Working from home is no longer something people dream of. The amount of people working from home, especially designers, is increasing rapidly. This week we’re breaking down the stats and trends and then sharing tips and tricks for thriving in work from home graphic design jobs.
Working From Home: By The Numbers
- One in five Americans works from home at least once a week. That’s 30 million Americans! (Forbes)
- In the next five years, the number of Americans working remotely at least once a week is expected to increase by 63%. (Telework Research Network)
- About 3 million Americans work exclusively from home and are thrilled to do so. (Forbes) It could be that they save $1,600 to $6,800 a year and 360 hours (that’s 15 days!) commuting. 47% of those who can work remotely report being “very satisfied” with their jobs while only 23% those who are assigned to an office report the same job satisfaction level. But it’s not just good for them.
- Telework reports that an employee who works from home 20 hours a week saves $10,000 per year. Employers cite benefits like “increased productivity, reduced facility costs, lowered absenteeism, and reduced turnover.” Remote workers are more likely to work when sick and put in a longer day thanks to only having to commute from one side of their home office door to the other.
Design is a career that sees many remote workers either because they are freelancing or working for companies that are picking talent from around the nation. But that doesn’t mean working from home is easy. Here’s our tips and tricks for conquering work from home graphic design jobs to grow your career.
Tips & Tricks for Working from Home
Working from home brings about images of waking when it feels naturally and enjoying coffee on the deck before tucking into work. And it can be that, but it also requires tremendous discipline and realistic expectations. Here’s how to make it work.
While your routine doesn’t have to include rushing around your house only to sit in traffic, you should have a set routine. If you’re telecommuting or teleworking - where you have to sign on for a typical work day, this is easy. If you’re freelancing or consulting and just have to get your work down you can totally take advantage of two o’clock at the gym when no one is there, but make sure that you actually schedule it.
Come up with a morning routine that kicks in upon waking and includes a clear delineation between home and work. Many at home workers transition by reviewing their priorities. Always schedule time first thing in your week to make a list of calls, communications and deadlines and sketch when you’re going to work on what. Schedule things like errands and times at the gym and keep them regular.
A Space With A Door
Repeat after us: you still need an office. And one with a door. That can mean a desk in your bedroom or the guest room, but you must have a dedicated space in your home where you work. Privately. Plopping on the couch in front of the TV is great for scrolling through and answering quick emails in the evening, but it’s not good for productivity.
Whether you have children, roommates or a live-in significant other they must understand that when you are working, you are working. That can mean when you are in your space, or when the door of your space is closed. Don’t get lazy about enforcing this or your work will suffer. For a freelancer working remotely this can mean losing clients.
Setting “office hours” is never a bad idea - times when you’re available for client calls. If you like to go to the gym from 2-3 tell clients you’re not available for calls from 1:30-3:30. Or when someone asks for a meeting during that time simply say, “I’m not available Tueday at 2, how about 4?”
Learn Your Rhythms
If you work best from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. and then don’t get your second wind until 8 p.m., schedule your work times around this. One of the reasons 9-5 workers aren’t happy is it’s impossible to be productive for a solid eight hour block. We spoke to a graphic designer working from home who said she gets up at 4:30 naturally, makes the bed, takes care of her dogs and then starts working by 5:15. At ten every morning she sets out for a run, comes home, showers and then works again for two hours before stopping to take care of errands and chores. She works again around 5 pm before eating dinner around 7. She is more productive now than when she went to a co-working space from 9-5 daily. Do what works.
Take Care of Yourself
Working from home can be terrible for your health. Make sure to get up and walk around throughout the day, drink water, and learn when to turn it off. It can be easy to work all the time. It can also be easy to get lazy. You’re saving money by working remotely - consider a gym membership, yoga class, or new pair of hiking boots as an investment.
Manners Maketh Man
Some designers who work remotely we spoke to said they love working at home because they don’t have to deal with people. These same professionals said that they recognize this can be detrimental - we all need human interaction. Make a standing date night, happy hour with friends, or join a local club or meetup. Connection is important - and not just the one you have with your dog.
Have you considered working remotely? What’s your biggest worry? If you are an experienced at home worker, what’s the best advice you can give?