Work From Home


Playbook: How to Succeed While Working From Home

Many of you are taking your lunch breaks at your own kitchen table, your commute has shortened from your bed to your couch or at-home desk, and your new coworkers are your kids, spouses or roommates.

If you’re currently making this adjustment to follow the CDC's social distancing guidelines, no doubt it has been a jarring transition. Not only is the world functioning completely differently than it has in modern times, we are stuck watching it from our windows.

Most of us rely on body cues to help us transition throughout our day. Sunlight stops our natural melatonin production and tells us to wake up. The smell of baking cookies makes our stomachs growl. Putting on our favorite workout playlist gets us geared up for a walk or run. Our bodies like cues to what’s next—they respond to them.

As we all wake up, pour coffee, and head to our couch for a full day of work, most of those cues are missing. We don’t have our favorite podcast, e-book or playlist for our commute. We don’t have the smell of the office, the whirring of a computer starting up, the first hello from a customer or coworker to get ourselves in our usual workflow.

We can, however, give our bodies some of the normal cues we are missing with a few simple steps, kicking us into a good working mindset.

Noises - Set the right work mood

Home sounds are home sounds—kids playing with toys, your roommates playing their video games, your spouse using their conference-call voice that you’ve never heard before. Work sounds are totally different and can give your body another cue that it’s time to get back to business. Office sound can help kick your brain into a more active thinking mode simply due to the association. In order to get into a good mindset when working from home, turn on familiar office sounds to create a work mindset (especially if you have kids and can hear them running around) These sounds can also work if you are a student studying and want to mask the noise of your family and housemates! Enjoy, and we hope you get your work done - you can do it!  Plenty of websites and apps offer soundtracks of busy offices, coffee shops, and even thunderstorms. Click here to get the sounds

Set up a separate space for work

Even if your home is a 400 square foot studio where your bed doubles as a dining table, you can set up a separate work space. Find a chair and put a big book on your lap to function as a lapdesk (or just order a lapdesk online). Sit at the kitchen table, but pull up a different chair than your dining room chair, so you can clue your body and brain that this isn’t dinner time. If you have an extra room, go in there and close the door.

Whatever you choose, communicate it to your family, roommates and friends. Now, when commerce needs to keep moving, it’s more important than ever to have healthy boundaries around your work life, and your home life.

If you share a work-at-home space and don’t have the luxury of a spare bedroom to use as an office space, consider using your headphones as a boundary, even if you don’t have anything playing in them. When people see your headphones are in, they are far less likely to interrupt you while you’re working.

Get dressed

Another cue you can give your body is to get changed in the morning. You don’t have to put on a suit (maybe), but you do need to put on clothes you feel you can work in. Wearing the same sweatpants everyday might seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t give you the mental cue you need to feel productive.

Maintain your remote team

Working from home is like any other long-distance relationship. It takes closeness and plenty of communication to stay connected. Sometimes you may feel like you’re over-communicating, but you’re probably not! Follow up with previous emails and meetings, set reminders to check in, set meetings for updates, reattach any files to new emails that are needed to save time from searching and let people know when you’ll be out of the “office” at doctor’s appointments or for lunch breaks.

Communicating can go a long way to build trust, whether you’re an employee, manager or business owner. Trust that your manager is doing what they can to make this time easier on you. Trust that your employee wants to continue working, and is doing their best to keep commerce running.

Get moving

In the mornings, you probably used to have at least a little bit of a walk, even if it was just to your car or desk. Take the time to walk around the block, if you can, safely, while social distancing. If not, do some stretching, yoga, or any other kind of movement you can. It gets the blood flowing and starts waking you up.

If you find yourself dozing during the day, grab some water, tea, coffee, and do a few quick movements. Click here for Home Workouts