VSG’s Tips for Working From Home

With our EIGHTH WEEK in quarantine coming to a close, we’ve had to get creative and find new ways to adapt to our working rhythm. We are so grateful to have jobs that allow us to continue to serve our clients from home and we acknowledge what luxury it is to have to balance our productivity with our lives in a remote environment. We recently asked the team to jot down, in a few sentences, what are some of the ways they are staying motivated and keeping their sanity while being stuck at home. Here are some of our favorites:

Heather Marshman, Account Manager

I started walking in the mornings and at lunch. It helps to get outside and get the endorphins flowing for generating ideas and increasing productivity. 

I changed my mindset. In the beginning, I thought the quarantine was something we had to “get through”. Just put my head down and suffer through it. A few weeks into it, I realized I needed to shift my thinking. Now my approach is how can I best take advantage of this time we’ve been given? What are things I am able to do now I couldn’t do before?

Jared Eddy, Web Development

Routine Routine Routine

With working from home, the biggest hurdle everyone struggles with is the transition from “I’m at work” to “I’m at home”, for obvious reasons. However, a routine can be your savior here. Having a routine to start and end your day gives your body and mind the triggers they need to recognize that work is starting or ending. A great starting routine could be to journal and have your morning coffee/tea. This helps get your mind clear and ready for work. A great ending routine is an exercise because it feels like you’ve left and come back. Whatever you find works for you just remember to stick to it consistently every day that you work. It might take some time at first but you’re training your brain with triggers when to focus and when to relax.

Get Dressed You Slob

It’s easy to slip into the habit of wearing pajamas while working from home. Though tempting, what you’re wearing can have a huge impact on your mindset. For instance, think about how you felt while sitting in pajamas watching Netflix over the weekend vs. the feeling you felt when you dressed up for a fancy event. You don’t have to put on formal wear every day, but it should be something you’d feel comfortable wearing to work. The way we perceive how we look plays a major role in feeling “on” or “off” and can affect our productivity.

🎶 I’m a little remote worker in my house, here is my workstation, here is my couch 🎶

Whether you work at your dining room table or in a home office, the place you work needs to be different than the place you play. Mixing your work area with your relaxation zone blurs the boundaries between work and home. Not following this rule will contribute to working longer as well as feeling more distracted while you work. This is why studies show students test better when testing in the same environment they learned in. Our brains are phenomenal at associating mindset, memories, motivation, etc. with a physical space. So use it to your advantage and separate the space you work in from the space you relax in.

Isolationation

Working from home is nothing if not distracting. There are family members who aren’t working, pets, chores, hobbies, etc. all fighting for your attention while you work. The only way to minimize these is to isolate yourself to a space where you can be alone with your work. Ideally with a locked door. Imagine giving a TED talk while someone in the audience keeps interrupting you with unrelated questions. Maybe you’re great at ignoring them at first but eventually, you’re going to divert your attention towards them. This is what trying to work from home with people who aren’t your coworkers is like. Not that they have ill intentions, they just enjoy spending time with you and it can be an adjustment getting used to not having access to your immediate attention when you’re around them.

Don’t have the space for a home office? Get creative, hang blankets up to form walls, move furniture to accommodate. Shortly after the COVID-19 “Stay home, stay safe” order forced us to work remotely in our 675sq.ft. apartment, we decided to rearrange things to make things a little easier on ourselves. So we moved the office into the bedroom and put our bed out in the living room. It was weird at first but it’s temporary and it allowed us to isolate ourselves and focus. Even when the other wasn’t working.

Nate Hodge, Web Developer

Take advantage of natural light and air. Crack those blinds, open that window. And switch up your lighting and mood when you can. For me, it changes the scene in a subtle way so you don’t burn out sitting at your desk. Do it with natural light vs house lighting and turn on some music. Different aromas like candles or incense work too! So try changing some little things to help keep things fresh.

Sarah Bradshaw, Designer

I wear my air pods to keep outside noises and distractions to a minimum. If I feel motivation is lacking, I’ll set a timer or watch the clock and work in 30 min increments. I’ll get as much work done as I can in those 30 mins, then take about a 5 min break after. This makes the initial start on projects seem less daunting. Usually, motivation gets rolling again within the hour.

Katie Price, Marketing Project Manager

Blue light blocking glasses really do make a difference. 

When you’re at the store, buy yourself flowers/houseplants and would echo Nate’s note about windows open and fresh air. Bringing the outdoors in can do wonders for keeping you alert and focused and just more at peace. 

Also, I’ve found switching up my playlists/music genres/podcasts I listen to based on the tasks I have at hand has allowed me to change up my environment and give a little bit more variety to break up the day.

After every meeting has ended, stand up, move away from your workspace for a couple of minutes and give yourself a short screen break. 

As a large portion of the nation continues working from home, it is important to change your mindset and try some new things to shake up the rut you’re in. Clearly this topic lit a few sparks and is a passion for us…

All jokes aside, we hope you find some of these tips helpful and we would encourage you to give some of them a try. Even if they seem silly or like they won’t do anything, you’d be surprised to see how much little adjustments can impact your motivation while working from home.

If you liked what you read, need some marketing help, or are just looking for someone to talk to in this time of isolation, please reach out! We would love to connect and meet over a virtual coffee.

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