It’s been over a year since we started working from home because of the pandemic.
Work transitioned smoothly, thanks to our awesome clients and IT teams. But here at Secret 6, we all know that’s hardly enough. We believe in getting work done while still having a fair bit of fun. “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life,” or so the saying goes.
Taking this to heart, our teammates have found several ways to make sure they remain mentally and physically healthy through the quarantine.
We asked them about new things they discovered, habits and hobbies they've acquired, and all the other changes they learned to embrace during this time. Here are some of their answers.
Working from home isn’t easy, especially over a prolonged period. And sometimes, that means getting or fixing up a few new things to make things more convenient or more comfortable.
During the quarantine, our teammates shared the things that helped them make a comfortable and enjoyable space to work in. We’ve called these tangible, material additions to our home workstations our own little “quarantine survival kits.”
Having a survival kit means addressing the necessities of working from home. First, getting a stable internet connection enhances both work and play. Next, upgrading the workstations with comfortable seating and a desk you’re happy to see every day really makes a difference. Then come the small things: disinfectant spray bottles to keep things sanitized all the time, snacks on hand for keeping energies up during long working (and gaming) sessions, and finally, some new gadgets and peripherals – for a more pleasant work experience (including matchy-matchy aesthetics!).
Online Shopping Apps
Let’s admit: the past year was a great time for online shopping. This meant filling in the gaps in our collections, and spending on things we now have some extra time and funds to enjoy. For most of us at Secret 6, this meant video games (of course!) and our various hobbies.
More collectibles and an increasing gaming library helped us fill up our WFH environment with things we enjoy.
Hobbies and Personal Projects
It’s not just acquiring things that made the difference, though. Hobbies can help maintain motivation and interest when you’re stuck at home. We've made discoveries through different experiences that gave us new things to learn that kept us engaged for the long-term.
Some of our team members got into things that they otherwise might not have had the time or interest to get into. Arvin Pantollano and Marc Cruz from our Art Teams started taking care of plants and learning gardening. Meanwhile, 2D Animator Ric Coprada got to work in his kitchen and learned how to cook.
“During the lockdown, I found that the candles also help me when I'm feeling stressed, or to take my mind off of things even for a little while.” Our Producer, Mart Miranda learned a lot by trying out different scents and really understanding which profiles she enjoyed and how each made her feel. She continues, “I've also learned the verbiage that comes along with the interest, such as ‘hot throw’ being the scent of the candle when lit, and ‘cold throw’ for when it is unlit, or ‘tunneling’ when your candle continues melting with a ring because of a bad first burn.”
Communication Apps and Digital Calendars
Discord has been essential in keeping in touch with our friends and work mates. Be it during or after work hours, it helps to know that our team is just a message away. Sarah, our 2D Senior Project Lead shares: “With my team, we used to have an activity at the end of the month. Since working from home, we now started having it twice a month, usually at the start of the day.”
Scheduling regular meetings or events with dedicated time to catching up works. Marren of HR recounts: “We prepared our own lunch and did a virtual lunch out via Discord. We talked about topics that are non-work related and also I prepared a list of random questions and put it in a digital spinning wheel while we ate. For example: 'hashtag ng buhay mo ngayon' and 'during out of town trips, name a thing na hindi mawawala sa bag mo'. It was fun and refreshing!"
Connecting online also allowed a lot of our team members to fall into one of the more widespread hobbies in the office. We have regular sessions for roleplaying games, including the classic Dungeons and Dragons. Often held every Friday, after work hours, the DND sessions are even streamed online by our resident Dungeon Masters.
Shifting Perspectives: From Surviving to Thriving
Shifting lifestyles positively was a crucial part to maintaining our well-being during this period. These were simple things like improving our sleep schedule, integrating new healthy habits, or finding more time to enjoy with family members.
New daily routines that involved exercise and healthier eating, as well as getting enough rest daily became more common with our work mates. A greater emphasis on self-care, both physical and mental, became par for the course as people found their balance and settled into their new rhythm.
Here we feature bigger shifts—a change in mindset, environment, schedule, or priorities—that made our lives better during quarantine.
For some, shifting meant investing into their own personal space. Hannah Donato, our Senior Events Manager and Brand Coordinator, shares about how she gave her childhood bedroom a makeover: "I've always been into Konmari but aesthetics weren't my strong suit. But when I moved back with my family because of the pandemic, my boyfriend somehow talked me into repainting my childhood bedroom. This escalated into de-cluttering our terrace and transforming it into my home office/gym. Now, I enjoy my new spaces more and I feel very settled.”
S6 Production Lead Stephen Cruz found himself spending his time more intentionally, consciously transitioning between work and rest. He sums up the reasons for shifting nicely: “We cannot stress enough the importance of self-care in the current context. Most people allow themselves to be consumed by the blurring of the line between work and life, when this is a reminder that those things used to be separate for a reason.”
Expanding Our Craft
Our artists and programmer revisited different approaches to their craft, or explored and learned new ones. Some found self-expression by sharing more of their works online. This was what our Lead 2D Animator, Grey Cayetano, did. He stepped out by creating his own branding and art page: @helvirion
Meanwhile, Erin Llamas, also part of the Art team, took self-expression a step further by joining the KR Pearl Abyss fan art contest, and got herself some cool consolation prizes!
A lot of our artists also started offering art commissions, providing a new creative outlet and source of income. Utilizing all the extra time available to improving their craft, or finding new avenues for it, is a great way they thrived during quarantine.
Sometimes, a small addition opens up new ways to enjoy art. Trina Laya shares: “I bought an Apple Pencil and started learning how to make resin craft! The convenience of the iPad Pencil made it very convenient to create art and it really boosted my confidence.”
Connecting with Family (Furry and Otherwise)
Finding something or someone to pour attention over is one way to spend the time during quarantine. It helped shift focus away from ourselves and our own anxieties. For some of us, working at home meant more time with family. Reconnecting with them through social activities, or taking care of them. This proved to be a fulfilling way we spent time during quarantine.
Sometimes, that means getting them into our hobbies as well. Andy Bañez from our 2D Art Team shared that she taught her mom to play Animal crossing. Now, her mom has taken over the Switch (it's with her 75% of the time), playing the game while Andy is working.
A lot of us also took on new pets during quarantine, getting a new roommate in return, and sometimes, a new conversation partner.
Investing in the Long-Term
On a totally different scale, Aira Manansala from our 2D Department sold off their Nintendo Switch, iPad Pro, plus their Tamagotchi and Gudetama collections(!) to contribute to finishing their for-rent apartment. While she says she'll miss her gadgets and collections, it was also worth taking on this project as an investment for the future.
Others took advantage of this time to fund and complete other long-term projects of theirs. Including upgrading our WFH equipment with new purchases like laptops, building their own desktops, or purchasing new tablets or peripherals.
Finding What Makes Us Happy
At the end of the day, maintaining your own well-being and happiness while working from home isn’t just about buying more stuff or doing more things. It’s not even about big, long-term projects.
Whether it’s that small new addition to the work desk, or another step towards a personal project, the important thing is finding small little pockets of happiness. That means knowing what makes us happy, and contributing to it. Borrowing from wise old Gandalf—it means being kind to and loving yourself.
Along with self-care, this means making time for family, friends, and even pets. Staying engaged in healthy relationships was really beneficial for us too. They say it’s in giving, and not always in receiving, that we can find fulfillment.
These were the things that kept us happy working from home during quarantine.
If you think working and hanging out with these people is something you’d enjoy, consider joining our teams by checking out our Careers page. We’d love to have you over.