If you’re looking for tips and best practices for working-from-home during this coronavirus pandemic, I got you! I’ve been working from home since 2010. I pretty much have it down to a science; however, it wasn’t always that way. Working from home takes discipline, time management skills, prioritizing and a damn good espresso machine! For reals though, working-from-home can be a challenge if you have never done it. The idea may seem desirable, but you really need to make sure you check yourself in order to ensure productivity and success.
In all honestly, it took me a good year to get on a successful work-from-home, routine. During this covid-19 social-distancing quarantine, nobody has that kind of time to master working from home; however, I hope my 10 years of remote work experience can help ease your transition. Here’s my tips for working-from-home!
1. Create A Work Space That Inspires, and Makes You Happy AF
You’ll probably be working from home through a good chunk of April, so it’s important that you set up a proper workspace; one that inspires you to be productive. I have my desk in our office / guest room; but to be honest, I am happiest working in the open space of our kitchen-dining-room-living-room. It’s such a bright open floor plan with large windows adorned by oaks and palm trees, that I almost feel like I’m outside.
If you don’t already have a home office and / or desk, it’s probably best that you create a productive workspace in an area that will “spark joy” (as Mari Kondo would say…) You want this home workspace to make you happy AF and productive AF! This could be your kitchen table, a special chair, even your bed! Or it can be a combination of the three. Whichever you choose, you need to make sure you have a solid workstation set up that includes the following:
- Computer (and VPN needs)
- Charging station
- Printer (if required)
- Safe area for coffee and beverages
I have my main workspace set up in our kitchen, however, I am no stranger to switching things up.
2. Work Your Usual Hours
This isn’t an excuse for you to start working at 11am when you know damn well you’re are usually sending your first email by 8am. You especially need to consider this if your job entails different time zone communications. Stick to your usual office hours and think of this as an opportunity to prove your work-from-home ethic and discipline.
3. Start a New Routine
Whether you get up every morning for a run before even opening your emails; or you scan your emails before getting out of bed, you need to start a routine in order to work from home successfully. Don’t just wing it. Everyone is different. I, for the most part, work from home with a toddler. I don’t change my clothes, and sometimes don’t even get to brush my teeth until 10am! But this works for me. I prioritize and manage my time wisely. Some people need to shower first thing before even considering having their coffee. Others, wobble over to their coffee machine, stank breath, bedhead and all (*raises hand).
Just make sure your routine inspires discipline and productivity.
4. Rotate Your Workstation
Despite having my workstation set up in the kitchen, I am all about rotating my workspace. First thing in the morning, I usually work from my cozy-ass bed with my adorable toddler snuggled up next to me. I use this time to scan emails and make sure nothing urgent is taking place. From there, I head to the kitchen (#BecauseCoffee) and switch between sitting at the kitchen table or standing at the kitchen island. After lunch, I usually kick my legs up and work from our chaise lounge. In the late afternoon, I like to take my work outside for an hour or so while my daughter plays at the park. Since we are all on a self-quarantine and practicing social-distancing, our park time has turned into playing in the front yard / chilling on the stoop. If you have a backyard, take full advantage of this luxury during the coronavirus outbreak. Trust, it will help alleviate cabin fever.
5. Take Breaks with Movement
Working from home during covid-19 is not a reason to stay sedentary. Since you won’t be taking your usual strolls to the water cooler, nor visiting different areas of your office, it’s important to take plenty of moving mini breaks between 5-15 minutes. This will keep your body stay in motion and help break the monotony. Be sure to manage your time wisely and stay on schedule by using a timer. I use my iPhone’s timer.
Here are some things I do to say in motion while working from home.
- 15-minute walk
- Meditate / Breathing Exercises
- Dancing with my toddler
- Jumping Jacks
- Self-Care (shower, face mask, etc.)
Please note, plenty of breaks with movement are especially important when you are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic because you are more than likely not set up with an ergonomic workspace.
6. Stay In Motion While You’re Working
You know what’s really shitty for your lower back and pretty much your entire body? Staying seated in a non-ergonomic office chair for more than an hour. As I previously mentioned, I like to switch it up from seated computer work to standing computer work. Since I work from home most day with a toddler, I am in constant motion. If you don’t have a toddler to keep you moving, here are some ways you can get work done while staying in motion.
- Pace around your home while taking calls that don’t require your computer. My husband is notorious for this. Do lunges, squats, and / or stairs (if you have them in your home).
- Strengthen your core and improve your posture with a cushy balancing disc. This wobbly disc cushion is also great for any seated coccyx discomfort.
- You can also opt for an exercise ball. It all depends on how much space you have.
- And if you really want to go all out, or are making your work-from-home transition permanent. I highly recommend one of these.
- Get your calf raises on while doing standing computing.
7. Take Your Lunch Break!
I’m terrible at this, mainly because I have a toddler to tend to, but you gotta take your lunch break! Don’t let work swallow you. Fix your lunch, read a book, turn on the T.V., do whatever will help you tune out of work. Any seasoned remote-worker will tell you that this is probably the hardest aspect of working-from-home. The lines of when to stop “working” often get blurred. Once you work-from-home, you pretty much work 24-7. With that said, taking at least 30 minutes for a lunch break with absolutely no work involved is so important. This will reinvigorate your creative juices and all around work-flow. Take your damn break! Wash your damn hands!
8. Communicate with Your Partner or Roomate
Chances are, you’re not the only person working from home during the covid-19 outbreak. Like with all relationships, communication is of the utmost importance. This is especially crucial if you have children at home! My husband and I have a shared calendar (on our iPhones) where he inputs all of his meetings. We have calendar alerts to remind us of future meetings. We also start every morning with a conversation about what our day / week is looking like.
9. Play Some Awesome Music
Of course the music blogger and family that works in the music industry is going to tell you to blast dope music all day! For reals though, music feeds the soul, and if you operate anything like I do, music motivates me. An incredible playlist can help you move mountains. A shitty playlist can really sour your workflow (like it does mine in some spin classes).
If you haven’t already, download Spotify and start streaming music!
Follow Grimy Goods’ Best New Songs of the Month playlist to hear cool music from unsigned, independent, lesser-known, and some well-known indie acts. This is a great way to discover new bands and singers that you don’t hear on the radio.
Follow this playlist for some badass, women who rock inspo.
Follow this playlist to hear kid-friendly cool music! None of that Baby Shark nonsense.
Follow Grimy Goods for access to all of our custom playlists.
10. Other Useful Tips
No shoes in the house! You know how many germs are on your shoes?! Don’t even get me started. We’re all about these house slippers! They’re so good for your feet too!
Wash hands as soon as you enter your home. Whether you just checked the mail or came back from a grocery run, WASH YOUR HANDS immediately. Get yourself some nice hand soap and make it a bit of self-care you look forward to doing every day. I adore this citrus mimosa hand wash and this pear lavender hand wash. If you need something with extra moisturizing, this bar soap is fantastic for your personal use.
Get a bidet to help ease anxiety from toilet paper always being out-of-stock due to greedy hoarders. We also use these soft bamboo wash cloths for heavy-duty bidet action (usually #2). These washcloths are perfect for single-use and will dry your bum quicker and less wasteful than toilet paper. Set aside a separate bin for your wash cloths.
How are you surviving the covid-19 work-from-home transition? Would love to hear your tips and advice for working from home, as well as what products have helped you successfully work-from-home during the coronavirus pandemic. Leave a comment or join the conversation via my Instagram posts and Stories.
Be healthy, be mindful and be compassionate.
Words: Sandra B. Olinger
P.S. This is what working-from-home with a toddler looks like. More tips on that particular challenge soon!