With the coronavirus-related work from home trend in full swing (with no real sign of slowing down), we’ve heard from many of our clients and colleagues who are struggling to make the transition to working from their “new office” (and getting along with “new officemates”) full time. At Perfectly Planned Content, we’ve been a 100% virtual team since we were founded in 2016. We know how lucky we have been during these times because we’ve all already acclimated to the work-from-home life and have been able to carry on in our normal (well, mostly normal) routines. We wanted to pull together a few tips for you – both to make working from home more manageable, and to use this time (even while working from home!) to better connect with your clients.
Donelle Kremke, Director of Social Media & Operations
Working from home is something I’ve done for a very long time. I love it. I love working the hours that work for me, so while most of you are still warm in your beds, I’m at my desk enjoying the creative that quiet allows. During this time, while the world is in turmoil, I am still working in the quiet that early morning affords before my fellow office mates (my husband and son) get moving on their days.
Together, my family and I are now sharing our home in Michigan with our two bernadoodles (Gus and Walt) and three cats (Charlie, Jackson, and Ollie). Being in a full time stay-at-home order with all of us under one roof has been a unique challenge! However, despite the craziness, I feel so incredibly grateful that we all are still working. It’s been a blessing that we don’t take for granted.
What does the new normal in the face of the pandemic mean for you?
I challenge you all to think about how you’re reaching out to your clients, your friends and family, and to those around you in your community; and also how you are taking care of you?
I would suggest reaching out to your clients just to see how they are doing. Are they holding it together? Are they panicked about something, finance-related or not? That personal touch means so much during times like these. It’s also a great time to put more of who you are in your content.
Doing blogs and social media posts on how to help out in your communities, learning new skills in a financial series, or just doing a piece on what you are up to and how you are handling everything. Remember that people respond to people, not companies. Social media is the way people connect with one another within their community and throughout the world, being a part of that, helps you connect with both your current clients and with future clients too. Be human, be vulnerable, be a leader that people want to connect with.
Please be safe, stay well, and encourage hopefulness.
Lauren Straley, Director of Content Writing and Strategy
I love working from home. But this love didn’t come easy. It took a lot of work, patience, and grace to adjust and find my new normal.
Moving from an office setting where I saw my coworkers every day, went for walks with them, argued over who would get to use the microwave first to heat up lunch, and bounced ideas off of them to an office where the only sounds I heard were my own fingers racing across the keyboard or the occasional passerby wasn’t fun. Many times I felt lonely and my days seemed to go by much slower than before.
But once I found a routine that really worked for me, I began to embrace all of the incredible benefits that working from home allowed me from flexibility to creativity to enhanced productivity. For me, I had to develop and set my own boundaries which meant a few important things:
- Creating designated office hours
- Leaving my house to go for walks every afternoon
- Messaging my coworkers on Slack to check-in or share an interesting article
- Committing to a workout plan (Pure Barre is my go-to)
- Getting dressed and not just staying in comfy clothes (most of the time that is)
- Taking a break to read a chapter of a book or a thought-provoking article to inspire my own work and strengthen my mind
- Prioritizing my development with courses, classes, and workshops
These are the things that over time have worked for me. I think the most important thing to do is find a routine that works for you and remember you will probably have to tinker with it until you get it right.
Start by prioritizing your day both in terms of your professional needs but also your personal needs. Working to discover that balance in these uncertain and hectic times may help to provide some solace and peace.
We are all in this together and here to support you. Here are some fun pictures depicting my work-from-home life (and yes, I made that brick wall myself!).
Zoe Meggert, Founder & CEO
I’ve been working from home since 2016, and I love getting to make my own schedule. Of course, with the coronavirus outbreak, I’m now sharing my home office with my husband, Andrew, and our two “coworkers” Dan and Susan. It’s been challenging to figure out how to share a home office with Andrew, but we’ve worked out a system we like – which is probably a good thing since his company has talked about instituting work-from-home through the fall.
The biggest thing that’s worked for us is to each set up our own dedicated “offices.” Andrew’s a Business Analyst and spends most of his day on conference calls, so he’s taken the office with a door that closes (so he can shut out our two crazy dogs when he’s got to hop into a meeting), and we’ve set up a temporary office space for me in the corner of the family room.
This way we both get to work with two screens and can keep the normal “desk comforts” (I’m never without my water bottle, and he’s devoted to his pad of sticky notes and mug of tea) we like to have around close at hand.
Each of us having our own space has been a game-changer. We tried working in the same room for the first few days of quarantine, and it had a huge impact on productivity and our general mood. We were both used to having our own space to plug in, tune out the world, and get stuff done, and not having that made life tough. Now, we’ve found that having pre-set “zones” for each of our work has helped us keep a solid work-life balance even though we’re both home 24/7.
I’ve developed a few other work-from-home habits that I love:
- I have a set morning routine that I stick to religiously. It involves breakfast, coffee, getting ready, filling up my water bottle, and filling out my daily planner. It’s small, but if I miss one of those steps or if I grab my laptop before I move through my routine, I find I’m less “in the zone” when I start work.
- I take breaks. I tend to be a constant “doer”. I struggle sitting still and I’m a to-do list aficionado. However, I also know that my productivity takes a nose dive if I don’t break up my day. I try to take a 10-minute break every 1-2 hours, and block at least 30 minutes for lunch every day. This helps me stay fresh and I’m able to work at my best!
- I go for walks. I love fitting at least one walk in every day, preferably in the morning if I’ve got time before meetings. Lately, Andrew and I have been taking the dogs out after work, too, to help unwind and create mental distance between our work day and our non-work-day.
- I have a specific desk set up that I like. Call me crazy, but I’m a believer in creature comforts. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love filling my desk with nick-nacks and clutter. However, there are a few key items I like to have on hand to make my workday flow. Personally, I keep a big water bottle, a pad of paper and a pen, my planner, and my Airpods all next to my computer. If we’re being totally honest, I also keep a pair of slippers under my desk (the office gets cold!). These items make my day easier, and make it less likely for me to get up to look for what I need (which can kill my focus).
- I block-schedule my week. Did you know I only take meetings on certain days, and at certain times? I’ve set up my Calendly to allow specific meeting types during specific windows during my week. This helps me block larger chunks of time for client work, working on the business, content creation – you name it!
Do you have any work from home tips you love? We’d love to hear them! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.