Category Archives: Working from home

Working from home – winter edition – part 3

Want to stay warm this winter and be nice to the environment then take a quick look around your work area for

  • drafty windows – solution – some heavier drapes or better yet a foam that adheres to the frame which blocks the draft from getting in, in the first place
  • drafty doors – solution – door snakes, they work so well one of the most under rated ways to keep a room warmer. I made mine using an offcut of fabric stuffed with small fabric cuttings and sewed 2 odd buttons on him to make a face. Took all of about 5 minutes and now no draft.

Sid the door snake

  • wooden floorboards – solution – a mat. Even if you don’t get a mat for the whole floor try one for directly under where you work each day. It will certainly take the chill off your feet.
  • plastic chairs – solution – fabric cover or flat cushion. Plastic chairs can be very cold so give yours a makeover with a warm cover or flat cushion. Gives your space a makeover and keeps you warm.
  • poor lighting – solution – get an extra lamp or better yet swap your bulbs for daylight bulbs. The duller the environment the more cold you will feel so flood the area with good lighting and help chase the chills away.
  • heaters and air conditioners – yes they have their place but they aren’t great for the environment to run all day every day – solution – a hot water bottle. One of these wrapped up snug and placed on your chair or lap and you’ll be toasty warm in no time and more effectively than a heater which has to warm all the air in the room before you will feel warm.

How do you keep warm and green during the cold months? Would love to hear about it.

Working from home – winter edition – part 2

Now that we have you both warm and looking good while remaining comfortable the next thing we need to take care of is the fact that winter makes us hungry so before you start spending too much time in the kitchen and not enough time working here are a few things that should help you out

  1. cups of tea (or coffee) – tea is a fantastic warmer and if you have black tea without sugar or milk it is 0 calories as well. There are a multitude of great herbal and flavoured teas out there stock up on your favourites. Not only is it good for you it will keep you warm, make you feel fuller and you can drink tea at your desk so no time wasting.
  2. soup – I think soup may possibly be my favourite food. I love the huge number of variations you can make and if I make a huge batch on the weekend and freeze off meal size portions then lunch just needs to be heated up each day. Tasty, warming and nutritious.
  3. time – designate certain times for breaks and meals. It helps you be more structured and helps prevent the all day grazing from the refridgerator.
  4. exercise – if there is one way to justify eating extra during winter and still come out into summer looking fit and healthy than exercise is it. By keeping your body moving in the winter time you warm up your core temperature which keeps you warmer all day. So don’t pack away your trainers just find a great way to keep moving and working out during the winter time and avoid the end of winter freak out when you realise you’ve put on weight from being inactive. Added bonus exercise helps you stay healthier and more alert.

A healthy you does mean a healthy business so take some time to do some planning and encourage good habits and have a productive and healthy winter season.

Working from home – winter edition part 1

It’s getting a bit chilly at night, the early mornings are a bit crisp and the sun isn’t shining quite so bright. Winter is on it’s way and for many who work from home this is the time of the year when getting really quality work done gets increasingly difficult.

Not wanting to brave the brisk air might mean a 10 minute lie in bed now becomes half an hour in the morning. A warm blanket, cup of cocoa and the midday movie while sitting next to the heater is more inviting than working at your computer or on your products.

To avoid these pitfalls that result in lost productivity why not indulge yourself a little?

Working from home does have it’s benefits and one of those is definitely being more relaxed and casual with your appearance. But it’s no time for tracky dacks and footy socks if you actually want to make yourself feel professional.

Swap your warm dressing gown for a lovely soft cardigan that will keep you warm and comfortable.

Keep your feet warm with a pair of classic boots and tights, or for those with really cold feet perhaps a pair of Sorel boots?

Or if you must a pair of sheepskin boots but please do not leave the house in them or all notion of you being a professional will be completely lost.

Scarves (like this one from etsy) and caps or beanies can make even the draftiest room feel snuggly.

This winter indulge yourself a little and reap the benefits of better productivity.

Workflow design

I’ve been thinking about good design and how it makes everything better. I’m not talking about the kind of design we’re doing for our actual labels be it t-shirts, dresses, lingerie or shoes I’m talking about about the design of our workflow and spaces and what we use to actually “do” the design.

Everyone knows the frustration of a computer that keeps freezing or crashing or a chair that makes your back ache because you can’t quite reach the desk properly. These small things add up and overtime adversely affect the way our businesses run. Lots of small annoyances can mean that when you think of working you get that sinking feeling in your stomach. You may think it’s because you are still in the building stages of your brand or working on a new range. But what if the sinking feeling is linked to these small annoyances?

So some things that might be causing these small annoyances

– space

– light (or lack thereof)

– equipment

First up Space

Do you have a dedicated workspace or are you flitting between couch and kitchen bench? No matter how small get yourself a workspace. Somewhere you can sit and work, leave and come back and your things are still where you left them. Not only does it make the work easier it makes you more efficient as you don’t have to first find and prepare a spot everytime you want to work. It will make your work feel real and you will treat it with more respect.

Lighting

Good lighting is essential to any designer. You need a nice strong light for colour matching and good lighting makes you feel more alert and productive. Low level lighting is bad for colour matching makes you feel drowsy and dull and can lead to squinting eyes and headaches. So when you have a dedicated workspace then get a good natural light lamp or light to illuminate your area with.

Equipment

Are your stationary supplies stolen from your kids crayons? When you sew do you need to spend twenty minutes finding matching colour thread. Organisation is key when it comes to equipment. Buy good scissors, some nice pens, paper and some dedicated storage.

When I first started my business I bought way too much stationary. Now days I buy the bare minimum because not only does it save money it means I don’t have to find somewhere to store it either.

Old jars make great holders for pens and scissors. An old photo frame can be re used as a corkboard by getting some heavy card and covering it with fabric and popping it into the frame.

Good design of your workspace doesn’t need to cost a fortune, it really only takes some organisation and dedication. Give your workspace a good design make over this week and see if it helps you stay more focused on the big picture and not on the small annoyances.

How can your label help others?

Sometimes people start business for all kinds of reasons. I always like to find out what started the idea from ‘could never find anything I wanted”, ” I want to make money”, “I hate my day job” to a million other reasons. I’m always intrigued by people who have a larger sense of the world who seem to have a mission to help others. When that is combined with amazing product it just makes me happy.

I read about Sseko Designs and it made me smile and I just wanted to share their story. Head on over to their website and take a look, trust me it’s well worth it.

How can your label help others?

Screenprinting your own t-shirts

Nice article from the Guardian with a tutorial on how to print your own t-shirts! Check it out here

Working from home – staying healthy

It’s coming up to cold and flu season so for all of you working on your own business you need to stay healthy or have a plan on what happens if you get sick.

Prevention is best when it comes to illness so eat well, exercise and rest if you start feeling anything coming on.

Also have a plan if you get sick. Can you not work on your business for say a fortnight? No, then make sure the major things are taken care of

– emails – do you need to set up an out of office auto reply so that when your feeling a better you can answer everything with a clear head.

-posting/packaging – if orders need to be filled can someone help you out and get stuff into the post box for you? Suggest stocking up on Express Post bags to help you through the sick period.

– phone – one of the worst sounds is the sound of someone coughing down the phone. If you are all stuffed up and sound ick then let the voice mail pick up and get back to it when you can speak clearly

Once the main things in your business are taken care of have a rest and get better. Forcing yourself to continue working while sick will only make the sickness last longer. Look after yourself your business needs you!