3 Tips for Working from Home (For the Non-Instagram Influencers)
Before mid-March, I personally never saw myself working from home in my career. Job postings for remote positions always had a strange undercurrent, a subtextual message that read “because we’re letting you work in your pajamas, we will work you all hours of the day.” I would read these too good to be true job descriptions and immediately have a “That’s So Raven” like vision of myself walking my dog and taking a call, showering and taking a call, or the anxiety inducing act of running an errand and missing a call. Though a traditional 9-5 wasn’t exactly ideal, at least there were some solid boundaries between work and home.
But now things have changed. I had to face my preconceived notions about working from home and come to terms with the fact my last concrete boundary in my career was being, necessarily, obliterated. Then the notifications began pouring in, why does every software seem to have a different yet just as piercing notification bell as the next? For the first time ever, I turned off the notifications on all my devices; the transition to remote work, mixed together with everyone’s own paranoia and anxiety, manifested itself in thousands of messages from colleagues and clients alike.
However, my company began working from home pretty late in the game, for better or worse. On my commutes during those final days, with the number of train passengers slowly dwindling around me, I was enthralled watching the Instagram stories I saw from the internet’s favorite influencers. These were people who solely worked at home, this was their time to shine, and a topic in which they could give actual sound advice for once. Clearly, this thought was fleeting. I don’t have a personal espresso machine to make an oat milk matcha latte to start my day. I have a dining room table that was already doubling as a makeup vanity and now magically had to turn into a fully functioning corporate desk overnight, not a separate shed to set up my own personal office. And somehow, I still didn’t have the energy to wake up each day, put on a cute outfit, do my hair and make up, just to make it feel like I’m going to the office...now a full two feet from my bed.
So here are my tips on working from home, from someone who is actually doing it for the first time and just trying her best.
- Don’t work from bed.
As I lay here currently in my bed writing this, I can attest this is a terrible idea. This is honestly a bad habit I picked up in college writing my thesis. I was great at drawing boundaries between work and play, even in school. Almost never bringing work home, I was a huge fan of working at the library late into the night or waking up early to finish work at said library before anyone was awake or even debating whether to go to their 8:00 am or not. But then came my senior thesis, and after working a part time job and attending a full schedule of classes, sometimes those last 30 pages of the week had to be written fully horizontal while shoving handfuls of shredded cheese in my mouth. Working from home, I can’t say I work out of my bed 100% of the time. Sometimes it is the best place for back support to be fair, but I have found even moving to another area of the apartment for an hour or two, maybe even from lunch onward, can really make a difference. Reserve the bed for binging Love Island and laying awake restless at night wondering on a loop if your ex is worried about if you have coronavirus and then realizing if they were actually worried they would’ve texted you by now and they haven’t even made a peep.
- Take A Lunch Break
Being a huge fan of both lunch and breaks, I really didn’t think this would be hard to adhere by. Maybe it's because those first few days working from home were a huge learning curve for all, or maybe its because even in a traditional corporate setting lunch breaks are reserved only for executives wearing boring blue button downs and slacks so they can single handedly keep Sweetgreen in business, but I wasn’t accustomed to taking breaks longer than 15 minutes at a time during the work day. Yes, I can hear you cry “that’s not right!” and you’re correct, it is not right! But it is the reality for many entry level workers. Working from home is a great way to teach yourself it's ok to take a walk during the day and be unavailable for a minute. And not having to prep lunch means your sad tupperware salads will become a variety of creative concoctions you’d never be able to make on a regular work day. So take a break from your emails at least once a day and have fun eating those bizzare homemade hummus quesadillas you saw on TikTok you weirdo.
- You Really Should Workout Before or After Work
I know, I know what you’re thinking. I can hear your cries, “But you were making self deprecating jokes about shoving cheese into your mouth earlier and how you can’t even LIFT a hair brush right now! We trusted you!” Well while that is all true, I’m also a huge proponent of diet and exercise to boost one’s mood, alleviate anxiety, and all around improve your quality of life. It can be confusing, but this cheese addicted, chocolate craving, delinquent midnight snacker is in fact super into working out. This is less a commentary on anyone’s preoccupation with weight loss or gain during shelter in place (we’re all worried about one or the other) but really just another suggestion on how to break up your day that only has positive results. I’m not saying you have to dust off your old P90X DVD, because if you have one you should throw it out immediately, you can stream it online now boomer! But even 10 minutes of stretching, dancing, or body weight exercises can make you feel energized and provide an escape from the shame we’re feeling about all the non-moving we’re doing right now. There are tons of free YouTube videos, apps, and even free trials of previously pricey work out programs available right now. So pause the Love Island, yes it’s hard, and move for 10 minutes at least. You’’ll find you might actually want to keep going.
I hope this helps all you normal, non-Instagram famous people of the world. I wouldn’t know what your life is like, I have 584 followers on my private account and am praised relentlessly in the comments by my best friend’s mother, I am truly living my dream #blessed. But just remember, if you're not quarantining with your unnaturally hot fiance or husband doing the savage dance, if you’re finding it hard to remove the college sweatshirt that has now become your second skin, or you’re just sick of the outlook notification bell, at Glamour and Honey we’re here to help, or at least make you laugh.
If you are so inclined to dress the part, shop Glamour and Honey.