As many who have worked their way up in the fashion industry will attest, a few nights of working late comes par for the course. So while this should never be the rule at any company, it is normally ok if this only happens a few times a year during busy periods. For example, during London Fashion Week, the design studio team will often work together, late into the night to ensure every sequin is secured and crease steamed out for show day. Far from being a pain, these occasions can be team-building. Especially if you get to hang out with the male models during late-night fitting sessions… No, just me??
So how do you navigate the task of working late, whilst remaining productive and not burning out, here are my top tips:
As I outlined above, if you work in a design studio, busy periods will normally centre around fashion week, so you may be on-call to help out for longer hours. What is reassuring though, is that – in some very organised cases – this may only be the week leading up to the main show. Alternatively, if you work in product development or production you may need to put in the hours to get your tech packs out in time for those samples to go into the showrooms, ready for selling season.
Open-plan offices are constantly abuzz and filled with distractions. So, there may be times when staying late seems like the only option to get your work completed but it’s important to remember that it’s a well-known fact that productivity starts to drop off after 5pm.
So, set a schedule for any working late sessions and set out exactly what project or piece of work you will complete in your over-time, and ensure you set a time that you will leave the office.
MUSIC AND MUNCHIES
The snack maketh the woman. It can be tempting to stock up on cheesy Wotsits (best crisps ever), those 5 chocolate bars for £3 deals, and an avocado, because, you know #health goals. But if you know that you’re going be working late during the week, it’s important to give your body the fuel it needs to remain productive for longer. Healthier options will help you avoid sugar crashes and headaches.
The playlist is also key to working late survival. I find my usual music tastes too distracting. Classical music is thought by some to improve concentration but podcasts can also help you focus and actually make the time go by faster. Though be warned, you may get some strange looks from the cleaners who are wondering why you keep kiki-ing at your desk.
Life, and yes that includes your work life, is all about balance. So if you’ve worked a 14-hour shift you need to plan in some self-care time. This can actually be a really helpful motivational tool when you know you’ve got some long days of work ahead. Give yourself something to look forward to after an evening working late or at the end of the week. A DIY facial, an addition to your wardrobe, anything that will make you feel rewarded. This will help you retain your sanity and fight off any burnout that can come from working long hours.
TOP TIP: Find out if your company offers time in lieu. There’s nothing more motivating than knowing you’re working late to earn a three day weekend! You can also utilise your downtime to write down any learning’s from the week, and plan in ways to work more efficiently in the future.
It’s normal for companies, especially those in fashion, to have busy periods. Every role has a natural ebb and flow when it comes to workload. Working late is part of the career package as it’s important to show you are willing to achieve goals. Hopefully, my tips will help make your extra office hours more productive and enjoyable!
Words by Angela Baidoo