be a remote rock star
Make space for everything that matters
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Considering social changes afoot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked our team of virtual-office veterans what advice they would give to someone new to remote working on six hot topics. Choose a topic below:
What is work-life balance when your working life and your home life happen in the same space? This may be a thing you never get perfectly right—and not everyone agrees what “right” is—but it’s a thing worth your attention. Finding balance—even if it’s precarious—is worth the effort. Our team has a lot to say about this, and not everyone agrees. Enjoy!
Use your solitude. Being alone all day takes some getting used to. But it brings rewards, too. Embrace deep thinking, staring at the wall, considering black holes, and writing poetry. Soon enough, you’ll long for the quiet and alone time again.
Ben Carmel | Learning Designer, Facilitator
I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as work-life balance. We do however make work life choices every day. Some seasons we are more focused on work and in other seasons personal development or family. This is one of those seasons that we will have to make some choices.No one choice is right or wrong but we do have to decide what is in the best interest of our family, our work, and our business each and every day. Some days we may find it harder to get work done with the needs of our families pressing on us. Instead of resisting that, lean into it. Know tomorrow is a new day for you to get the much-needed work that you have done.
Natalie Born | VP of Innovation
Given how the coronavirus is shaping remote working as we currently understand it, I would not worry too much about work/life balance. Focusing on keeping family and friends safe and healthy should be the highest priority. As normalcy eventually returns, remote working offers opportunities to shape work around your life needs. Consider when you are most productive and when you are required to be available or present. Instead of a continuous 8-10 hour day, think of it in blocks of time (e.g., 1-hour early morning, 3 hours pre-lunch, 2 hours afternoon, 2+ hours post-dinner). Shape this as it best suits your schedule. Remote working also means potentially working on the go. Book a meeting that you can take at a coffee shop after running an errand or dropping a child at an activity.
Matt Morasky | Head of Client Services
Everyone’s experienced the moment when you look up, bleary-eyed, to realize that it’s 3 pm and you haven’t left your desk since your first meeting started at 9 am. It’s easy to melt away the hours within the endless abyss of your computer monitor. There is and always will be more to do.Set intentions and allow yourself the time to look out a window, stand up and stretch, take a bio break, give your pet some love, and eat something! Even if there isn’t water cooler talk or a foosball table in a remote workplace environment, take the time to have “offline” conversations with your coworkers to laugh together, shoot-the-breeze, share information, and factual tidbits, and build a culture that promotes social connections.
Annie Pomeranz | Director of Operations & Project Management
Create an office space: Gather everything you need (behind a door, if possible) then manage expectations with your cohabitants.Be realistic about work effort: it’s easy to allow some days to stretch out too long, so take breaks and balance your hours over the week as much as you can to keep some energy in the tank. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Matt Adams | Head of Creative Services
This relates directly to the topics of focus and productivity. If you are able to be focused and productive with your time, you will be able to have a healthy work-life balance. If you are not able to be focused and productive with your time, you will find the time you spend working dragging on and bleeding into time that should be spent on non-work activities. You will likely have some non-negotiable work commitments throughout the day (meetings, calls, etc…) but the rest will likely be up to you to schedule. Setting up your daily work routine is key to establishing the boundaries within which you will need to operate as a remote employee without the structure of the typical office day to guide you. So decide for yourself when your most productive times of the day are and commit to working during those times while reserving other times to take care of non-work obligations and activities. In an office, the separation between work and life is built-in, but in a remote role, it is your responsibility to draw those lines. Remote work carries the potential for much freedom, but only if you are disciplined to create it for yourself.
Joey Kenney | Director of Business Development
Establish boundaries. Take time for family, friends, and the joy of creativity and fun. Be mindful of your personal “brand” when you “overwork” all the time. (I’m guilty.)
Parker Lee | Managing Partner
The most important thing to remember if you are new to remote work or working from home is that you are the new part of the equation. Just because you are working from home does not mean that your home is now your office. Your family is not merely a distraction in your new workplace; you are the new variable in their living space.Talk to your family and make a plan that everyone can work with. Write it down and be patient as you all get used to the new normal.
Jeremy Lucas | Strategist
Keep a schedule that has time to walk away from your home office/desk. Everyone needs a break. Go for a walk as you are not in the office where you may get out of your seat more frequently to go to the printer, kitchen, etc. Even a lunchtime or afternoon walk around the neighborhood will help with your focus and psyche. Make sure to close the computer and not look at your phone at specific times so you can give yourself and family-focused time.
Rich Shawen | CFO