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Elliott Moody
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WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang


WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang

The Coronavirus has sent a shockwave through our industry, with studios, agencies and freelancers being forced to adapt their business and work remotely as we wait for the outbreak to subside. For the fifth instalment in our WFH mini-series, we spoke to Christian, Martin and Evan from Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang.

WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang
WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang
WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang

These are weird times, but all of us being in the same boat helps. We’re all in it together.

Christian Bielke, Managing Director and Founding Partner

EM Have you got a daily routine going?

CB Our building is being renovated so we wake up every day at 07.00 from the workers outside of the bedroom window. We’re actually pretty close to going completely mad, as most of our windows are either blocked with blue tarpaulin or scaffolds with workers looking in. Either way, we start the day with some coffee in bed before we eat breakfast. Home school (our kids are 6 and 9) starts at 09.00, and at that time I’ll check in with the rest of the team over Slack and/or Whereby. The rest of the day will be filled with meetings, presentations, work, home school, planning and small trips outside.

EM Are you dressing up for work or keeping it cosy?

CB Yes, dressing up as I would for work is really important for me, but I do keep it cosy with slippers! My kids usually dress up as Pokémon’s and Unicorns now that they can.

EM Whereabouts in your home do you like to work from?

CB For now we all take turns in working from the kitchen table and a workspace in our bedroom. On Monday we will move up to our cabin in the mountains and work from there. I’m really looking forward to that as it’s quiet, closer to nature and we have more space. And no blue tarpaulin, haha.

EM How do you stay motivated while at home?

CB A cliché maybe, but talking to friends and family, our fantastic team and clients keeps me motivated every day. These are weird times, but all of us being in the same boat helps. We’re all in it together. I’m a big fan of adapting to whatever situation and making the most of it — however strange or difficult it may be. We also log off, and I skateboard with my kids or friends for an hour or two every other day, we watch movies, listen to music and we spend more time together cooking. I guess the day moves a bit slower than normal, and I like that.

WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang
WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang
WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang

I find it helpful to lower my own expectations during this period.

Martin Yang, Creative Director and Founding Partner

EM Have you got a daily routine going?

MY Since we started working from home, me and my girlfriend have been taking turns switching between working, homeschooling and playing with our two kids. It was quite a shock the first week, but we finally found a good rhythm that works for everyone (especially with a glass of wine in the evening after the kids have gone to bed). I usually start the day by making coffee together with my 3-year-old daughter. It’s a nice way to start the day, and she’s getting good at measuring up the beans, putting them in the grinder and pouring the water. I often check in with my colleagues through Slack or Whereby, and then I try to focus on the tasks and assignments that I have lined up for the day. Having the kids at home means that I’m working half a day. It can be quite challenging to get through the to-do lists, but I find it helpful to lower my own expectations during this period. That way I’m more content with the amount of work put down during each day.

EM Are you dressing up for work or keeping it cosy?

MY Even though I’m working from home, I still need to feel fresh and comfortable. That means a long shower in the morning and dressing up as if I’m going to the studio. It’s an important routine to me since I tend to get irritated and annoyed if I don’t get a proper start in the morning. Usually, I go for a pair of chinos or jeans, together with a crew neck or hoodie. If we have an important client video meeting, I occasionally pull out the ‘formal’ merino wool sweater from COS :)

EM Whereabouts in your home do you like to work from?

MY We have made an office downstairs in our apartment that me and my girlfriend share, which is a decent setup for working focused throughout the day. I also use the kitchen from time to time, often starting the day sending off a couple of emails, while having a cup of coffee and eating breakfast. Having said that it’s easier to work downstairs than upstairs with the kids running around babbling about the latest Nintendo Switch game or Netflix cartoon series.

EM How do you stay motivated while at home?

MY These are special times, so I think it’s crucial to find the right balance between work and family life. I find it important to get outside for some fresh air during the day. I usually go to the nearby basketball court together with my kids. It’s something that we all enjoy, and it’s the perfect way to stay active. During the weekends we also try to go to into the woods as often as we can. There are plenty of nice areas just outside the city centre of Oslo where it’s not too crowded. I also enjoy taking a short walk in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. It’s a nice way to clear your head after a long day.

I do miss the studio environment and being around my colleagues, so it helps a lot when we meet up for Friday beers and the weekly wine lottery. It’s a nice way to be social and to stay in touch. Hopefully, we can all have a beer together at the studio sometime in the near future.

WORKING FROM HOME with Oslo-based studio Bielke & Yang

The key for me now is to stay active in some way.

Evan McGuinness, Designer and Partner

EM Have you got a daily routine going?

EMG My girlfriend is working in the health service so she still has a pretty regular schedule which helps to give my day some more structure too. Breakfast with her around 07:00 each day, when she goes to work I usually bike to her parents’ training studio (which is closed now due to the pandemic) and get a small workout in before starting my workday. I try to eat lunch either on my balcony at home or get out for a short walk and eat at a nearby park to break up the day and get away from my desk for a bit.

EM Are you dressing up for work or keeping it cosy?

EMG I definitely make sure to get dressed properly each morning, usually quite close to what I would wear at the studio, which I’d probably class as something between dressy and cosy anyway. If we do have a video meeting with a client I’ve found wearing something a bit more dressy helps to put me in the right mindset. I usually change into something cosier in the evenings though, that helps to make the transition from workday to evening clearer too.

EM Whereabouts in your home do you like to work from?

EMG There has been a lot of trial and error over the past weeks but I’ve settled on trying to mix it up as much as possible. I usually start my workday, after getting home and showering, on the couch to check emails and have a coffee. The main work station is on a low bench that extends across the door out to my small balcony. It’s nice now with spring arriving to have the door open so the apartment is filled with fresh air which helps me to stay more alert. There is also a higher bench with a stool that I sometimes stand at to work too.

EM How do you stay motivated while at home?

EMG For the first couple of days I was pretty immobile, basically bed, couch, desk, couch, bed, which was a loop I felt wasn’t working at all. The key for me now is to stay active in some way, especially in the morning so you feel a clear break between waking up and starting your workday, a type of commute replacement in a way. If it’s a bike ride, a short walk or a bit of stretching, anything to keep the body active and refreshed will work wonders to keep the motivation levels up. Definitely checking in with the B&Y gang regularly and keeping up with work being done at the studio helps a lot too. As does a strict schedule for when the working day ends. There is also a weekly wine lottery we’ve kept running so that’s a fun way to top off the week!

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Bielke & Yang

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