The majority of the team at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios has been busy working from home since the end of March.
For some of us, it was the first time we had worked outside of the studio and so naturally there was a period of adjustment as we got into the swing of things.
Everyone’s home and life outside of the office is different, so when it comes to working from home effectively, we’ve all got our own little tips, tricks and methods. We thought we would share these nuggets of advice with you in the hope that you may find them useful should you find yourself working remotely.
Get your set up right
If you are working full time from home, you are going to be spending a lot of time at your workstation. Its therefore crucial that you get your setup right. Adequate lighting, a comfortable seat and desk, warmth and peace and quiet are just some of the things to consider.
‘Make sure your home workstation facilitates you sitting at it for long hours. It is so important to get a good chair with lumber support so that you can maintain a healthy body position. Desk height is also important, Invest in good furniture which is adjustable to your own personal needs. Make sure your setup is comfortable and allows you to work in a healthy way’- Ryan Williams, Audio Designer at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios.
[Back in March, we asked the team to post a picture of their working from setup]
Take regular breaks
One of the most important considerations when it comes to working from home is the need to regularly take breaks.
Not only is this crucial in combatting burnout and fatigue but taking a short break from a task resets your physical and mental functional systems to their baseline, which in turn improves performance levels and helps regulate your mood.
Here’s what Jack Ryan, Junior Level Designer at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios had to say ‘I found it decreasingly likely that I would take breaks during work while working from home. Because I'm in the home environment, it feels less like being at work, so my mind disassociates, and I take less breaks. But I've found it so helpful to remind myself to get up and get some fresh air in the garden or grab a coffee for a couple of minutes away from my desk’.
Try to remain active
Pilates, Hot yoga, kettlebells, they’re all great ways to stay in shape but remaining active and getting some exercise can be as simple as going for a daily walk. When we are at home all day, we miss out on physical activity such as travelling to and from work, nipping to the shop at lunch or moving around the office. It might not sound like much, but all the steps add up, so its important to try and replace them.
Our Studio Administrator, Tracy Guy has a routine most mornings that helps her stay active and spend some quality time with her partner after he returns from nightshifts ‘I get out for a walk every day or most days, I was online at 7:15 this morning so I could go (with my phone) for a walk to Elvaston with Tony before he went to bed’.
[Tracy takes her dog Pepsi for a walk each morning to the local park]
Dig your old bike out of the garage and show it some love, getting out for a ride can also be a great way to break up the potential monotony of lockdown life whilst getting some exercise.
‘One of the lifelines I have benefitted from this year was the purchase of a humble Mountain Bike. Living in the centre of Nottingham, I am lucky enough to have easy access to the cycle paths by the side of the River Trent. Being able to cycle down the river and connecting canal tow paths has genuinely been liberating, gifting me beautiful accessible locations away from crowds of people’ – Ryan Williams, Audio Designer at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios.
[Ryan tries to get out on his mountain bike as much as possible exploring Nottingham's cycle paths]
Socialise virtually with colleagues and friends
Its commonplace to now host meetings over the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype, but one of the aspects of work life that is often overlooked - which can be easily conducted virtually - is socialising.
Our studio members have held team building activities such as quizzes and shared lunches over video calls and we even have a virtual pub channel ‘The Jolly Dambuster’ on our instant messaging service.
[The Art Team recently held a virtual quiz for their team building activity]
‘Try opening a call with the people you would normally be sitting next to or the people you would go for a tea break with and keep it open for a while, 30 minutes, an hour. This helps recreate some of the spontaneous chats and discussions that people have all the time in the office. We have been doing this since the start of lockdown and it has helped tremendously. Sometimes we discuss a problem someone is dealing with and help to solve it but often no one says anything for a while as we are all concentrating on our own work. It helps to keep people connected to the company and what’s going on. If people are too busy with other stuff or really need to concentrate, they just don’t join, or join in later’ – Andy Rayson, Lead Tools Programmer at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios.
Create a routine and stick to it
When we aren’t in the office and are working from the comfort of our own home, it can be easy to get into the habit of going to bed and getting up that bit later. The problem with this is that our brains have less time to warm up before starting work.
The piece of fruit or toast you munch whilst you are on the way to the office might also be sacrificed in favour of a few extra minutes in bed, meaning you aren’t properly fuelled for the day ahead either.
Living, sleeping, eating and working in the same space can also be difficult as the lines between work and home life can become blurred. Ryan Williams, Audio Designer at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios told us about his father in law’s colleague who implemented a ‘pretend commute’ to help combat this:
‘My father in law told me a story of one of his work colleagues who would get up in the morning, put on his work clothes, leave the house, get into his car and drive around the block, returning back to his house and maintaining his work self at home throughout the rest of the day. At 5.30, he would leave his house, drive the opposite way around the block, return home, and change back into his casual clothes.
He would always maintain strict boundaries between his “work” mode and “non-work” mode. This allowed him to not let the two worlds merge giving him a greater sense of personal identity and the power to mitigate potential WFH burnout. This doesn’t have to be car based, you could walk around the block before and after work, or even grab a bicycle and do a longer journey, banking some extra fitness points along the way.’
Speak to someone if you are struggling
Lockdown and working from home can often be isolating, so its important to be kind to yourself. If you are struggling to work at full capacity, are having a tough time mentally or experiencing any other kind of difficulties, be sure to speak to someone.
Toby Gallagher, Studio Community Manager at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios says ‘reaching out to your manager, HR department or just having a chat with your colleagues about a problem is really important.Often what we think is a big issue can be solved easily when we ask for help, a problem shared really is a problem halved’.
So, there you have it, our top tips for staying healthy and productive whilst working from home. We hope that you find them useful and stay safe.