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Experienced remote employees weigh in on best practices for working from home

Working from home full-time can be quite an adjustment for many Coleman employees. Whether its having children at home, longing for social interactions with coworkers, missing our WeWork office spaces, many of us are facing our own challenges as we adjust to working from home during this uncertain time.

However, a select few of our employees are more accustomed to working from home on a daily basis. Caroline Crocco, Amelia DeSnoo, and Ali Crouch are examples of employees who have been working remotely for a considerable amount of time before the rest of us. That's why we decided to pick their brains on what has been working best for them. They have overcome their own challenges and continued to excel in their respective roles. Here's how they did it:

 

How do you stay productive throughout the day?

 

Ali: I take my dog on a long walk every morning (my pseudo commute) to get some fresh air in the morning. If you eat lunch at your desk, which many Client Managers do at Coleman, be sure to get some air in the middle of the day. I have a to do list, which I also had when I worked in the office.

Amelia: I use OneNote to make To-Do lists, which helps me organize my tasks for the day. This helps me hold myself accountable. If I'm having trouble focusing, I like to dedicate a block of time to one task and may even add it to my calendar! When you physically work in an office, I think there are more organic mental breaks when you converse with your peers. Taking time away from your work to breath and recalibrate is important. Get up, stretch your legs, make a cup of tea, whatever it is. If you conflate the two, I think it can diminish the quality of your work.

Caroline: I have a great setup: a well-lit office that I ONLY use for work purposes. I think the intense client demand is what keeps me so motivated and productive throughout the day. Aside from that, I write out a few goals every single day to keep at my desk. Writing down key daily objectives helps keep me on pace to accomplish both short term and long-term goals

 

What is the biggest advantage to wfh? What is the biggest hurdle, and how do you overcome it?

 

Ali: I would say the biggest advantage is less distractions, so I can get through my to do list quicker and not be distracted by all that goes on in the office. When you talk and chat with people within the office, it's more intentional. Biggest hurdle…I honestly can't think of one for this position but I know people can get lonely/depressed. I would recommend fostering a dog/cat during COVID-19 if employees live alone

Amelia: Biggest Advantage - Sleeping in! Everyone on my team knows that I am a late riser, and that I love my beauty sleep. I've been told I'd grow out of it (the need/desire for 9+hours of sleep a night) but I don't see that happening any time soon. Also the ability to cook meals at home during lunch hour – I love cooking so this is a big perk (and saves $$). Another big advantage – flexibility to work on your own time (to a degree). Answering emails off hours and doing a little client work off hours is a lot more convenient when you already have a set up. Biggest hurdle – maintaining human connection! I didn't realize how much I'd miss this until I came to Seattle. Take advantage of Teams to chat and call with your teammates. You don't have to just reserve this for work-related things. How is their day going? How was their weekend? What is new in their life? These are things you keep up with when you're physically working together in an office, and helps maintain a sense of connection and camaraderie.  

Caroline: The biggest advantage is that I can be a bit more flexible with my schedule. I can attend 7:30 classes at the gym rather than signing up for the brutal 6 AM classes. I can go for a run during lunch, I don't have to spend as much money buying food during the day, etc. I think the biggest hurdle is not seeing my team members and work friends every day. That's why I love taking trips down to Raleigh whenever I can!

 

What is your #1 piece of advice to people just starting to wfh full-time?

 

Ali: Definitely establishing a routine and have a dedicated work space (ideally a separate room that's exclusively for working.)

Amelia: I haven't totally nailed this yet, but a routine is good to maintain if you're WFH (especially in light of being stuck inside even outside of work hours). It could be something like wake up, brush teeth, 10 minute meditation, make breakfast, listen to morning news podcast, start working. I've been trying to do the same thing outside of work hours as well to maintain my sanity.

Caroline: I like getting dressed in some of my nicer outfits and fixing my hair and make-up because I know I do my best work when I feel like my best self.

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