The Remote Reign Of The Tiny Design Empire

While the COVID pandemic continues to reshape our day-to-day lives, the 818 team has expanded our remote working capabilities and implemented a system of utmost flexibility as we navigate this new world. As many have had the privilege to learn these past few months, working from home can have many benefits as well as many challenges. See how the 818 team takes on the work day with the help of some creative problem-solving, virtual collaboration, and–of course–coffee!

BREE

What has helped you stay the most productive? A good pair of headphones, lumbar-support pads for my chair, getting yelled at by my smart watch to get up and go for a walk, and slamming cans of seltzer water throughout the day.

Is there a certain spot in your house you prefer to work? Our living room has been completely overtaken by desks and monitors, since it has the best natural light in the apartment.

Favorite aspect about working from home? I love the flexibility, wearing comfortable leggings, eating home-cooked meals, less time in the car, coworking with my partner, video chats with the rest of the team, and I love spending the work day with a cat in my lap.  

Most distracting thing about working from home? It’s more difficult to separate the work day from the rest of life when I’m always a few steps away from my desk, it’s more difficult to separate myself from my snacks when I’m always a few steps away from the fridge, and it’s more difficult to write emails when my cats are always trying to lie across my keyboard. Oh also the 24-hour news cycle and the crushing guilt that comes with the luxury of steady remote employment.

Something you’ve gained? For a while I had an unhealthy work-life balance as a young professional with something to prove, but being forced to slow down and see the larger picture of what is going on in the world has both shaken me to my core and allowed me to take stock of my well-being; it has been an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows for my mental health these demoralizing last 5 months. Ultimately I have been able to ease up on the pressures I place on myself and focus more on the things that matter in life.

How has your daily schedule changed? Since I don’t have to share a commute anymore I am able to start my day before the sun is up, take more walks, and make sure my chunky cat doesn’t eat all of my tiny cat’s food.

One thing you miss about working in office? Though this lifestyle suits my introverted nature, I am in desperate need of more coworker time! Being able to video chat and message throughout the day is great, but I’m really starting to miss the creative energy of being in the office and organically bouncing ideas off of these amazing humans. I miss spontaneity, after work outings, blasting the surround sound, and general non-virtual human interaction.

DYLAN

What has helped you stay the most productive? Starting my day off early in the morning with an ice coffee and taking Harper (my golden retriever) on walks when I start losing focus with work throughout the day.

Is there a certain spot in your house you prefer to work?  My office because that keeps me away from most of the distractions around me.

Favorite aspect about working from home? Having the ability to be more flexible with your daily schedule.

Most distracting thing about working from home? Wandering around in the kitchen looking for food when I’m not actually hungry and the urge to binge watch a show on Netflix.

Something you’ve gained? Spending more time with my girls, that is, my girlfriend Selena and my dog Harper Rae!

How has your daily schedule changed? I never know what day of the week it is anymore when I wake up.

One thing you miss about working in office? Having the ability to talk to the team in person if you have questions on a project, or if you just want to shoot the shit with them.  

RACHEL

What has helped you stay the most productive? Technology – instant messaging with our team members, video conferencing with clients, easy access to our server while off-site. Oh, and coffee!

Is there a certain spot in your house you prefer to work? If so, where and why? In my sunroom, because of the excellent natural light and view of the backyard.

Favorite aspect about working from home? No commute times and I now actually prepare food for lunch sometimes.

Most distracting thing about working from home? We just purchased a new home and with that comes lots of items on the to-do list. It’s hard to ignore when I’m sitting in the house looking at everything that still needs done. Also, they’re cute, but the children can be slightly distracting when they’re at home 😊

Something you’ve gained? Realizing that our team can and does work efficiently and smoothly while being remote. Also, the added flexibility with my kids’ routines is really nice.

How has your daily schedule changed? Do schedules even exist anymore?!

One thing you miss about working in office? Seeing and communicating with our clients and team in person!  

MEGAN

What has helped you stay the most productive? I invested in some AirPods early on and they were real gamechangers. However, what’s really helped me maintain productivity the most is finally giving myself permission to take breaks (whether short or long!) to recharge and not feel guilty about it – even in the middle of the day! Looking after my mental health is the single best thing I’ve done for my productivity. I go on long walks almost every day to shed whatever might be weighing me down and get right back to what needs done. Plus I make so many lists.

Is there a certain spot in your house you prefer to work? If so, where and why? I don’t prefer to work there so much as it’s the only place I have available to work. I live in a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend so I set up a desk away from the living area in the only place it fit: a tiny nook area of the bedroom that’s approximately 4’x2’ and I have to move anytime someone needs in the closet. Laundry days are tough.

Favorite aspect about working from home? I live in stretchy pants! The flexibility is nice – both in the pants and schedules.

 

Most distracting thing about working from home? Just the daily chores of life. In the beforetimes, you did work things at work and home things at home, but when those things become permanently intertwined it became difficult to separate the two without a lot of guilt. It’s much better now that I’m used to it and have a routine down but for a while all I could think about was everything that needed to get done around the house and if I took even 10 minutes to do it I would feel guilty for not working. Also, it seems something terrible or unexpected happens in the world every week and it’s tough to not let your brain feel like it’s being torn in 100 directions.

Something you’ve gained? 10 lbs? But really, I have gained a lot of perspective and through a lot of ups and downs really learned to be more patient and forgiving with myself.  

How has your daily schedule changed? It hasn’t really! I live walking distance to the office so really not much has changed in that regard. Some days might start sooner or end later, or I might catch up late at night or on weekends, but I try to keep a normal, consistent routine and schedule as much as possible.

One thing you miss about working in office? The beer! And the potlucks! 😃 Really, I mostly miss just being around and hanging with 1) other humans, 2) specifically, the awesome humans in the 818 office. I also miss the random afterwork outings and hangouts.  

MELISSA

What has helped you stay the most productive? Realizing when “I’m on” and when I can focus, which is usually early in the morning when I’m less distracted.

Is there a certain spot in your house you prefer to work? If the weather is cooperating, definitely outside on the deck, although the reflection can be tough at times!

Favorite aspect about working from home? The flexibility and ability to balance work/life more (like juggle some laundry or easily being around for homeowner-type appointments). In the spring, it was so enjoyable to watch my flower garden grow in real time (I’m a plant lady)! Last, it’s kind of fun to see all the activity that happens around the house when typically not here (mostly animals like turkeys banging on doors/windows)

Most distracting thing about working from home? I’m currently in the middle of several home improvement projects and having them stare me in the eye every day is difficult to ignore.

Something you’ve gained? From a business perspective, Rachel & I had been discussing a blended working-from-home with some office time schedule arrangement for our team and this has really given us a test run on how that works & doesn’t work and is helping us make operational decisions that are best for the empire going forward.

How has your daily schedule changed? Its more random and full of unexpected stress. Unexpectedly, I REALLY miss the routine. Pre-pandemic, every week I had several meetings and networking events and in the beginning, it was somewhat refreshing to have my schedule cleared out in that regard, but I’m missing developing in-person connections with new friends & clients.

One thing you miss about working in office? I miss the office culture so much and seeing the 818 team & our clients regularly. They are like family to me!  

Something you’ve gained? Confidence in my ability to adapt. Not only adapting to a new position and learning it all virtually, but adaptable in expectations as well. This year was not exactly what a senior in college who was months away from graduating expected to be when they rang in the new year, but it has allowed me to trust myself and time. Things eventually work themselves out. 

How has your daily schedule changed? Never really had one to being with if I’m being honest. Suddenly being a full-time virtual student, then a pool bum for a few months, to someone who works from home has created a very confusing daily routine.

One thing you miss about working in office? Never really got the chance to work in the office so I look forward to that opportunity! I do miss the opportunities working in an office presents for getting to know coworkers and clients better.

KALLIE

What has helped you stay the most productive? First, a super great work from home playlist on Spotify enjoyed through a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Secondly, about 3 cups of Spearmint tea a day which is delicious and allows me to walk away from the screens for a bit and relax. Lastly, writing lists and ideas with pen and paper. Just to escape technology for a second.

Is there a certain spot in your house you prefer to work? If so, where and why? Made a little corner for myself underneath the steps so I kind of feel like Harry Potter, but it’s an area that I never use when not working so it’s nice to have that distinct separation to keep my mind in focus mode.

Favorite aspect about working from home? My two cute “coworkers”, Milo and Bentley provide constant entertainment throughout the day. It’s also really nice to be able to cook a lunch and have the shortest work commute of my life. The flexibility and new learning opportunities have also been great benefits.

Most distracting thing about working from home? My dogs barking at their yellow tennis ball expecting you to play with them if they bark long enough.

While we are all working from home, we will continue to be available at the office by appointment and we are available for phone or video calls with the same great creative service as always! Stay safe and healthy, support your local businesses, and take care of one another—when this is all over we will have so much catching up to do at our next 818 dance party.

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Des Moines, IA 50309
(Suite on south side of the building)

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design@818iowa.com
515-805-5239