A New Way to Work - My Experience of Working (Remote)

Nearly 2 years ago I started my dual studies as a media designer at the priint Group | Werk II in Duisburg, Germany.

At that time, Corona (Covid-19) had just emerged and I started working directly from my home office immediately, which is still the way I work today. For some people, it's almost unimaginable to complete most of your studies and work from home - for me, it has become the norm.

Challenges in doing business from home

After two years working remotely from my home office, I can confidently say that it can be a challenge.

Particularly at the beginning, working independently from home is not easy because you don't know your colleagues, what their daily work routine is like or how they work. Colleagues don't sit next to you in the office, and short questions or comments, for example, can't just be discussed in person. You have to try to reach your colleagues via Teams, whether with a chat message or a phone call. However, communication can be asynchronous and the colleague doesn't always look at the message instantly or answer the call right away.  Of course, besides the personal exchange, sometimes there is a general lack of company around you. Despite various daily calls, you still sit alone in your room.

The internet itself also plays a very big role in working remote. Everyone has internet problems and knows how annoying it can be to suddenly get kicked out of a meeting, not be able to share the screen as well as a host of other things that can happen.

Since my lectures and practical projects have also mainly taken place online, I can quickly get the feeling that I can't get away from my desk at all and just sit in my room all day. Online classes, digital work, as well as learning and editing university projects, all have to be done remotely on the laptop. Throughout the day, I was working away, sitting at my desk and barely moving.  In addition, there is the time pressure to complete all the to-dos: deadlines for university projects, exam phases, to-dos at work and private life. Sometimes it's not easy to get everything successfully accomplished. That's why it's absolutely imperative to be organized. Over time, I've learned that you have to be able to schedule enough time for everything and also be disciplined to stick to the plan.

How to not lose motivation in the home office

I quickly realized that in order to be successful in working remote, I needed to change my daily routine a bit.

The solution: organization, enough breaks from the laptop, exercise and fresh air - obvious things that legitimately make a huge difference. I started to plan my daily routine to be able to do all the to-dos in time, to have everything in sight, to take enough breaks in between, which resulted in me becoming more relaxed and at ease throughout the day.

I have always been a person who doesn't have a hard time getting motivated for something that needs to be done. On the contrary, when I know something needs to be done, I also set up a plan to get it done as soon as possible. In my opinion, that's a big advantage to the home office. I know I have a normal work day, get up earlier and then work on the laptop. Even though I am at home and have to do a lot of errands there as well, I can separate my work day from my personal life. Only when I'm done with work, does everything else come.

I have often heard from friends that they can't even imagine how I work from home. Many thought about themselves that they probably couldn't work in a home office at all. There's no "supervisor", only online, and it's easy to get distracted at home.

Certainly, distraction is a big issue when working from home. Everyone has to find the best way for themselves to stay motivated to work and focus less on other things. I now have a routine to my work day that I stick with and has worked. To avoid running back and forth too much, I bring a bottle of water and some snacks to my desk before I begin working for the day. Music is always playing in the background during my work hours. During my lunch breaks, I continue to watch my favorite series and check out various social media platforms. Of course, it happens that you also briefly look out of your cell phone during working hours because you've received a message, for example, but as long as you're not glued to it then, that should be fine.

"Working alone" can also lead to fewer distractions, however. By not having anyone else around, you can focus on your tasks. Of course, when you're in the office with several colleagues, it's a different story, but the in-person socialization also strengthens the community.

Typically after a day at work or school, I like to take our dog for a walk. I also go to the gym to get a balance from the work and school day. I must say that exercising is almost always a very good decision. You can work out, you spend time with friends and you know you are doing something good for yourself. Exercising alleviates stress, puts you in a good mood and makes you more motivated overall. After these "laptop-free" phases, I usually go back to my desk in the evening and work on my university projects.

Over the past two years, I've adapted to the home office, made adjustments and have ultimately succeeded in this new work environment. At the beginning, it was unimaginable for me and I had a lot of concerns about how it would all transpire, but as time went on I realized that anything is possible with true team work.

Personal reflections

My personal highlight in the last two years was the 10th priint:day with the motto "Move Beyond Digital". For me, this was my first company event, and also a big anniversary for priint. Unfortunately, due to Corona, the 10th priint:day had been postponed twice, so it was very exciting for everyone to be back in person again with a sense of normalcy.

Since I was involved in a lot in the preparations, it was all the more exciting to be at the event myself. My tasks for priint:day were in the design area. For example, I created the invitation cards, roll-ups and various giveaways. It's always exciting when you design something yourself and can hold the finished result in your hand at the end.

It was also a great experience to meet many new people. We had already been in contact with many of them by e-mail, but to meet in person was a completely different and wonderful experience.

The topic of print was discussed in detail in many presentations. Personally, I'm a big fan of print and think it's a good balance to digitalization. Nowadays, people work a lot on their laptops and always have their smartphones with them as their daily companions. However, it's always nice to be able to hold something directly in your hand!

Events in which you can participate yourself are motivation all on their own to do well. Organizing a good event with your work team and being able to see them face to face in person again always makes for a great experience!