Like a lot of offices right now, Go-To HQ has gone virtual. Our magnificent office team are all working from home, so I asked/forced them all to share their most helpful tips for anyone else who might be in a similar pyjama-filled situation right now.
I’ve worked from home for 10 years so LISSEN UP.
- GET DRESSED. Proper clothes. Denim. Clean tee. Shoes. Also do ‘something’ with your hair, and wear skin care and some makeup. If you look like a mess, your day will be a mess. I know this to be fact. (And anyway, that’s what weekends are for.)
- SCHEDULE. Put blocks of time in for flow work, for emails, for lunch, for taking your kids for a bike ride, and for exercise. And close the laptop at 5 or 6. Even if you open it again later. Enforce your closed sign.
- REWARDS. I’m a simple human. I need treats to be disciplined. So if I do an hour of work, I get to make another coffee. If I finish a project, I ‘get’ to run errands. If I do all my emails, I get to go for a walk. Like I said: simple.
Zoë Foster Blake, Founder
Breaks! I find it really important to stand up throughout the day and walk around my apartment (executing flawless self-control by not always walking to the fridge) (Sometimes the fridge sneaks in) (50% of the time the fridge gets a look-in). When you’re at work, you’re up and down talking to people but when you’re at home, you can sit stagnant for hours. Stretching your legs (and lower back!) multiple times a day is key for me.
Jess, Senior Brand Manager
Schedule! Exercise! Resist the constant urge to Marie Kondo everything!
Hil, Gro-To Creative Lead
Top tip is to start and end the day with a walk around the block with your dog/s (if no dog, you should highly consider getting one... https://www.rspca.org.au/adopt-pet). Also super important to: Exercise! Take (many) breaks! Call a friend! Snack often!
Christine, Office Manager & EA
Getting up and dressed like I am heading into the office (albeit in slightly softer clothes) gets me in the right mindset to start the day. That, and making sure to have a hard stop at the end of the day. It's so easy to keep staying “on” indefinitely when your home becomes the office. Shut that computer down at a set time everyday. Celebrate it with a “honey I am home” and pour yourself a cocktail!
Leonie, Marketing and Communications Director
Find a way to ‘leave work’ at the end of the day. When I’m ready to call “finito!” on my tasks, I’ll make sure I shut my laptop and put it away. Then I’ll get up and walk downstairs (or even just out on the balcony for a few minutes) before I come back inside. It’s like I’m coming home from work! (Even though I’ve been here all day!)
Alice, Content and Marketing Executive, Gro-To
Have a proper lunch break; really take that mental break from work, and your screen, savour your food and maybe look out a window or something. Also! Pre-warn your partner that all these deliveries that are arriving are important, essential items for survival and not just more books or donuts. Then make sure you answer the door first. It’s a full time job in itself, really.
Alex, Customer Service Pixie
Maintain a normal schedule and wake up/go to sleep at my regular time. I try to make good use of the extra time not required for commuting by getting in a light workout or even doing some housework in the morning. If I’m having a bit of a ‘meh’ day, I’ll go for a walk instead and grab a takeaway coffee from my local cafe in the morning. Little breaks for walks in the sunshine (and the odd Netflix break) are 100% required.
Natalie, Senior Graphic Designer
Key to happily and productively working from home is trying to maintain some sort of schedule. For me that’s best achieved by snack breaks. Don’t laugh. I find it crucial. I put them in my diary. I set alarms. I overdo it. Not just for rationing of snacks so I don’t end up devouring a packet of Oreos pre-12pm but also to help me to focus on work with the added incentive of the snack at the end of the spreadsheet-tunnel. And not fret about that email over my third cup of tea.
Em, Social Media and PR Executive
If you have enough room, set up a working space and avoid working from your bed/sofa/kitchen counter (even though that’s a prime location for mid-work snacks). Even if you don’t have a separate study in your house, setting up a table or a desk with your laptop, notebook and everything you’d have in an office, does great things for productivity. And make it FUN! Add a plant, a candle, artwork! Whatever it takes so you actually want to sit there (instead of your bed!).
Andrea, Ecommerce Manager
I’ve worked from home on-off for the last 3 years and what works for me is to write a to-do list, be realistic about what I’ll actually get through in the list, and just work through it. I set myself up with a water jug, coffee or tea, candle or incense, and I have plants. Lots of plants in every room.
Rowena, Art Director
It’s nothing groundbreaking but I always get up at least an hour early. Sleeping in and forcing myself to go straight into Work Mode is never, ever a good idea. I wish I could say I spent that extra time doing something like meditating or exercise, but um, honestly, I don’t. I just listen to a podcast, scroll on my phone, and sip green tea. And by the time I switch my laptop on, I’m awake and ready.
Megs, Content Manager
Keep your space fresh and clean. Tidy up after you snack, put on a candle, make your bed, fluff the couch pillows. There is nothing worse than writing a report and thinking about all the chores you should do. Feeling zen in a space makes me so much more productive.
Makenzie, Wholesale Operations + Sustainability Executive.
Don’t get stuck at your desk. When I’m in the office, I usually stand up and walk around 2-3 times every two hours. Don’t forget that you can do this at home, too! Walk around, open the fridge, see some sun, water your plants. Anything that won’t make your day monotonous.
Icon, Web Developer
Utilise the ‘lack’ of commute. I generally enjoy smashing a hearty podcast (or five) on the train, but when having a mega two steps from bed-to-desk, I like to take advantage of the extra time. Don’t be a loaf and sleep in. Keep that same alarm. Listen to your podcasts. Sweat out a workout, or even whip out an omelette! Look at you go!
Georgia, Community Coordinator
Not particularly original, but I find that if I wear trackpants, I stay in a trackpant state-of-mind for the entire day (which isn’t always the best state-of-mind for prolonged working from home periods). If I get dressed as if I’m going into the office (which, in my case, is super casual at the best of times), it puts me in a much more focused and productive headspace.
Also: LOG OFF. Without the physical separation of office and home, it can be hard to feel like your day has truly finished at 5-6 o’clock. I make sure the computer is turned off and my work nook is tidied and packed away so I can mentally finish the work day.
Matt, Graphic Designer
I usually just get my game face on and work away. Aside from that, a general rule for me is to always have a dedicated working space, that way I automatically switch to work mode out of habit.
Secondly, Always have a comfortable chair, a tidy work table in an area of the house that is well lit and where everything is at arm's reach or a twist of a chair.
Lastly, do not forget to celebrate small successes, tell yourself you are great, boast about it even when you are alone or reward yourself with a quick break, it keeps you motivated to go on.
Joey, Senior Web Developer
I’ve found that what I am wearing is important to help me break the day into blocks. Work gear, after work gear and relaxing after dinner gear. I think I would have done really well at Downton Abbey. Now, where IS that ladies maid?
Diana, Customer Service Manager
Having a dedicated workspace really does help, taking breaks, and making sure you keep in contact with people by video, phone, or email.
Also, take the time to ask how people are going! And give yourself some time to adjust! Especially if it is new to you! Don’t be too hard on yourself during this time!
Jena Ngatupuna, Production Manager