Work, work, work, work, work … work from home. Offices across the globe canceled the cubicles, gathered the games, and stocked up on snacks—all in an effort to make our work life as creative and connected as our, well, life life. And then the pandemic happened.
While we’re all adjusting to the new work from home lifestyle (and leisurewear), our design team has the extra challenge of keeping their creative juices flowing while being stuck inside all day. To find out how our creatives are keeping their cool working from home, we went straight to the source. Say “hello” to Hayden Hanson and Alex Vega, two extremely talented UX designers and all-around cool people here at Deloitte Digital.
Tell us about your role at Deloitte Digital.
Hayden: I’m a UX designer! My goal when I’m brought onto client teams is to help create real human solutions. A computer can do exactly what you tell it to, but people need a little guiding hand using technology and that’s where UX designers come in. We help users out without them even knowing it.
Alex: I’m a Senior UI/UX designer although sometimes I’m known as a visual designer and other times, I refer to myself as a product designer (when I’m trying to be fancy). As a designer, I take a lot of pride in turning complex problems into simple solutions. Good design is invisible. I want to make every digital experience I touch perfectly functional and beautiful.
What studio are you based in?
Hayden: Chicago. Funnily enough, I can see the Deloitte building from my living room window … I wonder if the snacks are still there in the studio, I’m craving some hummus right now.
How’s your WFH setup?
Hayden: Because Wi-Fi is sometimes a gamble in my apartment, I’m taking calls from the living room couch, but usually designing on the corner of my desk.
Alex: Terrible! I didn’t have a desk and my neck suffered for it. I bounced between kitchen counter, dining room table, our bed, and the bedroom floor (for better Wi-Fi connection during video calls). It was so dire that my wife and I (along with our one-year-old son and geriatric dog) moved from Seattle to Alabama where her family lives just this past week. Now I have a desk and can set up my monitor like it was in the office! Total game changer.
How do you think outside the box when you’re stuck inside your house?
Hayden: My go-to “think outside the box” is also known as a “whiskey sour.” 2oz Bourbon, 3/4 oz lemon juice, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 1 egg white.
Alex: Before moving from Seattle, I took morning walks with my son where I would throw on my headphones, zone out, and listen to a podcast before the workday started. It was a great way to clear my head and get the creative juices flowing. Ugh, I hate that phrase, but I can’t think of a replacement for it.
Have you found yourself feeling more creative? Less?
Hayden: Probably about the same. It’s definitely been harder to not have coworkers to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of at a moment’s notice.
Alex: Less! I thrive off community and human interaction. Our studio was so fun—it was great to whiteboard at a moment’s notice when you needed to. It’s also hard to be creative with a screaming toddler running around.
How are you connecting with others?
Hayden: I text the same five people “COVID sucks, miss ya, hope we can hang out soon,” weekly... so there’s that.
Alex: Chatting in message groups is great because we have channels that are very project-oriented or very public so it’s nice to have little chat groups carved out where conversation can be more private and therefore also sometimes slightly unhinged.
What do you do when you’re feeling stuck/unproductive?
Hayden: The nice thing about working from home is I can stare off into space without getting strange looks from people in the office as I gaze at the ceiling for five uninterrupted minutes.
Alex: If I’m feeling that way, it’s usually because I have to think or talk something out with someone so that’s when I’ll usually call my creative director or my coach and just have a conversation to help me figure out where or why I’m stuck.
What do you miss most about the office?
Hayden: The coffee chats, working near my favorite quick Mexican lunch spot, and the ridiculous amount of sparkling water I would drink.
Alex: Everything! (ugly cry emoji) I miss going on walks downtown, grabbing drinks at the restaurants downstairs after work, the pranks, wearing anything else besides gym tights and T-shirts, catching up with everyone and knowing what’s going on in their lives, Sonya trying to get their 10,000 steps in by doing circles around our desks, random doughnuts, vulturing lunch leftovers, and walking around and bothering people at their desks (I was super productive, I promise).
What’s your take on video calls?
Hayden: I once tried to fast forward one. I think it’s safe to say I’m over it.
Alex: Any time I can talk to someone instead of type helps my productivity, but there’s a balance, you know? Not everything translates to a video call, I’m learning.
Anything else to say about being a creative working from home?
Hayden: Don’t forget to drink water!
Alex: I don’t prefer to work from home. I crave the collaboration that comes with being in the studio. I want to learn from my peers. So, to find myself working from home is not what I had planned, but I think we’re all making the best of it. I get to spend more time with my family and currently, because my job is not tied to a location, I get to live close to family for the first time in ten years! It’s a weird transition, but it has its perks.
And the classic DD question: What’s your favorite emoji and why?
Hayden: Easily the Flushed emoji, it’s the perfect response to anything. Someone says something shocking 😳, your roommate asks if you want to crack open a spritzer at 3 p.m. on Friday 😳, you unironically say “bruh” in a text message 😳. Every situation, it’s the perfect match.
Alex: Definitely the ugly cry emoji. I believe I’ve hypothetically used it above, even. It’s the ultimate expression of emotion! It’s like the all caps of emojis. It’s an ugly happy cry or the most tragic sad cry you’ve ever seen. There’s no middle ground with the ugly cry emoji.
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