weeks of working from home, we shine a light on how they’re making all sorts of creative spaces work for them.

Grace O'Hara
July 8, 2020
Blog

First, let’s introduce some of our wonderful team.

Meet Rob ☕

👋 Hi — I’m Rob. Officially I’m a General Manager. Unofficially I’m a word smith, business builder and hype man. Working from home is just me and my laptop on the living room dining table! I love that it’s in an open living space, but it’s dangerously close to the fridge.

Meet Mac — and Cooper! 🐶

👋 I’m Mac — Officially a Director, and unofficially the GSD guy 🕺 My setup is in our upstairs rumpus room. It got a bit cluttered the first two weeks because we weren’t sure if working from home would become the norm.
Since April though I’ve been making sure to keep the space tidy and organised once I’m done with work on a daily basis. The only thing that used to be bothersome at times was the fact that there are no doors to block noise from downstairs. A pair of good headphones fixed that issue. What brings me joy is the natural light I get all day, even on rainy days like today, it’s still heaps bright!

Meet Daniel 🌱

👋 I’m Daniel — a Product Management Coach with Beaker & Flint.
I’m currently working in the lounge room with a view of the trees across the road. It feels airy and open which I love. In the afternoons, the sun shines through and boils up my spot! I shifted from the office, because I felt so closed off in there.

Meet Ben 🧩

👋 I’m Ben — Founder & Chief Video Taker for The Lab Book and Beaker & Flint. Before all of this, at the start of the year I made a New Years resolution not to work from home anymore. I’d been a bit of a Workaholic and I thought making some space between work and home would be a positive move. So I got rid of my nice desk and now my working from home nook is any flat surface I can find.

👋 I’m Grace — unofficial tinkerer of processes and conversations. It’s literally a tiny desk built into my hallway, and it doesn’t get a lot of natural light so I call it (lovingly) a dungeon. It’s a bit cramped but has everything I need, except for a proper back-supporty chair. It’s a good excuse to get up and stretch. I try and surround myself with plants, good music and tea at all hours of the day, that’s my happy place.

What’ve you learned about working from home?

  • Rob: Flexibility — working your own schedule and by your own rules is a great freedom.
  • Mac: Oh there are heaps of learnings. My favourite is making phone calls while walking around the block, I get closer to my step goal when I do that!
  • Dan: I’ve learnt to relax about not knowing everything that’s happening (I miss those face to face interactions and also just passively absorbing information like you do in the office).
I have been relying heavily on updating common areas of online information and structuring it to support our purpose which is working well.
  • Ben: I’ve learnt that I talk really loudly! It wasn’t until 3–4 weeks in where I realised my partner had essentially been in every meeting I’d had for several weeks (I now talk a little quieter). I’ve also learnt how to embrace programs like Miro to work more collaboratively when you can’t use whiteboards or Post It notes.
  • Grace: In a similar vein to Ben, I’ve learnt that two people working from home in an apartment requires communication about when we’re having meetings! And that my partner and I both have loud phone voices. It’s requires a lot of muting and unmuting.

Our tools of the trade: from left to right, Grace, Dan, Rob, Ben & Mac 📗💻

What gets you through the day?

  • Mac: My Airpods are probably the best tech investment I ever made. My favourite thing about them is that the microphone only picks up my voice and not the background noise since my desk is in an open area.
  • Dan: Love my uniball (eye) pen. It’s smooth. My moleskin diary is the spot I store everything that my brain will forget and I know is important. Burts bees. Cause it’s awesome. Bose headphones to cancel out all that noise… And that coffee cup, for the authentic cafe experience right in the safety of my own home.
  • Grace: I’m the kind of person that loves to juggle a lot and write physical lists. So a good notebook and colour-coded pens are essential! I’ve also completely embraced wearing my grandpa-slippers on a regular basis.

Will you go back to working from an office, when you’re allowed?

  • Rob: I’ll do a mixture of both — I miss catching up with the team in real life.
  • Mac: I think I’ll keep it flexible week to week. I love going into the office and walking around the city during breaks. At the same time working from home has been convenient; avoiding 2hours of commute daily. Every Friday, I plan my following week and for example, there are certain meetings I want to have in-person, and sometimes a quick video chat will do. I believe we need to talk about this more with people we work with so we respect everyone’s preferences.
  • Dan: I plan to do a mix of both if it works.
  • Ben: 100% going back to the office. Home is for switching off, work is for work. That said, I think I will work more remotely. So embracing coffee shops, hot desking and working from other states and countries.
  • Grace: Probably a mix of both. It’s been nice and extremely focused working from home, but I miss people!

Final words, or words of wisdom?

  • Rob: Embrace it — it’s the future!
  • Mac: Two things about treating work from home the same as going to the office. One, make sure you’re presentable and turn on your camera. It is very disrespectful when people avoid turning their camera on for whatever reason (slow internet is an excuse, everyone has 4G on their phones now).

Two, your environment influences how you behave and you’re in full control of your home, so design it so that it’s helping you be your best — no excuses!

  • Dan: It’s wild how it pretty much feels normal now!
  • Grace: Find what works for you, and use routine to keep your mental health in a good place. I’m happiest in nature, and know a good walk will always boost me up, even when it’s cold outside and I don’t want to!
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