Killer Tools for Designers Working from Home
Working from home creates a unique set of challenges for professionals from a variety of fields. Everyone from developers, programmers, writers, even marketing and sales teams have had to learn new ways to do ordinary work. Collaborating and managing projects, sharing ideas, meeting deadlines, and giving feedback all take on a different form when working from home.
While there’s no shortage of tools out there (and increased demand has driven the emergence of new tools and the widespread adoption of solutions previously used by only a few working professionals), it can be daunting to figure out where to begin, especially for creative professionals.
Designers, in particular, must collaborate constantly with their clients, revising drafts and communicating back and forth to deliver a polished product that not only meets the clients’ expectations but reflects the personal style of the designer as well. It’s a difficult balance to strike even under normal circumstances—so working from home can be especially challenging for many creative professionals.
While the majority of creative design work can be done from anywhere, there are still numerous benefits to working in an office. For one thing, you can collaborate and work together with other professionals in your field. You have more access to valuable resources and technological equipment you might not be able to afford on your own. And if you ever need help or a recommendation, it’s as simple as turning to the people sitting around you and asking.
Apart from the tools and conveniences of the workplace, just having a dedicated space that you enter and exit every day helps you keep a healthy separation between home life and work life. So when it’s time to work from home, creative professionals often struggle with blurring the line between the two.
We’re here to help! Here are some ways artists and designers can work from home productively and effectively.
1. Allocate a space for work
This is super important! There’s no better way to get into that working mindset than to actually dedicate a space in your home specifically for work. It’ll help you stay focused on the task at hand if you physically place yourself in a dedicated workspace even if it’s quite small. Work with whatever space you have, and check out our handy guide on how to carve out a workspace in a small home or apartment.
Apart from allocating a physical space, it’s important for everyone you live with to understand that this is your workspace and that you are still operating under working hours and should, therefore, be allowed to do your work undisturbed. Set boundaries so that you can truly relax when you’re not working and enjoy the company of those around you.
2. Use online tools for collaboration and communication
Trello - This is a great general-purpose tool for project management and team collaboration. Set tasks, see what everyone else is working on, and stay coordinated with different teams in a visually-driven board comprised of different “cards.” There’s a slight learning curve at first, but this feature-packed tool could transform the way your team manages projects, even while working together in an office.
Slack - A great communication tool, perfect for keeping track of chats with different teams and for different purposes when everyone is working remotely. You can easily share files and collaborate on projects using this tool, and best of all, it supports plugins from other useful work tools like Trello and Google Drive.
Invision - This tool works particularly well with Trello and is more specifically suited for design teams to work on projects together. A “whiteboard” style comments tool is especially useful for real-time collaboration. Use it in tandem with Trello and Slack for a trio of powerful communication tools suitable for any purpose.
Zoom - While most people have tried this tool by now, its usefulness for video conferencing and team meetings is becoming more and more appreciated by working professionals everywhere. It’s the best available replacement for the dynamics of a physical team meeting, with the added bonuses of screen sharing so you can easily share files, show pictures and videos, and give presentations to your team.
3. Get the physical tools you need
Ergonomic office furniture is a must for creative professionals who spend hours a day on their computers and tablets. Consider an affordable but quality ergonomic office chair like the ErgoChair 2 from Autonomous, or splurge a little bit more on their latest offering, the Kinn Chair.
A standing desk may be especially useful to creatives who like to change things up and get a little energy boost throughout the day. There are many affordable options out there for creating a small stand for your laptop, however, creative professionals typically need a larger desktop surface and use more tools than just a computer. A height-adjustable desk like the SmartDesk 2 Premium is a sturdy, long-term investment perfect for any designer or artist coming to terms with the reality that working from home may, in fact, become the new normal.
Everyone faces unique challenges when they work from home. Fortunately, for artists and designers, there have never been more creative and collaborative tools to help you do your very best work from home. For our readers who work in a creative field, what are some of your must-have work from home tools? Share with us in the comments below!
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