Well, here we are ー in our respective homes, working together-yet-apart in order to get it done like never before!
Before diving into our work from home tips, we must express our gratitude for and ability to be equipped with the capacity to remain open while working from home right now. We also want to let our readers know that if their jobs have been negatively impacted or lost due to our unfortunate, unprecedented national emergency, we are here for you and would love to help you through this immensely challenging time. If you’re looking for a job, check out our openings and apply directly on our website. Or, submit a general job application or job order. We’re at the ready to hop on a call or video chat to catch up and help to the best of our ability.
As for how we’re coping with working from home with no end date, here goes!
Many of our work-from-home dreams have come true on one hand, yet for some, are simultaneously serving as a lesson in, “be careful what you wish for” on the other. These sentiments are in regards to being thrust into an indefinite state of full-time working from home given our national state of emergency due to COVID-19. Eliminating the drudgery of commuting and the often impossible-to-escape distractions of office life is really nice in the beginning, but when reality sets in, working from home long-term can pose challenges. Whether you’re managing your family, elder care, roommates, pets or partners (or any combination of these parties!), this new normal we’ve been forced into is NOT always easy! Here at Clarity, some members of our Team are WFH veterans, and others are just getting their feet wet and learning day by day on how to optimize their time while remaining productive and sane. Below are contributions from our Team on how they make WFH work for them…
On building routines:
Deana: Make time for shared lunch breaks with your new co-workers (aka your family or roommates) so you can all sit and catch up together during a designated time each day.
Sarah: Build and STICK to a routine ー morning rituals like making coffee, stretching and/or exercising and scheduled lunch breaks are essential! Treat yourself in the afternoon to a tasty snack as a reward for all of your hard work.
On sharing space:
Deana: Set up different work areas if possible and communicate when you can’t be disturbed (calls, video meetings etc.). If you have a spouse or partner, make sure you are both in-synch with each others’ schedules so you can lead the charge together for your family.
Kolt: If you have a partner or roommate you’re used to socializing with, try to create space boundaries during focused work time. My partner and I are working in separate rooms, and trying to keep conversation to a minimum and just check in with each other every couple hours to keep distractions to a minimum.
Serena: Your shared space is more than where you sit, but also what you hear! My husband and I alternate who has Sonos control so we can vary music, or play an interesting podcast or NPR show when we’re both home working. We’ve also recognized the importance of making space for a good album or record (and playing it all the way through) since the news can be very overwhelming and upsetting. I’m also a big fan of instilling “quiet hours” for part of the day. This is very helpful when I’m trying to deeply focus on things like writing.
On family management:
Deana: Help your kids by setting up their day and build a schedule as best you can. Make sure expectations are set each day. Consider increments of 30 minutes of work followed by 30 minutes of free time for the younger ones, and an hour of work at a time for the middle school / highschoolers. Try to replicate what their school schedule might look like, and schedule in breaks too. I also love delegating “work”! I had one of my daughters help me organize some resumes and she felt part of my day which was fun for both of us (and helpful!).
Beth: Paranoia can run high these days and you ーor your husband ;-)ーmay feel staying in the house or yard are the only safe spots for your kids. If this is your current situation, make a schedule for each day to efficiently manage your family’s time. Chart out which parent has the child during which times, and plan activities or “missions” for the child during that time (example: outdoor worm hunt if you have outdoor space, building a fort, training for the zombie apocalypse, etc). During these times spent with your child or children, don’t be glued to your phone! Use the opportunity to fully focus on the activity at hand and alternate throughout the day. When you’re on child duty, the other parent or partner has “deep work focus” time, and then you can switch it up.
On boosting productivity:
Alex: I keep my phone in a separate room from where I’m working. The temptation of checking news articles or social media is really high ーespecially when working from homeー so I’ve found it a lot easier to focus when my phone is out of reach.
Vanessa: I make sure to sit in the sunniest area of my apartment when possible and crack the window open daily to get some fresh air. A breath of fresh air and some sunlight can really make a difference!
Colleen R.: You may not have the full set up that you have in the office (ie. we have double monitors in our office, so it’s a big difference working off of one small laptop screen). But, it helps a lot to have a set workstation. The first couple of days, I was bouncing around my house and sitting at all different places, and I finally found I got less distracted and more productive when I really set aside an “office” for myself and committed to it.
Kolt: Airpods are a game changer since I’m frequently switching between my laptop to cell phone all day — and they just sync so easily!
Serena: Ordering a wireless mouse, keyboard and laptop stand have been immensely helpful and have alleviated neck strain I used to experience hunching over a laptop! I also try to work at a proper table for the majority of the day and allow myself to move to the couch only in the mid-late afternoon. Working in bed is a no-no in my book, as is wearing PJs all day!
On self care:
Val: Watching the news all day is not only bad for your general well-being (it can cause extreme anxiety), but it can be very distracting… so try NOT to! Allow yourself to check in on the news only at certain points in the day, or after you’ve completed big tasks on your to-do list. We all want to be informed during this stressful time, but so much of the news is simply re-hashing stories that can cause your mental health and productivity to take a major hit. I also have been sitting on an exercise ball to help my core strength and balance!
Devin: 30 minute workouts/HIIT classes are how I’ve been starting my day, and I’ve been working out more than ever! If I don’t do it first thing, I’ll make too many excuses throughout the day, so it’s been a great ritual. Allin by teddi is 30 days of 30 minute cardio workouts for free that I’ve been doing daily and do not require equipment!
Serena: I’ve found a lot of great workouts online for free that start around 20minutes long. Some amazing workout studios are also making special offers for their members right now, so check out what your favorite places are doing and get active! I combine a late morning or early afternoon workout or stretch sesh with lunchtime so I feel recharged and fueled to conquer the afternoon.
Julia: When you don’t have the distractions of an office environment, it’s easy to over-work yourself and lose track of time. So whether it’s making yourself a healthy smoothie to start the day or carving out 45 minutes for an afternoon workout, it’s important to take care of yourself and incorporate breaks!
Good luck acclimating to your new normal, whatever that may be, and take good care of yourselves! We’d also love to hear your WFH tips ー crowdsourcing and using technology to share advice and wisdom has never been more important than it is now. Feel free to shoot us an email with questions, additions or comments right to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember — we’re all in this together!