Once upon a time, when I averaged one singular work-from-home day a week, I continually dismissed the importance of investing
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Once upon a time, when I averaged one singular work-from-home day a week, I continually dismissed the importance of investing
When we first entered quarantine last spring, I’d have bet a large sum of money and lost that there was no way we’d still be working from home come December. But here we are, and I’ll be honest, I feel like we’re all making the most of it. Being stuck at home in the winter is an entire different ballpark than the killjoy of being stuck inside when it’s sunny and 80 degrees out.But we’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the couple of items making it way better. Because a cozy day at home *while* you’re working is possible—as long as you have these essentials.
Mid-Rise Cozy Faux-Fur Jogger Sweatpants
I ordered these a couple of weeks ago realizing that I needed to give up the dream that I’ll get dressed every single day for work, especially when it gets freezing. These are a cool fabric and style that make me feel kinda dressed up, but they are also the freaking most comfortable thing I’ve ever put on in my life. I’ve worn them like four days the last week with sweaters, T-shirts, and everything in between. I run very hot, but I moved into an apartment that has minimal heat and poor windows, and I am freezing 24/7, so these have
Water Sleeping Mask
On the days I don’t put makeup on, I give my skin some extra TLC—one of the many benefits of being at home all day! The winter weather has taken a toll on my skin, as it has most of us I’m sure, so I’m loading up on moisturizing ingredients to heal my moisture barrier and hydrate as much as possible. It’s an extra self-care step that feels fun to break up the monotony of my days and makes me look forward to something. This mask is meant to be worn while you sleep, but staring at a screen all day writing words over and over is similar enough, and I’ve experienced the same moisture at the end of the day as I do when I sleep with it on. Plus, it’s clear, so I’ve worn on it more than a few Zoom call occasions than I care to admit. Hehe, coworkers! 🙂
At around 3 p.m. every single day, my anxiety sets in. How on Earth am I supposed to get the 10 tasks still on my list done all before the end of the day? I know I work best in the crunch time, but it doesnt stop my stress from creeping in. Lately as this is starting to really affect my day-to-day health, Ive tried putting my Equilibria Daily Drops in an afternoon glass of decaf tea. It really helps calm me down and has become quite ritualistic. I look forward to it every day!
Use code THEEVERYGIRL for 20% off your first order at Equilibria!
Glass Water Bottle with Protective Silicone Sleeve
I’m not a water person. There have been more than a few days where 9 p.m. rolls around and I realize I haven’t had a sip of H2O literally all day. But ever since I got this Porter water bottle, I’m getting through multiple refills. There’s just something so fun about drinking from it: I love the rolled glass opening that fits my mouth perfectly and the silicone sleeve that is grippy-y and easy to pick up. It’s also dishwasher-safe, so it’s super easy to clean. Honestly, 10/10 would marry Porter.
MALA THE BRAND
I find I work best from home when I cultivate a mood. I make sure my work area is tidy. I plug in my Christmas tree. I cue up the fireplace channel on my TV. I throw on a coffee shop sounds video on Youtube. And I light this truly excellent hand-poured soy candle that smells like all your holiday dreams coming true. And it does make the work day feel a bit more fun and festive.
Insulated Tumbler with Straw
If you’ve been on TikTok even one single time, you’ve likely seen this tumbler that basically went viral this year—and I’m here to tell you the hype is real. I love drinking my water out of this all day long and have it with me no matter which corner of my apartment I’m working in. I got the largest size and it’s upped my water intake by at least double. I can’t wait to drink homemade iced coffee out of this when we go back to the office.
Bouclé Knit Hooded Cardigan
I am known as being a very cold-running person, and so when I knew that we’d be working from home throughout winter, I wanted to make sure I could maximize my coziness (and warmth) as much as humanly possible. I bought the leopard version of this during the Nordstrom sale, so it was slightly cheaper, but I swear I have gotten my money’s worth already. No matter what I’m wearing (even if it’s a sweatshirt), I throw this on top and lounge in it every single day. It’s so warm without being as bulky as a robe, and truly sparks joy every single time I wrap up in it. It’s definitely a splurge, but if something happened to mine, I’d buy it again.
I purchased this 14 ounce personal blender years ago, and haven’t used it as much as I have this year working from home. This blender is perfect for a quick smoothie or shake before logging into work. It blends quickly and its compact style allows me to take it to my workspace and drink from there without having to transfer it to another cup. This blender lets me get a quick breakfast in before the day picks up!
Hydrating Shea Body Butter
Between working from home during the dry fall and winter season and washing my hands multiple times a day, I have been neglecting my hands and feet, which have been drier than usual. To make sure I infuse some moisture on my skin during the workday, I keep this body butter close to me. It’s thick enough to lock in moisture, especially during the harsh, dry weather, which is a necessity even more now, since it’s easy to neglect skincare while working from home.
Vertuo Next Light
There’s just nothing that gets me out of bed like knowing that the cup of coffee (or tea, but in this case coffee) that I’ll drink once I make my way to the kitchen is going to be really good. After tiring of my trusty old affordable machine from years ago, I finally sprung for a Nespresso machine. My morning coffee routine is the best it’s been all year.
Crate & Barrel
Long Stem Wine Glass
So I initially bought these wine glasses for, you know, wine—and while I do use them for that in the evening, I also use them during the day to make my sparkling water, kombucha, or green juice feel more like an ~event~. I miss sipping wine with my friends while out to dinner, so at least I can get the joy of a cute glass while drinking a healthier daytime beverage.
Mini North Bondi Eau De Parfum
If you’ve ever smelled any of Ouai’s hair products, you know that they smell AMAZING. I have always loved the scent of their Leave-In Conditioner and wished they would make it in a perfume. BOOM, wishes come true! This year, Ouai launched the most perfect desk-sized fragrances (and the one I love is North Bondi, which is floral and a bit musky). They’re incredibly budget-friendly, so I feel comfortable spraying it on myself every single day. It’s a simple luxury that makes me feel a bit more like my non-pandemic self!
Glam Mini Tin Kit
I love seasonal fragrances, but sometimes I get tired of burning the same one for too long. I bought this four-pack of Capri Blue scents when they were on super sale a few weeks ago, but the non-sale price isn’t bad either. The set includes the iconic Volcano candle, plus one pumpkin scent and two winter fragrances. My favorite so far has been the pumpkin (the Alpine Juniper is definitely a sweeter greenery scent), but I haven’t even cracked the Frosted Fireside open yet. This is perfect for anyone who likes different rooms to have different scents, or who just wants to mix things up!
Poet in Hangzhou Candle
Candles have become one of my work from home must-haves—the more fragrant, the better. This hand-poured candle doesn’t have a winter scent, and that’s what I love most about it. It’s bright and refreshing, and it has notes of my favorite flower: gardenia. Once I light this, the scent fills my entire apartment and acts as a pick me up for my senses.
Before I hit the purchase button on these socks, they took up a lot of space in my head. I went back and forth on whether I really needed a $30-something pair of socks, and my answer after weeks of questioning was yes. Since we’re in the house 99.9 percent of the time these days, a pair of lavender socks that give back—proceeds from the purchase of the lavender socks fund Brother Vellies’ mask making and food distribution initiative in Kenya—and keep my feet warm while I work is the ultimate win for me.
Brazil 8 Cup / 34oz French Press Coffee Maker
At the start of the pandemic, I was using a Moka pot to make an americano each morning until I realized that caffeine might be making my anxiety worse. I have since given up coffee (inserts crying emoji) for herbal tea. Instead of going the tea bag route, I found Aesthete Tea, a QBIPOC-owned tea company that makes an assortment of herbal teas. After trying a couple of teapots that didn’t work well, I saw a YouTube video that showed how to use a french press for loose teas and bought this one. I use it every morning, and I love that making tea has become a part of my morning self-care.
Water Bottle – Wide Mouth Straw Lid
Ever since I was a small, red-haired child, I’ve had water on my nightstand, in my backpack, on the table, on the desk, you name it–absolutely everywhere. It drove my mom crazy, but even now I still can’t seem to leave the house, or my couch for that matter, without it. To cut down my use of plastic and the dishwasher, however, I started using my hydro flask as my primary water source while I’m working. It not only holds a lot more H2O than my regular glass, but it also helps me keep track of how much or how little I’ve been drinking during the day.
Fresh Foam Vongo v4
Despite what my Netflix account may tell you, the activity that got me through this year the most was walking. I’ve barely missed a day since the pandemic started (while wearing a mask of course!). It’s helped me think, destress, and get my heartrate up a bit, and having a great pair of sneakers has made going for long, daily walks so much easier. These never give me blisters, are always comfortable, and have held up so well!
There’s a reason the word “networking” has “work” in it—it takes effort, initiative, and drive to network purposefully and effectively. It’s not easy, and can be really terrifying when you’re just starting out. Effective networking starts with being purposeful about what you’re doing; putting time into building career connections that can diversify and offer you a fresh perspective is essential.Make the whole process more fun with a go-to ice breaker to get the conversation going—we love a good virtual happy hour to celebrate that week’s wins with a La Marca Prosecco mini in hand. Remember that networking and building connections don’t have to be ultra serious or devoid of fun. Make them meaningful conversations that spark thoughtful ideas and help you release a bit of tension from a challenging week or toast a win, big or small.
To get you started, we’ve put together a list of connections (or reconnections) to make over the course of your career:
1. A Lifetime Mentor
Many of our mentors or sponsors come and go as we change jobs, but one of your best network additions will be a mentor who sees you through the course of your career. A “lifetime” mentor can provide you that long-term perspective and help you reflect on how you’ve grown over time.
Look for your lifetime mentor among an immediate manager that may have assisted you developmentally. And remember, to keep someone in your network over the long haul, it takes effort. Schedule periodic check-ins over coffee and always offer to pay it forward.
2. A Thought Leader
We’re increasingly in an ideas economy. Staying on the cutting edge of your field means that you need to know what big ideas are brewing, where the industry is headed, and how your sector may transform. What do you read? What conferences do you go to? Find a person or “thought leader” whose future vision of your work feels meaningful to you, then track their work and keep in touch.
How do you find a thought leader in your world? You probably have a lot in your purview that you might not recognize! Again, look to what you read or events in your industry you’ve enjoyed. Identify speakers or authors that speak to you.
3. An Academic in Your Field
Similarly, being excellent at your work often means understanding some of the emerging views coming out of academia. Often times academic colleagues are also closely connected to firms’ talent pipelines. You might also be able to find unique opportunities to bring students into your company for short-term intern programs or special task forces that can be useful for the school and your company.
Universities often keep blogs for each respective area of expertise. This more informal publication can be a great way to identify an expert who is working on a topic of interest to you.
4. A Teacher from Your Youth
Giving back to your alma mater (or even your high school) is an important piece of networking. It can help you source new talent for your industry. Schools are also a great place to ensure you stay plugged in with events, alumni offerings, and to leverage the built in network from your previous academic experience.
Checking in with your alma mater should be super straightforward! Alumni networks are in place just for that purpose. And, even reaching out to the registrars office is a great way to keep in touch. School connections can also be a great place to look for speaking or panel opportunities as you continue to build your public profile and brand in your field.
5. The Incumbent in Your Dream Job
Cold pitches may seem a little intimidating. However, a thoughtfully crafted pitch to the person who is currently in your dream job can pay all kinds of dividends. Remember, you’re not explicitly on the hunt for this seat in your ask, but want to learn about the path that got them to where they are today.
Be incredibly thoughtful and tactical in this outreach. If this is someone who works inside your current organization, see if your current manager or a mentor can help broker an introduction. You want to use this person’s time really effectively. Ask them if they may have time for a brief call (15 minutes) and send along an agenda of three direct questions. What are the things they could answer for you about career development that no one else could? Use that time wisely!
6. The Most Junior Person Doing Your Job
A well-structured network is purposefully built to pay it forward. That means it’s important for you to connect with people at all levels of seniority. There is always something to be learned from those who are coming up in the organization who are more junior than you are. And, more importantly, think how amazing it feels to have someone senior in the organization take an interest in your work. You’ll be encouraging, supporting, and helping the next generation of leaders in your field.
Think of the skills you currently have that a newer generation could benefit from. You may consider setting up some informal roundtables, “lunch and learn” sessions, or a panel of your mid-level peers.
7. A Skills Coach
Part of career success is identifying our flat spots. Whether it is around the technical aspects of your job or around softer skills like building emotional intelligence, a skills coach is an important network addition. Through your annual review process or your own self-assessments, figure out the two or three skills you really want to refine. Ask around and recognize among your contacts who excels there, and get them on the books for a coaching coffee.
Who can play the role of skills coach? Often our own immediate peer set is a great place to look. If you saw a colleague rock a public speaking gig, be sure to pay her that compliment. Then, ask if you can put a coffee date on the books for her best tips, or, if she’d be willing to be the audience for your own future prep sessions.
8. An Interviewing Expert
Interview skills are tricky. It’s one of those capabilities that we may not practice often if we stay in a job we love for years, or have promotion opportunities. That means that when it’s time to hit the interview circuit and find a new job, we might need some brushing up. It is essential to find that colleague or senior leader who always seems to have the best interview tips. Book them for practice sessions and offer to do the same for the more junior people they connect with.
It can feel a little fake to completely practice an interview start to finish, but especially in our digital days, it’s worth being really deliberate here. Sometimes the best interview experts are of course our HR colleagues, but also those who work in high volume or frequently turning over positions. They’ve seen a lot of resumes!
9. Your Polar Opposite
As someone who has worked in finance her whole career, folks who have done the same tend to be most of my network. But that’s the fastest way for your network to simply become an insular echo chamber. For new thoughts, new ideas, and to give you a fresh perspective on career opportunities, find your “opposite.” For example, that means I’ve been deliberately trying to add more colleagues in the arts, sciences, and non-profit world to my set of connections.
To expand that horizon, I have to go a little outside of my comfort zone. It means asking other friends who they know in those industries. And, it means that I may need to employ some of the same tactics you use to make friends as an adult, like saying yes to a lot more invitations and being “social” on social media. Which leads us to…
10. A Social Media & Branding Rockstar
Whether or not we’re in the social space, branding and messaging matters. Building your personal brand ensures that you can articulate exactly how your skills and expertise match with opportunities over the course of your career. Find that social and marketing expert in your world and stay on top of the tips that keep your digital first impression fresh and current.
What could this person help you with? The debate rages on over how SEO continues to evolve for professional profiles like LinkedIn. But, it certainly can’t hurt to have your expert colleague provide you some feedback on the language you’re using to describe your achievements. They can also keep you posted on newer networks, and really help you refine the target audience for your skills and talents.
Tips for Making Socially Distanced Connections
These networking efforts can be challenging in the best of times. In 2020, networking needs a whole different set of skills. It’s nearly impossible to do the same “grab coffee” routine we’ve all gotten used to. And, even if restrictions are lighter where you are, you don’t want to put colleagues in the awkward position of declining an in-person invite. The good news is, our all-virtual world has some perks.
It’s never been easier to drop slightly dormant contacts a “How Have You Been?” note. Flag an interesting article, share a story of a project you’ve worked on, or simply ask how they’ve been maintaining their network this year. Do they know of any virtual industry events? Have they read or attended any webinars of interest? Simply sharing stories around how work is changing and staying connected can be a big part of sustaining and building our network this year. It’s also really important to build digital visibility. Get active on your work-related social channels. Comment on others’ posts, and take the bold step of creating content yourself. This could look like some sort of newsletter on your industry, or round up of interesting reads that are relevant to your peers. (Be sure to check in with your compliance colleagues that this doesn’t pose a problem for your day job!)
Lastly, virtual industry events now give you a perfect hit list of experts you can reach out to and connect with. Drop a note via LinkedIn or see if the event shares contact information for presenters. A simple, “Hi – I really enjoyed your webinar presentation on building new digital marketing channels. I’d like to share a few interesting papers our team has put out on the topic, and get your quick feedback on part of a project we’re undertaking. Do you have 15 minutes for a call?” Make sure, however, it is a super brief, pointed call, and voice only unless they offer otherwise. We’re all completely burnt from sitting on video all day for our actual day job, so it’s best to keep as light a footprint as possible with new contacts.
If you want to add a fun spin, invite them for a 30-minute virtual happy hour. Grab a La Marca Prosecco mini (prosecco makes everything better) and just have a loose, after-work chat. Remember that not all your connections have to be stringently work-related. You want to start a relationship with this person, so don’t be afraid to inject some personality! And chances are, after a full day of work-related calls, they’ll welcome the chance to relax over some bubbly and just talk and enjoy.
You’d be surprised how many people will take you up on this, especially if you have a robust public profile and a well-built digital work presence. And, using this approach allows you to network far beyond your own backyard. Get creative! Ever wonder how your work is done in London? In Shanghai? Stretch your comfort zone and use our virtual world to expand your networking horizons.
La Marca Prosecco is an elegant sparkling wine grown in the heart of Italy’s Prosecco region. La Marca Prosecco believes in celebrating the joy in everyday moments, including the tireless work that so many women go through to make their dreams come true. A focus on career empowerment has always been part of The Everygirl’s mission and our partnership with La Marca Prosecco has helped us take that mission into the real world with live and virtual events, small business grants, and more. Let’s raise a glass to that!
This post is sponsored by La Marca Prosecco but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl Media Group editorial board. More
If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard the warning, “You shouldn’t work from home in your bed,” I’d have enough money to move out of my cramped studio apartment and look for a more spacious option that would allow me the luxury of the desk/office space I’m missing. I can see where critics are coming from: a bed is a place for sleeping and, in an ideal world, having an out-of-bed workspace can have a positive impact on productivity, sleep, and our mental health. As much as I’m sure we’d all love to have a designated workspace that isn’t our bedroom, sometimes there’s just no getting around it. Whether it be having a small space to work with, attempting to work where kiddos are running around, hiding from a pet who has an affinity for your laptop keys (my cat is the queen of this), or sharing a WFH space with a partner who needs the living room for a conference call, sometimes working in bed might be your only option.
So, let’s normalize working from home in bed! If working in your sleep space works for you, that’s 100 percent OK and totally doable. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Separate sleep time from work time
As tempting as it is to snooze your alarm until 8:28am to make your 8:30am start time, stay snuggled in your blanket burrito, and keep your pajamas on all day, don’t fall into the trap! In the interest of separating sleep time from work time, get up early and partake in a morning routine to get you out of bed and to signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up and seize the day. When you return to your room, transform it into a workspace. Open your blinds to let the light in, make your bed, set up your laptop, change into a designated work-from-home outfit, set your favorite productivity playlist, and get going.
Invest in a back pillow to improve posture
While sitting up in bed is a good alternative to lying flat (which may put one on the fast track to a fatal, accidental nap), it offers little to no back support. These back pillows will help your alignment, assist in improving your posture, and are an absolute must for working from your bed.
Get a laptop tray
No desk? No problem. If you don’t already have one, laptop trays are such a game-changer for working in bed. Having a flat surface to rest your laptop, notebook, planner, and coffee is so necessary and serves the function of a desk without the bulkiness.
Buy non-spill drinkware
If you’re like me, no workday is complete without multiple cups of coffee, hundreds of milliliters of lemon water, and several glasses of matcha tea. I used to have a very horrible habit of placing my beverages on the corner of my laptop next to the keypad—I know it’s bad, please don’t yell at me! Now I am older, I am wiser, and I bought spill-proof cups with lids that have offered the perfect solution. The idea of past me alone gives me a mini heart-attack and sends shivers down my spine.
Add to your extension cord collection
Unless your bedroom is stacked with outlets, you’re going to need to invest in additional extension cords and outlets to fuel your electronic lifelines. Most bedrooms weren’t designed to be offices and don’t have many/close enough outlets to allow us to have all of our devices charging in cord length distance of our beds. Alas, we shall adapt.
Schedule breaks to get up and moving
As with sitting at a desk all day, sitting in your makeshift desk-in-bed situation for prolonged periods can have a detrimental effect on our health. Dr. Jasmine Marcus, PT, DPT, CSCS told Popsugar that getting up and moving “anywhere from every half hour to every two hours” can be beneficial in combatting an otherwise sedentary workday. Schedule deliberate stretch and walk breaks throughout your day to relieve pressure on your spine.and to keep blood and endorphins flowing.
Having a set nighttime routine
When your workday ends, clean up your workspace, say “goodbye” to your bedroom for a few hours, and treat yourself to a change of scenery to dissociate from your workday. Just as with a morning routine, perform a night routine of choice to help you wind down and to signal to your mind and body that it’s time for bed. Set the mood for bedtime, dim the lights, get in your coziest PJs, light a calming candle, and do a relaxing activity such as journaling or reading. Try your best not to scroll on IG or TikTok—your eyes and mind deserve a break! More
You’re probably currently sitting at your desk reading this, blissfully unaware of your posture right now—and that’s perfectly normal. It can be difficult to always be mindful of your posture, especially during a hectic workday through hours of Zoom meetings and conference calls.Your posture is a very important indicator of your overall health, as it supports blood flow, improves your mood, increases your confidence, and strengthens your other muscles and joints. Practicing better posture while at your desk at work or at home, even in the smallest ways, is a great way to be mindful of your health on a daily basis, and there are a few quick ways you can improve your posture as you go along your workday. Give your posture some attention and work smarter, not harder, at your desk.
1. Switch up your seating
Your seating can make or break your posture—literally. Seating with little to no back support, worn-out chairs, and working from your couch or bed could wear on your body over time, straining your shoulders, spine, and lower back.
If your desk chair doesn’t have the support you need to sit comfortably and in an upright position for an hour or two at a time, you may need to switch up your seating. A good, ergonomic chair for your workspace will have lumbar support to help the middle of your back, where most of the tension goes when you’re hunched over your desk. You also want to pick a chair that keeps your body at a neutral, upright position with an adequate seat height that keeps your arms and legs leveled and a backrest that isn’t too firm or too soft.
If you’re now working from home, make sure to be mindful of where and how you’re sitting. Set up your own workspace with a desk and chair that supports your back and shoulders and promotes better posture over time.
2. Take frequent stretch breaks
Spending hours upon hours every day in a seated position where your back is either slouched or hunched over is detrimental to your posture. Many health professionals have declared that sitting has now become the new smoking, a popular myth that compares the negative chronic health effects of both, such as weight gain and diabetes.
Prolonged sitting can have long-lasting effects on not only your back, but on your overall health. Make it a priority to get up and move around on a regular basis throughout your workday to give your body some relief from sitting and staring at a screen all day. Put yourself on a daily schedule to get some time away from the desk to give your back a break from sitting in an upright position, putting more pressure on your spine. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your workday and forget to move, so set an alert on your work calendar or on your phone as a regular reminder to take a break and switch up your posture by taking a walk, standing briefly in between meetings, stretching, or getting a quick exercise in.
Source: Danielle Moss
3. Exercise for better posture
When we exercise, we often forget to exercise for better posture, especially as working from home becomes more prevalent. Your posture is key to better overall health, and taking out the time to focus on it during your workday can help prevent lifelong body issues.
Exercising throughout the workday for better posture can be as simple as standing upright for an hour or two at a time at your desk, stretching and rotating your neck to relieve some of the tension from hours of working, or getting a good back bend at the waist to loosen up that lower back. Give yourself a few small breaks during the workday to work out those kinks in your shoulders, neck, and back from sitting too long, and focus on exercises specifically for those areas.
4. Keep your workspace eye level
Hunching over your desk to look at your laptop or to type is one of the key indicators of poor posture. If your laptop or desktop computer isn’t eye level, it makes it easy to slouch and get stuck working that way for hours.
Do an overall assessment of your workspace, including your laptop, your monitor, your desk, and your computer accessories like your keyboard and mouse to make sure they are level to your eyesight and body to ensure that you’re not straining your neck, shoulders, and back to use your devices. Your workspace should be at a comfortable level, but upright enough where your posture isn’t compromised. Switch up the positioning of your workspace so that it makes it easier to sit upright while still being effective throughout the day. If you work remotely or from home, find a better place to set up your workspace like on a high bar-style countertop where you can easily sit in an upright position, or even stand and work for a change of pace.
Source: Jenny Komenda | Juniper Studio
5. Practice mindfulness of your posture
It can be difficult to take a lunch break or grab a second cup of coffee during the workday when you’re juggling emails and meetings, let alone be actively aware of how your body feels. Taking the time out to connect with your body every so often throughout the day to see how it feels can seem like another item for your to-do list, but your back most importantly will thank you for it!
Practice being mindful of your posture throughout the workday by setting frequent reminders on your phone to check in with your body. There are plenty of mindfulness apps that can help you break away from your work mentally for a few minutes to give your body and mind a quick check-up. Block off time in your work calendar to check in with yourself, your posture, your mood, and your overall body. Scheduling time on your work calendar helps you stay accountable to yourself and your health.
Use this mindfulness to be more aware of your posture on a daily basis and when you place the most tension on your back. Do you find that your posture suffers during long Zoom meetings? Are you sitting for more than 2-3 hours at a time in the mornings or afternoons? Take note daily of all of your workspace habits and how it impacts your posture and your overall body. This will help you anticipate and be more mindful of your posture during the most stressful times of your day and prepare to change it up.
6. Keep your feet flat on the floor
Your feet and their position while at your desk play a crucial role in your overall posture while sitting. If your feet are crossed or elevated, that could compromise your posture, as your weight is primarily on one leg or your back is taking the brunt of it. When your feet are flat on the floor and properly leveled, the weight of your body is evenly distributed across your hips. Keeping your feet flat on the floor also makes you more mindful of the overall stance of your body, as it unconsciously makes you straighten up.
Practice keeping your feet fully on the floor for longer periods of time instead of elevating them using a footrest or crossing your legs at the knees underneath your desk. Planting your feet on the ground will help you be more aware of your posture and if you’re slouched or hunched over your desk.
Your posture is a key indicator of your body’s health during your workday. Don’t ignore any signs of back or shoulder pain; make it a point to take care of yourself while working, starting with your posture. More
Many of us are hitting a stretch of work-from-home fatigue. We’re nearly six months into this and many of us have slim prospects of returning full time to an office this year, so I’m finding I need to amend the ideal work-from-home standards. If you are fortunate enough to have a job that can be done from home, productivity has probably gone in many directions over 2020.First, a reminder that productivity isn’t just doing more work, faster. Getting “better results” during this time period is about producing whatever outcome is meaningful to your life. More time to get creative in the kitchen? Productive! Learning to let go of things we can’t control? Productive! These may not be the gold standard of work from home that make sense in normal times, but they’re more reflective of my personal work-from-home style. These are the rules I’m breaking to make it through this time of “Pandemic, but make it work from home.”
1. Dress for your work day
Along the way in 2020, dress for your day morphed into curating the perfect work-from-home loungewear capsule. While I definitely added in a few new pairs of joggers, I’m far gone from stressing over the perfect look for a video call. The last thing I need right now is decision fatigue over what to wear, staring in to a closet that was built for a business formal office life.
Instead, I’ve extracted five “Zoom toppers.” It’s my favorite mix of blouses, a sweater, and a knit blazer that fit the bill for any time I’m on camera. Outside of that, I’ve let go of the pressure to figure out a perfect work-from-home look. The non-negotiable tasks for me include a little bit of hair care and daily minimal makeup. Slim down your daily essential get ready routine, revel in this moment of not being coiffed to the nines, and spend that time elsewhere.
2. Set up a dedicated workspace
I am delighted for you ladies that have the room for a chic dedicated workspace. (Hello, home office goals!) A fabulous home office set up is a huge part of making work from home livable. But some of us are in smaller spaces, sharing home office space with kids and partners, or have decamped to stay with families.
A dedicated workspace that I can count on daily is a bit of a pipe dream. Instead, focus on the space you need for specific tasks. When I know I need to be on camera, I’m at the kitchen counter with better light and fewer background distractions. Emails happen on the couch and hard number crunching gets a few hours at the bedroom desk. This idea of tying tasks to spaces has helped me be much more deliberate with my time. It’s also giving me enough variety to feel not completely claustrophobic in my space.
3. Keep set work hours
I pop out of bed at 5:30am ready to go. Before I know it, it’s 9:30, and a traditional half work day is under my belt while others are just getting started. On the flip side, my productivity hits a major slump in the afternoons. Shifting my schedule around gives me the opportunity to destress with workouts or personal tasks, depending on my daily workload.
If at all possible, negotiate with your manager on your daily schedule and when you must be online or available. If you are leading a team, manage your employees’ outputs and outcomes, not how they get there. This is always a good leadership best practice, and it’s even more important as kids head back to school, care for family members changes, or to combat the fatigue of more months ahead of this type of balancing act.
4. Stay visible to your team
It is important to stay visible to your team and manager in any condition. It’s especially important now as companies are tightening expenses. In the beginning of this work-from-home period, you might have had a lot of check-ins or more team meetings. Some of us may have even been instigating those check points to win over work from home non-believers.
Now that we’re in a bit of a rhythm, my “visibility” efforts look different. Instead of getting burnt out from unnecessary task check-ins or an endless stream of zoom happy hours, I’m being more deliberate with how I stay top of mind. At the beginning of the week, I might drop a note to my manager of everything on my plate. I forward that note on a Thursday afternoon to let them know my progress, which gives me all of Friday to redirect or pick up any loose ends.
Visible also doesn’t have to mean “on video.” Now, I’m also much more deliberate about when I join on screen and I reply to meeting requests letting the host know my plan in advance. This gives them an opportunity to weigh-in if one option is preferable. I also now try to issue meeting appointments with that consideration. Sometimes I’ll include a note asking a list of the key decision makers to join on screen if possible, and encourage others to just listen in as needed.
Are there any work from home rules you’re breaking with better results? More
I’ll say it over and over again: I absolutely despise working from home. I’m an ENTJ fire sign who thrives in groups and does my best work when surrounded by my competition… haha, I mean my coworkers. But I have to get the heck over it and learn to love all this time at home while we’re doing it. Lately, I’ve been taking advantage of all the perks that come with working remotely and finding ways to create healthier habits at home. Adding these simple habits into my routine has made a major difference in how confident and happy I feel sitting at my desk all day long.
1. Eating breakfast after 11am
If you practice intermittent fasting, you’ll understand this concept well. While this definitely encourages me to enjoy my morning beverage and drink some extra water, this is more about how it impacts the rest of my day rather than the health benefits. I notice a major difference in how happy and productive I am when I can take a later lunch, but when I eat breakfast at 8 or 9 in the morning, I’m starving at noon. So by waiting a little bit to eat breakfast, I prolong when I need to eat lunch. This helps me schedule my day better, and I also have less of an urge to snack around 4pm.
2. Keeping my desk clean
Pre-WFH life, my “desk” was my vanity. I worked from home twice a week, but I spent those days in bed or at coffee shops. I never needed a clear desk in my home because all of my work was done in the office. Well, that obviously changed. I rearranged my apartment, purchased a comfortable desk chair, and made it a point to keep my desk clear. This has made a major difference in my productivity. I get way more done when I’m sitting down at a desk versus in bed, but I’d often just stay in bed because my desk was filled with makeup and papers and whatever else I accumulated the days prior.
3. Set timers
I have a Google home, and I absolutely swear by it for setting timers throughout my day. I’ll set a timer for 30 minutes and tell myself to write as much as I can in 30 minutes, and then I’ll stop to do a different task. Sometimes, I’ll set an alarm for a specific time to remind myself to take lunch. This is something that was a little bit harder to do in an open-concept office, so I’m taking full advantage while I’m working remotely. It helps keep my productivity at a 10, even when I have a cabinet full of snacks and a TV with Netflix queued up within 5 ft. of me.
4. Taking a lunch break—and actually leaving my home
I used to never take a lunch break for things other than doctor’s appointments and random one-off lunch dates with friends who were in town (or the two times in 2019 that I met the Jonas Brothers and Sophie Turner on the street—no lunch break will ever top those). I would rather grab my lunch and work through it, or at the very least, eat my lunch in front of my computer. Now that I’m at home all day long, I really make it a point to take my lunch break and use it to its full capacity. I’ll go for a walk or use it to run errands or go to the grocery store. Anything that gets me out of my house, or even just out of my desk chair, is worthwhile to me. I find that I’m more motivated and ready to get back to work afterward too.
5. Talking to my coworkers
I have a habit to disassociate during times of stress and anxiety, folding into myself rather than seeking solace and joy through my loved ones. But I’ve made it a habit to check in with people, make sure I’m talking throughout the day, and staying in touch as much as I can, especially at work. It provides that social aspect I love about an office even while I’m at home. I make sure to chime in to conversations, ask about people’s weekends, and more. It adds a bit of normalcy to our otherwise very odd lives right now.
6. Organize my desktop
Looking at 500 screenshots and files on my desktop all day long makes me want to close my computer and do nothing even remotely close to work. At the beginning of every workday, I go through my desktop and delete what doesn’t need to be there and organize everything else into their proper folders. I love doing this in the morning because it often gives me reminders of things I need to do and gets me started for the day; however, this could be a great task to save for your final minutes of the workday too.
7. Break down tasks into small chunks
If you often feel like you don’t accomplish anything during the day, it’s possibly because you’re looking at the big picture of all of your tasks. Sometimes, sitting down to do something feels unconquerable. But since work-from-home, I give myself a little pep talk and break big projects into as many small tasks as possible. I’ll go as far as to write an item on my to-do list for every single paragraph in an article (think Enneagram articles, perhaps). Write the intro? Check. Write paragraph #1? Check. Add links? Check. It seems simple, but it reminds me at the end of the day that I was getting things done versus feeling like a failure because I didn’t complete a 10-hour project all in one day.
8. Keep my phone on another side of the room
If my phone is next to me, I’m scrolling. There’s just no way around it. So when I know that I need to get a task done without any distractions, I put my phone on the other side of the room (or better yet, a different room; however, I live in a studio apartment so that doesn’t actually exist). Do I miss texts from my best friends about the latest tea of the day? Literally always, but it ends up making me a better friend because I can actually give them my undivided attention later on when I’m allowing myself to actually indulge in my phone. If you get sucked into Tik Tok or Twitter (my weakness) for hours on end, try this. I’ve also played around with turning off my wifi when I’m doing a task that doesn’t require it, like writing an article or editing photos.
9. Change my environment
I get really bored in my space. Heck, I have rearranged my apartment three times during quarantine. To keep myself inspired, I constantly have to change aspects of my environment to give me a boost. Some days this looks like working in bed first thing on Friday morning or allowing myself to write on the couch instead of my desk. Other times this means moving my desk into my closet for one single day because I can’t bear to look at the same white wall all day long. Any way that I can get myself into a different headspace allows me to be significantly more creative. (And it obviously works because you’re reading this totally-original-amazing-never-been-done-before article right now!)
10. Make plans for the evening
One of the perks of working in an office is the feeling that your day is over and you have a whole night ahead of you when you leave. I’ve found myself disregarding that entire principle for WFH, allowing myself the whole night to work instead of trying to finish something so I can relax. Lately, I’ve made it a habit to plan something for myself every night. Watching a movie with friends, laying on the couch with a new book, baking something delicious, going for a long walk—I’ve found having something to look forward to, even the simplest of things, gets me out of the mindset that I have all night to complete a task. More
After about a year of commuting by bus, train, and foot to my employer’s Hollywood office, working from home became my dream. After being laid off, I got the opportunity. Since I had freelance writing opportunities, I worked on the side; I continued working even though I wasn’t quite full time. I enjoyed the benefits: no commute, no traffic.If I’m honest, there were days when I didn’t bother to get dressed. After a couple of months, I quickly realized that having a routine was necessary for my mental health and productivity. I found myself working into the night’s wee hours, waking up late, and repeating that cycle for weeks. Once I realized working from home wasn’t one big party, I set some ground rules for myself. Here are a few things I do each day to keep a healthy balance between my work and home life.
1. Create a morning routine
How you start your mornings can affect how you navigate your day, at least from my experience. For this reason, I created a morning ritual that I now stick to without much thought. First things first, I make my bed. I thought working from my bed was a good idea until I realized that it wasn’t healthy for my bed to be where I worked and slept. Making my bed is a physical indicator my day has started. On days when I like to lounge and work, I use my chaise. Never my bed.
Next up, I make a slow cup of coffee with my Moka pot. I find this gives me time to wake up without feeling rushed. I don’t check my emails or social media until I’ve had a glass of water and a cup of coffee. Now, I am notoriously terrible at making breakfast—or any meal for that matter. That doesn’t mean I won’t encourage you to whip up something to eat, even if I’m not the best example.
If coffee isn’t your thing, maybe make a smoothie or even read a few pages from a book you’ve been putting off finishing. Essentially, my coffee-making time is my morning self-care. That is 15-20 minutes I block off for myself. I imagine this would be more difficult if I had children, but this time is sacred to me as a single woman.
READ: The Morning Routine I Follow For the Busiest Work-From-Home Days
2. Call my friends during lunch
Setting a time for lunch is essential in any workplace scenario. Instead of only nourishing my body, I feed my mind with some chit-chat. I call one of my friends every day to catch up. We talk while I move about the kitchen, making some quick, struggle meal that is typically a boiled egg, a piece of fruit, and any other miscellaneous thing I can pop into the microwave and make in three minutes. I love how that time breaks up my day. Since my friends live on the East Coast and I live in LA, my lunchtime works best for us to catch up due to the time difference.
READ: 17 Gifts You Can Send to a Friend You’re Missing While Social Distancing
3. Sit outside and get some sun
When I started working from home, there were many days when I’d look up and the sun was setting. I’d think to myself, “I haven’t been outside all day.” Getting outside became an intentional practice for me. I would walk to get coffee from the small business on the corner for a midday pick-me-up or go for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air. My practice has changed a little due to COVID. I left LA for Atlanta in March to be close to my family, and visiting my favorite shops anywhere feels like a task these days. You have to remember your mask. You may even have anxiety about coming into contact with people, not in your household.
I can relate. Quarantining at my parents for the last six months was nice. Especially since I got to spend quality time with Max, our family dog. Every day, we’d sit outside for 15 minutes (or until we started sweating). I’d even take my shoes off and walk on our driveway on days when I needed to feel grounded. As my mom always says when she can tell I’m feeling down, “Go get some sun on your face.” Now, I’m encouraging you to do the same.
4. Put on something I love
Truthfully, I miss getting dressed. Sweats have been my go-to lately. While I love how comfortable I feel, I miss my denim and boots. One day I missed them so much, I put on my favorite pair of jeans and my new silver boots to go to the grocery store and to bug my mom. She says boots aren’t for summer, and she’s probably right. But, I say boots are for whenever I feel like wearing them, especially if they’re silver.
I’m not suggesting you draw attention to yourself in the way I did. But pull out those signature pieces you miss wearing. Throw them on for a Zoom call or on a day when you’re in the mood to get a little flashy. Oh, and put on your favorite beauty product for good measure. My beauty favorite of choice these days is Glossier’s Cloud Paint.
5. Set a time to end your day
Boundaries are important in all aspects of life. You have to give yourself a time each day to stop working without wavering. This practice has gotten a little tricky for me during the quarantine. The boundaries I’m encouraging you to set, I have had trouble implementing myself. It is always easier to tell someone to do something than it is to put it into practice.
Give yourself some grace. There will be days you work beyond you set a boundary, but having a time set makes it easier for you to stick to it. Each morning I make a to-do list of items I have to get done. I also make a follow-up list at the end of my day of the things I didn’t get to that I plan to roll over into the next day. Organization and boundaries are your best friends when working from home. You’ll find your grove if you work at it. I promise.
READ: 6 Steps to Set Boundaries Between Your Work and Personal Life More
This year has shown that working virtually is here to stay, and a huge part of that is that firms are migrating their recruiting efforts entirely online. You’re increasingly likely to find yourself in a digital-first application process, possibly all the way through onboarding and your first day. With many of us recovering from furloughs and layoffs, you may be diligently on the hunt for your next career chapter. That chapter starts with making an excellent digital first impression in your application materials, and then nailing a virtual interview.
1. Test your technology
There is nothing worse than logging on five minutes before a meeting and realizing you need to download some niche software. Don’t assume the interview is using something you have already or are familiar with.
Depending on the extent and seniority of the interview, you may even consider asking your interviewer’s Executive Assistant if you can do a five-minute test run with them the day before. Also be sure to ask if the line will be in use prior to your meeting. As in person, you want to arrive around five minutes early, but don’t want to be showing up at the tail end of some other candidate’s closing remarks!
2. Know your angles
If Tyra taught us anything it’s to face the light and know your angles. If at all possible, set up with natural light facing you. You also want to be showing on camera clearly, and as straightforward as possible. This isn’t a selfie angle—don’t position the camera too high up. A box or stack of books will get you to the right height.
3. Do a recorded run-through
Platforms like Zoom allow you to record a meeting—even a meeting of one. It’s free to set up an account that uses shorter meetings. Set one up with your personal email—you don’t want your video interview test run to show up on your current company roster. Practice answering some general questions and allow yourself to get more comfortable with video responses.
4. Make “eye contact”
Ironically, eye contact on video is staring right in the eye of the camera. It can be really hard for that to feel natural at first. You tend to want to look at the human in front of you on screen. A good mix of back and forth focusing on the screen and camera is important. However, when you’re answering questions, try to stay focused on that little fish eye, even if it feels awkward. (Hint: Your video test run will be able to reveal how much is too much focus in any one direction.)
5. Check your microphone quality
Most computers today have great enough microphone quality that you can go with whatever is built in. However, if you’re using headphones, you’ll want to check how that changes your connection. And, if part of your role is going to include heavy voice communication work, you might want to go the extra mile to sound like your best self. External microphones are becoming more affordable and could be a useful addition.
6. Pass on virtual backgrounds
Even if you’ve got a roster of some relatively professional faux backgrounds, now is not the time. You are trying to highlight yourself and come across as authentically you. Fake backgrounds don’t convey that authenticity.
Set yourself up a relatively distraction-free background in your home, with as few trinkets behind you as possible. While it may be tempting to convey your personality through what’s behind you, restrain yourself. Remember, if this were happening in person, you’d likely be in their spaces. You want the interviewer to be able to picture you in their world as easily as possible, and a relatively blank canvas helps them do that.
7. Get current on the company
Researching a company should always be part of your interview prep, and now it’s more important than ever. How did they respond during the early parts of the pandemic? How are they changing their business model or offerings? You’ll want to do thorough research across their own press, social channels, and other third-party reporting sites to come ready with the best questions and answers.
8. Take notes offline
There are few things more distracting than someone typing away during a video meeting. You may feel like you’re being ultra efficient, note taking digitally while you’re in conversation with your interviewer. It’s not a good look.
An old fashioned pen and paper is much more professional in this setting. And since they can’t see your desk, feel free to also narrate when you need a moment to jot something down. “I’m just making a few notes here, one moment,” helps any awkward silences.
9. Don’t talk over anyone
In an in-person exchange, it’s a little easier to make small verbal cues to show that you’re in step with someone while they’re talking. Virtually, that’s much harder. On the best of bandwidths, the line tends to break up a bit when people talk over each other even in small moments. Instead, consider exaggerating your non-verbals—nodding, smiling, and making strong eye contact where appropriate.
10. Be yourself
Most importantly, be yourself. Any interview in person would start with a few moments of small talk, or a more casual introduction. Don’t feel like you need to arrive perfectly ready to launch into your pitch. A few minutes of human authenticity goes a long way in our socially-distanced world right now.
What tips do you have for a successful virtual interview? More