For the last year and a half, working from home has been a necessity rather than a choice. And before that, it was usually the other way around: not many employers offered a WFH option. Now, at the tail end of 2021, when our whole team is vaccinated and feeling more comfortable being out in the world again, we’re faced with a choice. Should you return to the office or work from home? We think we’ve discovered the best option for us: choice.
Before we get to our solution, let’s explain why we’ve opted to embrace both working styles by having a quick run through the pros of each.
Work From Home
- Home comforts: Let’s face it, no matter how nice your office is, it won’t be as comfy as your home. Being able to wear whatever you want with a big mug of tea and walk to the kitchen for a snack is a big (though maybe dangerous) benefit!
- Flexibility: we’ve all been there. Your boiler/internet/[insert broken thing] is being repaired, and they’ve given you a 22-hour window to wait around for them to show up.
- You can’t beat the commute. No matter how close you live to work, it’s less of a strain on your time and the environment to work from home.
- Collaboration: As a creative industry, we thrive on bouncing ideas around and getting instant feedback on a concept, something that is much easier in an office environment. While there are helpful tools such as virtual whiteboards, they’re just not the same. Also, troubleshooting a technical issue is much easier when you’re not waiting for file transfers between people.
- Communication: It may be no surprise that we’re quite visual people. We like to act out movements, quickly sketch out ideas on scrap paper, or just gesticulate wildly when we talk. While some of this can be captured over a webcam, it’s just not the same.
- Feels like work: This one is a bit less quantifiable, but there’s something to be said for having less homely distractions and the routine of getting to work and settling in for the day ahead.
So, our solution has been to embrace both options. By combining their benefits, we found that all of the negative aspects of each were negated too! Working from home full time can be lonely, but working full time in the office can be exhausting. Combining the two, for the most part, cancels out the problems.
We’ve settled on a loose and flexible routine of setting Monday and Friday as work from home days and the rest of the week as office days. We’ve found this split gives a comfortable ease in and ease out (that’s an animation pun, by the way) to the week and removes any midweek fatigue, making our office time more productive than before.
To make this work long-term and get the most out of each, there are a few things that were considered and put into place:
- Flexibility is key. Our WFH Sandwich (should we trademark this?) is what works best for us on average, but it’s no problem for WFH days to be switched around, added, or removed. For those with young children or limited space, working from home may not be convenient, so keeping the office available to those who need it is important too.
- A reliable and convenient file sharing system is also an invaluable tool to ensure a seamless transition between workspaces. We use a Network Accessed Storage (NAS) drive to connect all of our office workstations while also allowing for remote access from a browser portal.
- making sure that home workstations are comfortable and capable. Many of the benefits of working from home will soon disappear if your home workstation is uncomfortable or underpowered, so making sure that everyone has the necessary equipment is crucial.
We’d love to hear what solutions other people have found work for them. Where do you stand on working from home vs. in the office?