There is a lot of good that comes with working from home: mopping during a conference call, more time with our 4-legged friends, only getting ready from the waist up. But there's also a lot to be missed (communicating with people IRL, the fun breaks at the corner 3rd wave coffee shop, the free snacks, maybe even that commute where you got to call friends, play your favorite jams or listen to your favorite podcasts.
Ryan and I started working from home about a year before COVID19 hit. And for a really long time I was a little lost on what to do with myself or how to manage my time. When everyone started working from home in March of this year, it was a blessing and a curse for me. It was bad for business and put a strain on J&J Vending but it was also really nice to have all of my friends and family members experience the same struggles I had been trying to overcome for about a year.
Real talk. Before COVID19 it wasn't okay to talk about the struggles of working from home. People who didn't work from home could only see the benefits and didn't understand why it might be a struggle. "Why are you complaining? You have no commute and get to wear sweat pants whenever you want." Although those are all very valid statements, they also left out a bigger part of the picture and completely negated any claim that working from home might be challenging.
Now that we are all in the same boat, I've had more people to talk to; more resources to dive into and here are 5 of the things that have helped me.
Still Commute - that's right. That is not a typo. I don't mean that you need to physically get into the car (although if that helps go for it, just make sure if you turn that engine on and leave it in park that you are in a well ventilated area). Okay, now that that stipulation is out of the way, what do I mean? I mean physically leave your house. Go on a walk, take the dog on walk, listen to your music/podcasts, call a friend. Whatever you used to love about your commute, do your best to replicate that, even if in a mini way. When you get back, pour yourself a cup of coffee and then go to your desk and start working because you are officially at work. This also works in reverse. Want to clearly end your work day? Then "commute" back home. And when you get home don't go back to work.
Get a Comfortable Chair - If you are still working at the kitchen table enough is enough. Get a proper setup even if that means converting a spare closet into an "office." What did you love about your old office space? Do your best to replicate that at home and make sure your desk and chair are visual representations that you appreciate your body. (Being hunched over a counter top or slouching on your bed do not scream self-love).
Order Snacks - Come on you guys! I'm the Vendor's Daughter, there was no way I was not going to say order snacks. I LOVE snacks. And it turns out I'm not the only one. In fact one of the #1 things people list that they miss while working from home are the free snacks they used to get at the office. I have a super strong bias on this but I love my Oh Goodie! Box. Why? It's affordable (on par with all major competitors), it offers more premium snacks (not just a Costco special in disguise) and it features emerging brands (aka small businesses).
Keep the Window Open - You might be saying, "Jenny I didn't even have a window in my previous office, why would I need to open a window now?" Well, the short answer is this, "because I said so." Just kidding. Your old office most likely had a high powered ventilation system. Your home does not. Which means when you cook, when you use the restroom, when you breathe out CO2 all of that lingers in your home's air. Open a window to get better circulation and higher levels of oxygen in your space. You should find that you have fewer headaches, increased concentration and get less sleepy.
Take a Real Break - When it's time for a snack/coffee break or your lunch, try not to take it at your desk. For one, it will help you keep a tidier work space but more importantly it gives your brain a break. Change your scenery, go on another walk or simply take lunch at the kitchen table and you should find that when you do get back to your computer, your genius will flow a little more naturally.
Alright you guys, those are my top 5. We've had two really great guests on the podcast recently that have dived into this topic a little bit more. Keep scrolling for those links.
You can order your own Oh Goodie! Box at ohgoodiebox.com. My favorite is the 30 count subscription (I started with a 15 count box but Ryan and I both wanted everything and don't share well).
If you are interested in digging deeper than listen to Episode 67 "How to Productively Work from Home" and Episode 73 "Stop Hitting Snooze on Hard Conversations" with Courtney Ramsey.