What a time to be alive! Things are rapidly changing as more of the U.S. workforce is asked to work from home (WFH as the cool kids call it). So, we thought that there’s no better time to share the best tips from our seasoned WFH consultants. To make things a little more fun and a lot more cute, we asked the beloved cats of #hobby-kittenworks to help us out.
Create a Routine
“Having a set schedule is surprisingly helpful, for both controlling eating as well as making sure you take breaks. It’s easy to stay plugged in all the time when you actually shouldn’t. So, a solid 8:30am-5:00pm with a scheduled 30 minutes for lunch at 12:00pm can give you time to walk away from the laptop/phone. Be sure to make sure that even though work is now a part of your home life, it doesn’t become your home life.” – Ben Young
“Make a schedule for yourself and have a time when you are supposed to be in the office every day. I wake up, make coffee, put on real clothes, take my dog on a long walk and then make sure I’m in front of my computer at the same time. Again, equally important, have a scheduled time where you log off. When the day is over, I don’t go back to it just because I can and it’s there.” – Michael Treadwell
“Get up and pretend like you’re going to an office: shower and get dressed in regular, non-pajama clothes (athleisure wear is totally fine lol).” – Sarah Dorfman
“Get up and walk around or move every hour. I used to set an alarm, but now my helpful apple watch yells at me 10 minutes before the hour every hour I haven’t moved around. Generally, my way of moving is having a little dance party because walking around small apartments is more like pacing, which is no fun.” – Rachel Kurtz
“I find it mind-clearing to get up and walk about at least once an hour (just a quick promenade, usually down and back up the stairs). Sometimes, even walking while pondering an issue or hard problem is beneficial (try not to walk into walls while pondering).” – Karl Young
“I like to do mini yoga stretch breaks throughout the day. A few downward dogs, forward folds and gentle back stretches really help get the blood flowing and counter the muscle movements we create by sitting at a desk all day.” – Kendra Allenspach
“I don’t WFH often, but I know one thing that helps is being far away from:
- Comfortable couches and chairs
- Any other screens aside from laptop/home office set up” – Garrett Sauls
Cats from left to right: Mickey (Jenny Parnell) and Tokyo (David Pires) show us what NOT to do when you work from home. Limit the distractions so you can focus!
Have a Designated Workspace
“Have a separate ‘office’ space in your house, complete with red stapler, desk and no TV. Basement and windows are optional.” – Danny Tishenko
“Separate workspace is a must, even if it’s a corner in your living room in your apartment. Try not to have it in the bedroom or near a nappable surface.” – Sarah Dorfman
“There’s obviously a lot of focus on how to stay focused on work while you are at home. It can also be difficult not to focus on work in the evenings because your office is right there (if possible because I know it isn’t depending on the size of your living space). Have a space where you do your work that is separate from where you live. That’s doubly important because it’s hard to work in your living space, but it’s equally difficult to live in your working space.” – Michael Treadwell
Cats from left to right: Kevin (Kendra Allenspach) is hard at work in his office, while Luna (Jacob Carpenter) and Antoinette (Brandi White) show us that working from our beds probably isn’t the best idea. Did someone say “catnap”?
Turn on Background Noise
“The one thing, though, I find hardest about working from home is the quiet. I may have NPR or soft background music on from a speaker or my phone so I hear sound/voices, or I’ll leave a news channel on in the living room.” – Sarah Dorfman
“It’s confirmed that an ambient noise similar to the one in a cafe stimulates our brains. Here is a coffee shop noise track on YouTube. I sometimes put two-three videos together and adjust the volume, like sounds of a bonfire, rain and forest.” – Igor Garlowski
“Take calls on a balcony, or put your headphones on and go for a walk.” – Michael Treadwell
“Use your camera during a virtual meeting even if you don’t have to.” – Igor Garlowski
Cats from left to right: Blue (Teresa Corder), Magic (Tracy O’Connell) and Lafawnduh (Kirsten Hoffman) model the latest in conference call locales – just be careful if you go outside to stay away from other neighborhood cats.
“I would munch my way through the day if I didn’t set specific ‘snack times’ (usually mid-morn and mid-afternoon). Sometimes, I can tell what time it is by a craving (‘Oh, it must be 3:30’).” – Karl Young
Now Back to Work!
We hope you found these tips helpful and that they ease you into your new normal for the time being. While the situation may not be ideal for all, be sure to take some time and consider all the positive aspects that come with working from home and you’ll be a pro in no time. You never know – you could like it more than you thought you would.
My colleague Karl Young says it best:
“The best thing for me is the wave of gratitude I feel every time I pause to consider how lucky I am to work from home. It’s truly been a life-long dream.”
Also, thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas. No cats were harmed in the making of this blog.