someone sitting cross-legged working on a laptop in their lap

Renata’s Guide: Do’s and Don’ts of Working from Home

Like many people throughout the country (and the world), I began working from home back in 2020, and since then, my job has become permanently remote. While I wasn’t sure how I would acclimate to working from home back in March 2020, I’ve actually really enjoyed it (although I’ve really missed the social aspect of working in the office). And since I’m now clearly an expert on how to best work from home, I thought I’d share my expert tips with all of my readers. 

You. Are. Welcome.

Do: Stay in bed every morning for as long as humanly possible.

Make sure you have plenty of hobbies around your bed you can use. Books, video game consoles, or anything else you would enjoy that help the morning suck less. Then, do that activity for an undetermined amount of time before looking at the clock and realizing that you have a meeting in 2 minutes. That way, when it’s finally time to get up and ready to start the day, you get to rush around like a chicken with your head cut off — just like you would if you were actually going into the office! Ahhhh, nostalgia.

Don’t: Put on real clothes under any circumstances.

I mean it. I don’t care how many Zoom calls you have on any given day. Work from home pants are yoga pants, sweat pants, or no pants. End of discussion.

Do: Enjoy the opportunities you do have to dress up.

Let’s be honest, now that you can live in sweatpants, dressing up is kind of a treat. All of those fancy, uncomfortable clothes that you used to dread wearing every day are now special occasion outfits that you get to fall in love with all over again. That skirt that you originally loved but got so tired of wearing it to work that you couldn’t stand the sight of it? Now you’re taking every opportunity to wear it and posing like an Animal Crossing character when you try it on.

Don’t: Worry about silly things like “lumbar support” and “keeping your spine straight.”

Put comfort above all else. If that means working in bed, work in bed! If that means sitting cross-legged on the couch, make the couch your new desk. Sure, you may start to develop lower back pain and have stiff legs every time you get up to pee, but that just comes with the territory, right?

Do: Have the TV on all day.

As you all know, I struggle being in a room with a TV that isn’t on. Every morning I sit down, open my laptop, and put on whatever show I’m currently binging. It’s time to give those subscription packages a workout.

Don’t: Watch something that requires too much of your attention.

You may be consuming more TV than ever before and find your old shows to be getting a bit boring, but it’s pretty much impossible to give new, complicated shows the attention they need while you’re also working. Then, you either neglect your work, or worse, miss some important plot points/character development. Unless you plan to go back and rewatch when you can pay attention, save your “new shows” watchlist for 5 pm.

Do: Eat what you want, when you want.

You have fridges, freezers, microwaves, and ovens at your disposal. Take advantage! Want to make yourself fresh eggs every day? Go for it! Want to have a 3-course ice cream meal for lunch? That’s your prerogative! Want to eat half of your lunch at noon and the other half at 4pm? What’s stopping you? Hell, if you’re missing an ingredient for your lunch, you can go to the store and get it. Fully enjoy having the freedom to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

Don’t: Work in a room with an unpleasant backdrop.

Remember the good ol’ days when coworkers couldn’t see how cluttered your house is? Now, with all of the Zoom meetings we have throughout the week, we can kiss those days goodbye! Try your best to find a space in your house with a neutral (or at least amusing) backdrop. Amusing would be better, for sure, but so few of us have full-wall murals of curly fries painted on our walls nowadays. If you can’t find somewhere that looks presentable, log onto your calls early and add a backdrop. I prefer the humble blur, but if you wanted, you could be on the beach, or the Golden Gate Bridge, or hell…anywhere that’s better than a Zoom call!

Do: Work in a room where people won’t be going in and out constantly.

If at all possible, segregate yourself from the rest of your house best you can. Make sure everyone else in the house has your meeting schedule. They’ll ignore it and interrupt it anyway, but at least you’ll be in the right when the battle inevitably ensues. Make up secret code knocks so that someone can discreetly see if you’re in a meeting without coming up behind you in a Zoom call without pants on and messing up your blur (hey! Someone was listening to my advice). Bonus: secret knock codes make you feel like a secret agent.

Do: All of those things that you were too tired to do before.

While showering used to be something I was always too exhausted to do, now it’s a relaxing part of my self-care routine! I highly recommend that everyone take all of the showers! I’m even getting in more exercise simply because I’m not nearly as exhausted as when I was commuting! If there’s anything you were too exhausted to do back before we were home 24/7 and you now find yourself with more energy, try adding it into your schedule (or lack thereof) and see how you feel.

Don’t: Miss out on doing all kinds of new hobbies!

Have you let your daily video game regimen go by the wayside? Grab that controller! Hoping to get back into reading? Join a virtual book club! Have you considered starting puzzles for a while but didn’t have the time? Now’s your chance! Been considering getting your coaching certificate for years now? Wow, Renata, that’s oddly specific, but yes! The world (that now exists solely in your living room) is your oyster!

Don’t: Forget to hydrate.

Just because there’s no more water cooler and water cooler gossip doesn’t mean that you should skip out on drinking the water that your body needs. Plus, with all of those extra showers and exercise, you’re going to need all of the hydration you can get. I mean, sure you could rehydrate your skin with lotion after those showers, but let’s not go overboard…

Do: Set boundaries between “work” and “home.”

When your desk is now in your living room, it can be difficult to distance yourself from your work and stop working at your normal time. Set healthy boundaries and make sure that you’re getting in the downtime that you need to function. Otherwise you’re going to burn out and you’re not going to be able to work, anyway!

Now that I’ve shared my tips and how I’ve been surviving working from home, I’d love to hear what everyone else has been doing! How are you liking it? What tips do you have? Be sure to share in the comments!

Photo by Kampus Production

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