Working from home: How to make it work for you. Yes, even you.

Champion Moderator
Champion Moderator

I'm the last person I ever thought would be writing about working from home. I've dabbled in remote work throughout my career but have never been a 100% remote employee – until now.  

 

As many of us transitioned to a virtual work environment this year, we heard the tried and true tips from our fellow work-from-home pros on how to make the most out of working virtually, such as establishing a defined work space (that isn’t your couch). And while these recommendations are sound and helpful, when I transitioned to working from home this spring it took a while for it all to click together.

 

As I sat in my 900-square foot apartment from a dining room chair with hair that hadn’t been washed in who-knows-how-long, I felt like I couldn’t hack the work-from-home gig

 

Fast forward to now, it’s finally making sense.... but not because I enacted a magical list of 20 habits or bought a $1,000 desk chair. 

 

Instead, it’s finally making sense because I stopped listening to everyone else and started listening to what I needed (ironic that I’m now writing a post about it, right?). So if you’re still tinkering with your WFH environment or schedule, or looking for a way to change it up, I'm sharing tips that helped me finally find productivity and success. Buckle up!

 

 

1. Decide where you're happiest and work from there

A productive space is important, but being able to change your scenery, especially right now and especially if you're in a small space, is equally important. Spending time by a window, curled up in a comfy chair, or even outside is a game changer. Which leads to…

 

2. Unplug from your monitors [gasp!]

Feeling antsy in the same chair going from one virtual meeting to the next? Add an hour or two of working directly from a laptop from a different space, or take your next call while walking outside. It doesn’t work for all projects, but when you get the chance it’s worth it.    

 

         

3. Join that group you’ve been meaning to join

By now, most organizations and groups have moved to virtual meetings, which are wayyyy easier to join as a newbie. Join the next virtual MUG (Marketo User Group) meeting in your area - or beyond - to keep learning and connecting with other marketing professionals, and to break up the monotony. 

 

4. Keep weekly goals

It’s easy for a single day to disappear into meetings, requests, a fire drill, or just a tough mental health day. Keeping weekly goals can help you feel less pressure during a single day to always be on, while at the same time helping you see progress in the long run.             

     

 

5. Conquer the messes that drive you crazy

Clutter, messes, cords, piles of dishes… Take care of them for an hour on the weekend, and for 10 minutes at the end of each day so you don’t constantly get annoyed and distracted by them while conquering your workday. You owe yourself a Zen workspace.

 

 

6. Establish new routines

Take the opportunity now to claim time on your calendar to tackle the tasks that are easy to push off but pay off in the long run. Here are a few to get you started:

 

7. Don't let 9-5 rule your life

If you don’t feel productive, step away and come back later. Don’t bang your head against a wall if it’s not working.

 

 

8. Find a (virtual) outside-of-work accountability partner

Challenge yourselves to something fun and/or wacky that you can put 15-60 minutes of your morning towards just for you (doing 100 sit ups each day, reading one book per week, binging a new Netflix show), and get your day started on the right foot. You’ll feel more ready to jump into work.

 

 

9. Blast your favorite playlist

If you’re one of those people who can’t listen to music while you work, then this isn’t for you. But I’m of the mindset that music makes everything better, including work. Scour Spotify for old classics or new friends - whatever boosts your mood and productivity - when it’s time to dive into a big project. My recent favorite is Spotify’s Songs to Sing in the Car playlist.

 

 

10. Mix up your virtual meetings

You can invite llamas and flamingos and giraffes to your next meeting. No I’m not kidding. Yes you should do it. We all need a break from the usual “I think you’re still on mute,” amirite? Sure, it may not be as productive as a usual meeting, but it boosts morale so it’s a win in the end 😉

 

 

 

Hope these tips help you become the best work-from-home version of yourself possible!

 

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8 Comments
Level 7 - Champion

As someone who transitioned to a role that has me permanently working from home recently, I'm so here for this @Carrie_Chandle1!

 

I especially agree on the productivity point: sitting staring at a screen achieving nothing is of no benefit to you or your employer! If your head isn't in the right space, persisting because you feel like you have to be seen to be "working" is often going to be more damaging to your productivity, and to your mood. Get up - go for a walk, play with your pet, do some stretching, have a shower (you're home - why not!). I often find taking 15 minutes to disconnect and get some head space helps me reset - it makes me happier and more productive in the long run. 

 

But at the same time, that blurring between home space and work space is a double edged sword. So while I love being able to take a break to be at home, I also find it really important for me to have a clear distinction of work space and home space. Having flexibility is fantastic, not being glued to the 9-5, but at the same time it's really important to be able to fully shut off from work and be home. For me, I find having a designated home office space that I can shut the door on and leave when I'm not working is a really important part of helping me maintain a bit of healthy separation 🙂 

Level 6 - Champion

         3) Join that group you’ve been meaning to join

 

Finally got back into my book club this month, couldn't agree more with this advice!

Level 6 - Champion Alumni

I really want to bring a llama to my next virtual meeting. That sounds like a fun time! 🙂

Champion Moderator

@Amber_Hobson you should do it! We had a virtual meeting with a local zoo and we got to meet a Kinkajou... super cute.

 

@Grace_Brebner3 that's a great point about having distinction between work/home time and or space... it can help save sanity. I currently don't have a separate room that can be used as an office, so I focus on having an end-of-work routine where I purposefully put my laptop away and clean up my area so that work feels "done" for the day.

I've been WFH for almost a full year now and I love it. I've always stuck to a routine which made the transition easier. Wake up, work out, shower, eat, log on. I stick to a quitting time and unless I'm putting out fires I shut everything down. This really helps me separate work from my personal life because my office is in our living room. 

I was working from home for approximately two months before we transitioned back into the office.  I have to say, it was one of the most productive things ever.  Routine is definitely important. 

Great advice, Carrie! I had never been remote before March and I definitely never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do. I don't have space for a separate office, but having an end of work day routine helps!

Level 5 - Champion

These are all really great @Carrie_Chandle1 ! I think it's important that you customize your wfh routine to fit your productivity and lifestyle. I love having flexible hours to spend more time with my son and work while he is in bed on the days I really miss him. I used to feel guilty about doing so - but now I know what works for me AND I am more productive than I ever used to be - love that you're normalizing that mantra.