WFH (working from home) comes with all kinds of new challenges. Over the last few weeks it felt as if everyone on the internet sent an email with their ‘work from home’ tips. I wasn’t a huge fan of most of them because not a single one offered flexibility, freedom, or the ability to control your own schedule.
You see, working from home is very different than working in an office. Your home isn’t an office, it’s your home, where you now also happen to work. So, goodbye office culture, hello home office culture.
Step into my home office—I’ve been working from home since 2013 and am sharing my approach to WFH culture that is more productive providing additional “free” time, because if COVD-19 is going to teach us anything, it’s how to live again.
Before we get started, let’s define what “free” time really means here. It can manifest itself in the moments we steal to cook a meal, switch the laundry, walk your dog, or get working on a side hustle.
Everything else that is directly related to your job, is considered work. The rest is play.
Planning and Prioritizing
The week ahead will feel less overwhelming if you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done each day. To start, identify your role/roles and assign each role to a certain day of the week.
For instance, on Mondays, I’m in manager mode handling any emergency issues with our operations and customer service teams. On Tuesdays, I am in my CEO role, strategizing and sitting in on calls with my team. Wednesdays are dedicated to a personal work day. Thursday is my ‘clean up the inbox’ afternoon. Fridays I try to keep as a personal inspiration day, where I do something that may help my work down the road, but is also enjoyable for me.
*Full transparency, that isn’t my week every single week. Sometimes my weeks are chaotic and I wear all the hats at the same time. It’s life, it happens. We aren’t striving for perfection here.
- Get dressed, or don’t, but at least brush your teeth, make your bed, open the blinds, and make some breakfast. You don’t have to rush out the door anymore, so take all the time you need to do the small things that will set the tone for your day.
- Create a work vs home environment. Similar to sleep training a baby—when it’s time for bed, you make the space as dark, quiet and relaxing as possible, and when it’s time to get up, you open the blinds and make the room feel bright and alive. Treat your space the same. Select lighting, music, and essentials to each home environment.
- Jam the fuck out—turn up that music, and let it vibe and guide you through your work. Your office is now your entire home, so fill it up with whatever energy you need to stay motivated and inspired.
Now Here’s Where We Get Back to Living More
- Batch work—you’re working from home with no one to look over your shoulder. This is a chance to up your productivity, and get to more living. Batch tasks and activities to limit the amount of time that you’re sitting at your desk throughout the day. For example, I batch my email responses every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, and I refrain from using email for chats. If something needs to be handled sooner, my expectation is that someone will call me, or email me multiple times.
- Organize your inbox—create a color coding system to flag your emails as urgent or not. This helps your eyes easily scan your inbox to decide what needs handled or what can wait.
- Start at the bottom—select the largest, most time consuming task. An old trick I learned in grade school when experiencing test anxiety, was that sometimes it’s good to start with a question or task you’re the most nervous about tackling, versus starting at the beginning. Working from home can feel as if it drags on all hours of the day, because your office is right there in your home. You can get sucked into staying on top of everything, but then what happens to everything at the bottom?
- Play—if you find yourself with a break, step outside. Go for a quick walk. Make a snack, sit on the toilet for 15 minutes, just live and play. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so make the best of it by reigniting your imagination. Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. Stuart Brown, the founder of the national institute of play, has studied what are called the play histories of some six thousand individuals and has concluded that play has the power to significantly improve everything from personal health, to relationship, education, and an organization’s ability to innovate. “Play,” he says, “leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity.” As he succinctly puts it, “Nothing fires up the brain like play.”
- Set boundaries—without limits, everything eventually becomes spread so thin that getting it all done feels virtually impossible. Boundaries can seem restrictive, when really, they are empowering. Boundaries protect your time from being hijacked, and often free you from having to say no to things that further other peoples objectives, instead of your own.
- Work from anywhere—you’re not in an office right now, or for the foreseeable future. Explore new places and new ways to be productive. Work from your couch, work from your porch, work from your kitchen table, work from your phone while you take a long hot bath. Your office is now remote, and you can take it anywhere with you.
With everything going on, the majority of us will be working from home indefinitely. While this may feel daunting for some, it’s important that we take this opportunity to create the work culture we’ve always wanted for ourselves. Something we can control is the work environment that we create within our homes. Working from home provides a sense of freedom that so many of us can benefit from— goodbye 9-5 culture, hello WFH culture!
Gone are the days of feeling tethered to a desk, forcing yourself to fight through blocked inspiration, or having to wait until you take lunch just to step out and see the sun. Now, you have the opportunity to close the computer, head out for a quick walk to keep inspiration flowing, and get some very necessary vitamin D.
We’re all at the forefront of a unique cultural moment where, for the first time, almost everyone who was formerly working in an office setting, is now working from the confined comfort of their homes. Even better, there is no blueprint for what each work week looks like. Arguably, this is the most exciting part—we have the chance to define what this new work culture can look like.
All of us are adjusting, and it’s important to honor what feels right to the individual, knowing that what works for your boss or your coworker, might not work for you. We’ve laid out some of our most honest tips, and we hope they help or even inspire others to take this newfound freedom and discover what works for them.
This is a historic shift, where we have the opportunity to move away from the stereotypical, and oftentimes outdated, work culture that left so many people feeling spread thin, burned out, and restricted. Let’s make it count!
Kat Frey is a Brooklyn based writer, who originally hails from The Wing. Kat has historically worked with women-lead brands, and her writing spans from culture and cannabis, to overall health and wellness. When she’s not busy writing for Rosebud CBD, she spends her time thumbing through The Cut, Man Repeller, and T Magazine, or listening to Las Culturistas. Her favorite form of self care is adding our 350mg tincture to homemade face and hair masks!