Working from home? Right now, that question applies to more of us than ever. Creatives, of course, have long been on the frontline of the home working space. In many ways, they are pioneers. From the copywriter, the graphic designer to the web developer, a laptop, strong connection and equally strong coffee is often all we need to ply our trade.
For others industries though, the sudden onset of remote working has opened a gateway to a brave new world. And, as even the most seasoned remote worker veteran will attest, it requires real adaptation.
One must be structured, determined and focussed.
Be prepared for the dawning realisation that you actually love the office. That you’ll miss the process of getting up. Of getting ready and going out. Of socialising in person and having all the tools you need conveniently on site. And what about the work-life balance? Well, when home becomes the place where you work, rest and play, the lines can become blurred.
Of course, this needn’t be the case. If you are prepared, the common pitfalls home workers stumble into are surmountable. In fact, many find that they are more productive at home than in the actual work space.
From Panic Room to Cabin Fever: films about isolation are currently trending in people’s watch lists. Indeed, the annals of cinema are writ large with examples of movies which explore the notion of isolation. Given that art imitates life, we’ve rounded up 5 of the best isolation movies and considered what home working best practices we can take for them.
5 Cast Away
For those among us who live alone and, therefore by extension, work alone, cast your mind back to Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away. The survival drama features Tom Hanks, who turns the tide of isolation on a desert island by befriending a basketball, Wilson. Now, of course, whilst we don’t recommend your becoming this dependent on your sporting equipment, it does underscore the need to stay social. In the current climate, that means reaching out to friends and family via the multitude of connective apps on the market. And remember, your clients will likely be in the same boat. So strike up conversations with them and colleagues.
4 The Thing
Nearly four decades on from its 1982 release, John Carpenter’s snowy parable portends as a message to the homeworkers of today. And that is the need for trust and communication. Just take the blood test scene. Sure, this might be an extreme way to set ground rules with anyone you live with but, nonetheless, you need to talk to people in your space. Explain your plan and systems. Let them know where you’ll be working and when you’ll be taking important calls and video conferences.
3 Groundhog Day
The 1993 comedy Groundhog Day stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event, is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day. Know the feeling? Working from home can feel like Groundhog Day, at times. So, break the monotony. From gaming, reading and undertaking training to developing core skills, shake things up. That could also mean taking up new hobbies such as brewing beer, exercising, baking or knitting.
Ever thought about getting a pet? If so, check out Ridley Scott’s 1979 science-fiction horror, Alien. It’s a telling example of what type of pet to avoid. The eponymous Alien hunts the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo. So, if you’re considering a pet to keep you company at home, perhaps go for something closer to Ellen Ripley’s cat, Jonesy.
1 The Shining
“l’m outlining a new writing project. Five months of peace is just what l want,” says Jack Torrance, explaining why he’s applying for the gig at The Overlook Hotel. Stanley Kubrick’s ‘how not to work at home’ masterpiece, The Shining, famously explores how a prolonged period of isolation can affect our health and wellbeing. Creative block is a curse we all face from time to time. And it was one that saw Jack quickly turn from protagonist to antagonist. So, ensure you have a structured work at home plan in place. If you hit the wall, take a break and do something such as taking a walk around the house or garden. Standing back from your work is a great way to get the creative juices flowing again.
- Ex Machina
- Silent Running
- The Hole
So, there you have it. We hope you enjoyed our 5 best isolation movies (and what home working creatives can learn from them). Let us know your list in the comments or on our social media channels. We’re always on the lookout for good recommendations.
Practical tips round up
Let’s bring the curtains down with a round up of some simple best practices you can employ when working at home:
- Where practical, maintain regular hours.
- Create a calendar schedule and don’t deviate from it.
- Create a new morning routine – remember, it’s just another work day so treat it like one.
- Set some clear ground rules with the people in your space.
- Ensure you schedule breaks throughout the day.
- If you don’t normally work the weekend, then don’t.
- If leaving home isn’t an option, have a walk around the house or garden.
- Ring a friend for a chat. Use video chat – it’s great to see a friendly face.
- Keep a dedicated office space.
Always know when and where to draw the line. Whilst working hard from home is to be applauded, maintain your wellbeing, productivity levels and personality by having a plan and sticking to it.