Gaby’s everyday home office mates that keep her healthy, positive and productive — baby bamboo, diffuser for a concentration/health boost when needed, happiness essential oil (literally the name of it️), hand lotion and a rose quartz crystal ball that keep her hands and heart soft and shining (and, of course, water!).
You may or may not know this, but the DoneGood team has always been a remote team! We have team members in Colorado, Boston, and even Brazil! I’m personally writing this from my apartment in Portland, Oregon, and I thought that it could be helpful to hear from our team some Do's and Don’ts about the work from home life.
Gaby, Mapper of Good:
- - Find a perfect playlist that energizes you and keep a productive and positive atmosphere around your desk.
- - Take some breaks to catch fresh air (even if it’s just going to your window while looking at the view outside your house). It helps to freshen up the brain and also relaxing your eyes from too much screen time.
- Remember to get up from your desk and walk from time to time. Makes good water breaks. Without a regular office where you’d walk to talk to your colleague or to get some paperwork, at a home office it’s easier to forget and get caught up sitting for hours. Your body needs to get the blood flowing, stretch your legs and back, and get your eyes off the screen for a bit!
- - Procrastinate starting off your workday. A flexible me time in the morning is delightful, but if you keep pushing your work to start later, you’ll start catching yourself working until late at night. Stay on a schedule and you’ll get a healthier daily flow :)
- - Work in PJs. Well, I haven’t done that myself, but I know when I’m in my pajamas my body thinks it’s relax time and I just feel lazy. PJs and productivity are not a good match, at least for me!
Todd, Head of Growing Good:
- - Take time to connect with your co-workers as often as you can.
- - Have a dedicated place to work. When you blend living space with working space, it’s a slippery slope to no boundaries between work and personal life. So carve out an area for a work desk that doesn’t serve another purpose in your life.
- - Use the flexibility to your benefit… Sure, working from home means no commute so you can start and end your day when you want. Or pick things up later…but be careful not to lose control!
- - Snack all day. I don’t feel bad at all about the afternoon cookie or granola bar, but a bag of chips or candy at the desk? Don’t do it. That bag will be gone before you realize it!
- - Eat meals at your desk. That time stepping away gives a little psychological separation that can help you have a really productive afternoon when you return.
- - Forgo a schedule! If you work too much, the quality of work is going to suffer so be mindful of that. And conversely, don’t let personal obligations bleed into work time to the point that it impacts the timeliness and quality of your work. It’s always going to be a work in progress. You may go overboard one way or the other one day or one week so just be aware and take steps to strike that balance in the long term.
Rachel’s dog Fenway and cat Oliver are always nearby!
Rachel, Head of Good Partnerships:
My best work from home tips are all about managing your energy and wellbeing so you can stay balanced, productive and happily engaged in your work.
- - Surround yourself by plants and sit near a window for natural light.
- - Sit on a stability ball for good posture
- - Take walks outside to clear your mind as well as a way to get in movement during calls
- - Stay hydrated and nourished…I constantly drink water or herbal tea
- - Make sure to stay connected with phone calls and video chats so you can feel connected to others even when you are remote!
- - Oh, a big one! Take a shower every day! Makes all the difference!
Cullen, Chief of Good Thoughts:
- - Go somewhere to work. Right now…probably not a coffee shop…but as the weather improves where you are, maybe this means sitting outside or just varying your work location within your own house or apartment.
- - Go for a run. It helps release the pent up energy and makes me feel normal. It helps me stay more focused and sleep better.
- - Fire up whatever free dorky cardio workout video you can find on YouTube if you can’t leave the house…just do it!
- - Call (and usually if I can, face-time) with family and friends often
- - Go stir crazy. You’re not locked indoors, even in this quarantine. Get outdoors, but be smart!
- - Think that you’re alone. whenever I’m about to cook dinner or do some chores I think—is there someone I could call and talk to right now? Finding those times to connect with family and friends helps strengthen relationships and feeds our souls.
Peter’s “totally unstaged” work area. Usually only one of these three computers are present... sometimes two if he has multiple scripts running.
Peter, World’s Best Data Guy:
- - Keep to a schedule, make sure you wake up and go to bed and eat at the similar times. Try and have set aside times for eating.
- - If you hit a roadblock, walk around the block. Walking and moving can help stimulate your brain and engage your body in different ways. This can also be a good pseudo commute for resetting yourself before starting work.
- - Try to set aside different areas for working and playing. It helps to make clear distinctions in a sub conscious way. (coffee shops are no longer an option for this)
- - Feel free to check in with others at work even if it's not "for work". It's possible to maintain remote culture. I'm surprised how well I feel like I know people on our team even if I've rarely seen them face to face.
- - Take too many breaks. Make sure you have clear time checks on them to keep yourself accountable.
- - Spend too long trying to make an espresso just the way they do at your favorite coffee shop. Buy some giftcards to them now to spend once the quarantine lifts and in the meantime, find yourself an easy DIY go-to.
Remember to eat your meals! Take a breather from your work and try and eat something healthy. I often share what I've made on Instagram at @samanthakirsch.
Sam, Designer & Advocate for Good:
- - Schedule things early. Typically due into work at 9? What time do you leave for work? Try and start your workday then. This also typically means you finish your day earlier!
- - Over-communicate. Need to discuss something with a coworker? Skip the emails and just jump on a phone call, then follow-up with Slack messages or an email to confirm take-aways and next steps.
- - Be patient with each other. Especially with everything going on in the world right now…there are so many things pulling us in different ways. I know my workday is constantly interrupted by calls from my grandparents who don’t fully seem to understand that I still have work to do when I’m working remotely…and that they’re calling me in the middle of my workday, no matter how many times I tell them.
- - Try and stick to a schedule/agenda. Don't push off meals. Communicate and agree on deadlines with co-workers…this is major to keep you on track!
- - Keep junk food in your house. You’ll snack. And it can get out of hand. I have some popcorn kernels I can pop on my stove or some carrots I can cut up, if I really want them. But don’t feel bad about the go-to freelancer/remote worker snack: spoonful of peanut butter (sometimes topped with chocolate chips) from time-to-time.
- - Stay stationary. I live in a studio apartment and there are only so many places to work. I try and switch it up between my bed, dining table, futon, and even use my kitchen island cart with a box or my ironing board as a standing desk…get creative! Oh, and of course, get outside if you can, at least crack a window.
- - Play music that is distracting. I find that if I know all the lyrics to songs I can’t focus on my work. I’ve had success listening to music in other languages (Bollywood music is great to keep you awake and alert) or even just listening to my Discover Weekly on Spotify.
Though you may be working by yourself without the typical office set-up, don’t forget to connect as often as you can with at least one other person each day. We all crave that connection to others, it also helps minimize miscommunication, and is a great reminder for everyone that we’re all in this together and working towards the same goals. It doesn’t really matter if that connection is informal or planned in advance. The DoneGood team has regularly scheduled hangouts 3 times each week, which is terrific for keeping up with what everyone is working on and what’s going on in their lives as well. We’re all trying to get our work done and stay healthy, trying to do our part to flatten the curve of this pandemic.