How photographers can optimise working from home during lockdown
The lockdown is affecting everybody, but how can photographers make this time work for them?
How can photographers make working from home work for them during the coronavirus pandemic?
In this current climate, working from home has become the new normal. However for many of our photographers it has always been necessary to work from home be it to edit images, create designs or clear the never ending stream of admin work. Maybe this has always been something you’ve always enjoyed or maybe you’ve struggled, but with everyone else working from home as well as schools being closed, photographers could be facing some new challenges in the workplace. While lots of events have been cancelled in recent weeks and with things looking a bit bleak, here are 9 handy tips to optimise your workspace and keep your productivity up during quarantine.
1. Have a separate workspace
This is really important. Not only does this help to get focused, over time your brain associates this space with working and helps encourage productivity. Fill this space with only the items you need such as laptop or desktop, notebook, pens, diary etc and of course, the all important cup of tea or coffee.
Compared to the sofa or coffee table, having an allocated work space sets you up to get to work in a dedicated environment with only your work to focus on. If you have a family at home, this can help with boundaries as well, such as when you’re working at your desk, you need as much peace as possible. Not always achievable as we all know, but over time this can become more habitual for the whole family and make continuous working much easier.
Make this space your haven, your escape from reality. A bright and cheerful atmosphere can keep you feeling fresh and positive while working. Add some colour, maybe some greenery in the form of a plant, real or faux, ikea are still delivering! Choose your favourite colour combos to select the right props or make it more personal to you with some personalised photo frames or a desktop family photo . Creating a personalised area that makes you smile encourages a positive association with your workspace and indeed, your work.
3. Set working hours for yourself
This can be hard at the best of times let alone during quarantine! But having set working hours and indeed a regimented routine can really benefit your concentration as well as your mental health during this time. This keeps your days in check, gives you purpose and keeps you focused on the task at hand. This will also help you from feeling a little bit lost. Your average day of shooting, client meetings and on the go tasks has been swept away quite rapidly, and setting a routine will help combat this change. Don’t forget, setting working hours encourages you to switch off as well, including working from your mobile phone such as on your social platforms.
Depending on the work you are carrying out, decide whether rationing your phone usage during working hours is a worthwhile step for you. It can be too easy to get a notification and subsequently lose hours scrolling. Think about your phone usage during and outside of your working hours to ensure these are not overlapping. Overall, setting boundaries on timings will help you in the long run, and having your own time or family time is just as important for your mental health, so make sure you factor this in.
4. Keep your clients informed
This is a strange time for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to handle it. Don’t forget, as worried as you may be about future bookings, each of your clients will be as well. Make sure you’ve thought about how to deal with upcoming bookings and your stance for customers so you can keep them informed. This might be updating them all via a social post or blog on your website, or contacting them individually.
Don’t be afraid to be electronically social! Set up a call with customers or even a facetime to discuss your plan of action. It might seem daunting to speak to customers or be afraid that they will be let down, but they are in the same uncertain boat, so sometimes a positive chat can be enough to put their minds at ease, even if you’re still not sure what the outcome will be.
5. The photography community is here for you!
The photography community has always been a strong and sharing network, and that has not changed with the outbreak of COVID-19. Support, advice and even a friendly chat is there for you when you need it, it just requires reaching out. Social platforms are such an easy method to speak with fellow photographers and network from there.
Even though studios and suppliers might be closed, many still have their communication channels open for customers to get in touch. You can still contact anyone on the SIM team via email, telephone on 01707 273 747 or online chat who are here to talk as and when you need them. This can be to discuss products, orders as well as what other photographers are doing at the moment to try to increase productivity and income.
6. Tasks for photographers to generate income during lockdown
While there have been so many cancellations due to coronavirus, some photographers, suppliers and trainers are considering proactive ways to try to generate an income in the meantime. Fundy have launched their Profits Now campaign which includes daily videos on their facebook page with ideas and suggestions from different photographers on things to do that you may never have had time for previously to generate extra income. There are lots of platforms out there encouraging photographers to use this time wisely in many different ways, so it’s worth doing some research to find out what fits best with you and your clientele. There are also lots on online training platforms at the moment which can be an excellent excuse to master something you didn’t have time for previously. Many of these are free, so do some research before paying for any courses in case it’s out there to watch free of charge!
7. Make time for breaks for you and your brain
Working hard is great, but you must remember to take breaks and let your brain relax. Working in an office environment often has small brain reliefs you may not have thought about, like making a cup of tea, chatting to a colleague, taking a call etc. Working from home can seem lonely and isolated, so taking a break to get some air or a quick chat or a phone call to a friend or family member can be the welcome refresh your brain needs. This can help you to not feel too bogged down and it’s always great to stretch your legs, get blood flowing and rest your eyes from your screen.
8. Look after your mental health.
Everything covered so far should help you rationalise your working day and feel purposeful in your actions, all of which helps with mental health. There is a wealth of information online, on the radio and on TV about the current coronavirus pandemic. While it’s good to stay informed, don’t let yourself drown in it. It can be a good idea to step away from the constant coverage and overwhelming bad news to focus on the task at hand, and for a short moment forget what’s going on outside. This is not just on the TV and radio, but can be on your phone and social media as well. Obsessing on news of this nature will contribute to anxiety so rationing your exposure can keep you in the loop, but keep you sane as well.
9. Keep your spirits up.
This is an unprecedented time. As mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong way to handle this situation, but there is always more we could do to ensure we’re making lemonade out of lemons. On the other side of this coin, don’t feel too bad if you think you’re not making the most of it right now! Setting small targets will help with a sense of accomplishment and keep you feeling motivated, you don’t have to achieve everything all at once. While social distancing is firmly in place, people that may have kept your spirits up before over a coffee, dinner or a drink will be sorely missed, but they are still there. Use the wonderful technology that has developed to stay in touch, even if it’s just a quick and friendly catchup. You can call, use facetime, zoom, chat, social etc the methods are endless. These little chats, even as silly as they may seem, could be an excellent excuse for a break and a quick smile to lighten the mood.
As a bonus tip (and this one we cannot stress enough!), we implore all of our customers and readers to continue to keep safe and well by staying home. Everyone can do their bit to tackle coronavirus, and staying home unless absolutely necessary is where we can all start.
Remember if you want to talk to the team we’re here in every capacity (safely from our own homes), so please do get in touch via email, telephone on 01707 273 747 or online chat.
Thanks for reading.