Once upon a time, in what seems like a distant memory, people used to work in offices. Desks were shared. Face-to-face meetings were had. Germs were exchanged. Then, without warning – except actually with much warning – we were advised to quarantine at our homes.

Today, as I sit on my bed preparing to move to my “designated work area,” I have the luxury of not showering (I still do) and not having to wear shoes (I definitely don’t). However, those small details that once mattered in a world of in-person interaction don’t truly elevate my productivity levels as I’m working from home. And while you’re at home (we hope), in your own designated work area, you may be finding it difficult to focus. To help you get back on track while we fight the COVID-19 pandemic collectively, we interviewed our now-remote office folks for advice. 

(Side note: humor helps us have hard conversations, but this is serious business. Stay home, stay safe.)

How are you staying productive?

From waking up earlier and taking morning walks before getting started on creating to-do lists and being mindful of distractions, it seems DSers have one thing to say: turn off the TV and develop your own routine.

“I've developed routine amidst the chaos. I typically start my day from my room with my windows open and essential oils diffusing. I later migrate down to my living room, where my make-shift desk is, to continue working. I like the change of location mid-day. It keeps my mind moving.”

I picked up some unique advice from someone who’s doing it right: make your spouse cook breakfast. Even with all of these day-to-day changes, on one thing we can all agree, there’s a huge benefit to working from home.

“For sure I keep the TV turned off during my working hours. Honestly, I'm probably more productive than when I'm at the office because the phone's not ringing, I'm not getting pulled into impromptu meetings and I don't have to keep the kitchen cleaned up.”

And, while loungewear has become the new office uniform, there is something to be said about simply putting on a pair of jeans to feel more productive, or so they tell me.

Is there anything you've learned while working from home that you plan to bring back with you into the office?

For me, the answer is easy: bring more snacks to work for additional brain power. For some, getting used to being on the phone or a teleconference has become less daunting. And for others, well, see for yourself.

“Don't leave CNN on in the background all day. Snoring puppies underfoot are helping productivity. Can they come back to the office too?”

“Having a cat in your lap during work is pretty therapeutic, but I don't think my co-workers would enjoy that at the office. So, probably won't be able to bring that one back. Maybe an occasional therapy dog?”

Can I get a woof woof? In all seriousness, people have learned that production time is best spent in quiet; Google Meet video is way better than UberConference; status check-in sheets are next to godliness; two monitors are better than one; and taking better notes helps everyone reference things after meetings.

“I think I've learned the value in consistency, the beauty in routine. I'm not sure exactly why yet, but I think it's good for us.”

Are there any challenges you're facing working from home? If so, how are you overcoming them?

There’s no doubt that, whether in the office or at home, distractions can hinder the best of us. To maximize mental space, it’s so important to take breaks and feed your soul. Here’s what the jury has to say.

“Staying focused can be difficult at times, so I batch the tasks I need to do and give myself small breaks in between.”

“I don't have a home office because I have a one bedroom apartment. That means I'm working in my living room and then sitting in my living room for most of the evening, so the separation between work and leisure time is not there. It helps to go outside and run or pop over to my parents' for a bit, just to get some space.”

“I try to listen to music and go for short walks to get some fresh air to reset.”

“My ‘coworker’ at home is a chatty five year old. I've had to learn creative ways to keep her busy so I can be productive”

Challenges are just opportunities that need to be unmasked. Can someone please unmask this person’s challenges? Or at least release its claws.

“I’ve moved my workspace to the back porch because my husband, also working from home, is on conference calls ALL DAY LONG. I’ve also learned not to leave my phone on the couch, because the dog tried to FaceTime someone. And, finally, I’m still struggling with how to keep the cats off the laptop keyboard and am currently taking suggestions.”

“Honestly, my biggest problem is not letting myself snack all day.” (Editor's Note: Literally same.)

“Uh. Keeping myself presentable.”

Take These Wings and Learn to Fly

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by Covid-19, and we are so appreciative to our leaders at Designsensory for letting us work from home and do our part to ensure this virus does not spread unnecessarily. During these times, it’s important to cherish the loved ones around us, support the communities we live in, and encourage others to do the right thing and stay safe. We hope these tips truly inspire someone to thrive better during a time of social distance. Let’s make the most out of our current situation. Cheers to working from home, and cheers to health!