Around the Studio (except when we’re not): Working Remotely

by Emily Twaddell

Header image: Sara Morrison via Twitter

News flash: It’s Monday and it’s not snowing!

This is the first Monday that Arlington kids have attended school since January 12th. Still, parking spots are scarce in town and even major roadways are tight. And our public transportation system’s inability to weather the weather has probably made international news by now.

Designers at Involution Studios are a sturdy bunch. We know how to dress for the commute, even on the worst winter days.


But sometimes even we have to admit that it makes more sense to just stay home. Such as in late January. Early February. Mid February. And late mid February. 


Many companies, especially in the tech world, have come to terms with remote workers being a fact of regular corporate life (except, famously, Yahoo, which doesn't have to deal with snow). In anticipation of the recent storms the Wall Street Journal posted a quick reminder to “wear pants” in For the Blizzard Bound: Tips on Working From Home. It's not hard to find articles on the topic even when the weather is fine, either, everyone from Forbes to Lifehacker has something to say on the subject. Don’t work at home, go to a coffee shop. Dress like you are at work. Keep a schedule. Don't keep a schedule. Keep in contact. Don't send too many e-mails. 

In this author’s experience, working at home has proved everything from respite to punishment, depending on whether school-age children are part of the mix and how bored they are. For most Invo designers, however, the only "kids" around are housemates, so working at home is only a slight variation on working at the studio. And people here *like* being at the studio. If you want quiet company, you have it all around you. If you want some solo space, you can find it. If you want to sit in the sun or lie on a couch with your laptop, you can. You can cook lunch, or someone will cook for you. Right now, about the only things you can’t do at the studio that you could do at home are shower and do laundry.

What is most important here, though, is not that one *can* work at home if necessary. It is that it isn’t something to be worked out. It barely requires any adjustment on anyone’s part. We can Skype, we use Slack, we text, e-mail, upload, download, and, of course, talk on the phone. There is no energy wasted on anxiety about working at home which, coming from the heavily layered, managed, corporate world, is a most welcome change. Working remotely isn’t an "arrangement." It is, simply, what works for the circumstances. 

Plus, when we get back to the studio, there might be doughnuts.


Topics: studio culture