How to work from home effectively

It’s an interesting time at the moment, where most of us are required to work from home and practice social distancing to flatten the curve of COVID19 pandemic. Here are a few tips for better remote working. Feel free to share the graphics on your social media channels and credit us.

Get dressed

Yes, please put your pants on. Even though you don’t need to don neckties or power heels, it still feels empowering when you dress smartly for yourself. This could prepare you mentally for the work challenges ahead. Also, you still need to look presentable for video meetings.

Set your goals

Keep yourself motivated with daily goals and micro goals that could be broken down hourly. Sticking to a workable routine will help you become more productive. You may apply the 80/20 rules where you could prioritise the larger tasks (the 20%) that could solve majority of other work tasks (the 80%).

Prepare your workspace

Make sure you have a comfortable chair, table and computer display that are suitable for your posture. A spot facing the window is very good to rest the eyes. Tell your family members to give you privacy during your work hours. Finally, set your ambient by playing your Spotify playlist or listen to a podcast.

Use remote working tools

Fortunately, online technology is on our side today. There are good project management tools such as Trello, Jira or Asana to track your progress. Choose the most suitable communication channels such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, Slack or Zoom to update your team. Some companies prefer WhatApp chat for immediate access.

Schedule your meetings

Schedule morning meetings at a regular time with your team to update progress. A regular 15 minutes catch-up is more efficient than an hour-long meeting if the agenda is outlined in advanced. It encourages transparency and builds trust over time.

Use simple words

Be clear and simple in emails for a more holistic interaction. It’s difficult to keep track of an overflowing inbox. Maybe it’s a good idea to dedicate a specific time during the day to respond, so you can focus better and manage expectations.

Have sufficient breaks

It’s so much easier to overwork when your operate from home. Set a clear boundary between your rest and work time. Go for regular short walks at lunchtime or do some yoga stretches. Enjoy your work-life balance!

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How to brief a designer

Musings from creative wilderness by Zarina Holmes

Designers are simple people. They are never short of imagination and enthusiasm, but what they really appreciate is a clear instruction. That is the job brief.

On the outside, designers seem like carefree coffee-drinking lot. Secretly, they relish in being organised. I don’t know one designer that doesn’t put label on things or not fascinated by a Muji storage.

When you hire a designer, you are not simply hiring someone to make your brand pretty. You are hiring a right hand. A weapon wielder to execute your strategy if you like, to communicate persuasively with your target audience and solve the messaging issues that your brand may have.

When you hire a designer, you are not simply hiring someone to make your brand pretty. You are hiring a right hand.

It’s important for designers to buy into your vision to champion it. You need to explain that story by writing a good job brief.

So, what’s a good job brief? Most of it is common sense – to include details such as budget, project duration, timeline, background, objective and desired result.

Be organised. Because you can’t score without a goal.

You’d be surprised how many jobs that landed on my desk without a clear timeline and objective. In my opinion, if a job hasn’t got clear a deadline or objective, it’s not ready to be passed on to the creative team.

Some two decades ago when I started out in an ad agency – before project management platforms like Trello existed – the Creative Director will not accept a “job bag” unless it had a job number. Why? If hasn’t got a job a number, it means that the Account Executive hasn’t done his/her homework. It’s not filed properly. The job bag was literally a brown envelope stuffed with artworks and related research materials for the creative. These days it could be a Google drive or any cloud folders.

If a job hasn’t got clear a deadline or objective, it’s not ready to be passed on to the creative team.

Please take some time to gather your thoughts first. Get the relevant team members to agree on the brief before commissioning.

Zarina Holmes is a Creative Director and Founder of GLUE Studio.