I didn’t think I’d be writing this post 7 days ago. But here we are, being thrown headfirst into a world we don't really understand, with millions of people currently self-isolating, under quarantine, under a potential shelter-in-place mandate, or being asked to work from home by their company because of the current health crisis. It’s an extraordinary and challenging time.
According to Google Trends, there has been a significant and understandable uptick in people in the US searching for content around ‘working from home’ or ‘remote working’ over the past week.
vidIQ is a fully remote global company. We don’t have a central office and every member of the company works from home. I asked some of the team for tips about what works for them when it comes to staying motivated and productive. I hope you find them useful.
25 Working From Home Tips from the vidIQ Team
#1 If you’re sharing a house with a partner, come up with your own boundaries. For instance: "If I’m in my office, I’m working," or "between 9am and 3 pm I’m working". Also, I make sure to communicate that if I can't chat, it's not personal, it just takes a long time to shift gears from work to personal.
Rob Sandie, CEO
#2 Be more flexible with your time. I always set myself a 45-minute work chunk where I may break off for 5 minutes to empty the bin, or empty the dishwasher - something physical versus sitting at my desk. Oh and get a comfortable chair.
Rob Wilson, YouTuber-In-Residence
#3 Get a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. Dishing out a little extra pocket change is worth it for quality audio and blocking out the noises of home when you need to focus on work.
Matthew Mitsui, Head of Data Science
#4 It might seem obvious but carve out your own space somewhere at home so you can leave it at the end of the working day. If you don't, the lines between work and personal time may become so blurred you end up adding more stress to an already difficult situation.
Carla Marshall, Head of Content Marketing
#5 Use Slack, Asana, Google Doc, Notion to stay on top of your work. Create healthy boundaries between work and home life.
Umit Ceylan, Product/Growth
#6 Keep a to-do list handy and give yourself deadlines for when to get specific tasks done. If your company doesn't already have a task system, an easy one to get started with is Google Tasks. This can be accessed on your phone or in your email's inbox. Discord is also a great tool for keeping in touch with friends and/or work colleagues.
Dan Carter, Executive Producer
#7 Destinate space to work in that's purely for work and when you're in the space, let everyone know not to bother you. Sometimes the best space in a busy home is inside a closet. Do whatever you can to stay focused and limit your interruptions. Another tip, don't do ANY housework when you are working from home, it'll distract you and interrupt your flow. When you're working from home, you work, when you're done working, go to town and clean your toilet seats!
Bobby Huang, Head of Growth
#8 Schedule time to check-in with your teammates weekly, either individually or as a group. You will be checking in on work reasons already, but use this time to check in as people. Since you are not in an office, organic conversations won't just happen, and those are important to stay connected as a team.
Danielle Frizziola, People Ops
#9 Set a reminder to stand up and move. Also, try not to sit in front of the computer right after getting out of bed or you can be glued to it until lunchtime. Lastly, try not to sleep in the same room/area you work in.
Sam Zhao, Senior Frontend Engineer
#10 Working from home is like working from the office (minus the commute of course). Set your alarm, get dressed, head to the "office" and get into the workday as you normally would. It’s also critical to take breaks and get up and away from your computer - go outside for a bit of fresh air so your brain can get that refresh.
Liron Segev, Director of Customer Success
#11 I don't strictly stick to a 9-5 schedule. I often have long lunches (partly because I need to take Jasper, my dog, for a walk), but I'll make that up and more by working later or starting earlier. When my commute involves 5 steps, I am happy to work when I am motivated, fresh and buzzing with ideas whatever time of day it is.
Rob Wilson, YouTuber-In-Residence
#12 I won’t move my laptop from my desk. I noticed when I would work from my bed or couch, it was easy to get distracted. I know when I am at my desk it is work time. It can be difficult to push yourself to get ready for the day when working remote. However, I tell myself "no coffee" until I shower and get dressed and that motivates me because I cannot do without coffee. Plus the shower helps wake me up.
Brittany Garcia, Social Media Manager
#13 If you are new to working from home, try to set up a routine that "switches" you from non-working mode to working mode. It might be wearing a more formal set of clothes, leaving the apartment for a brief walk (to simulate "going to the office"), or something like that. This will help you re-orient your brain and help you get into the working mood; when the work is done, it will help you wind down and stop being "at work" to prevent yourself from never giving yourself a rest.
Ilya Lyubimov, Affiliate Manager
#14 Recognize that the danger of working at home is that you overwork which then affects family time. Setting an end-of-day time and sticking to it will help. With freedom comes responsibility - deliver your work to the same quality as your would if you were in the office and perhaps when all this becomes a distant memory, remote working could be a permanent way of working
Liron Segev, Director of Customer Success
#15 One of the biggest struggles about working from home is timing and focus, for that I recommend to follow a shift and try to separate things at home. Avoid working from your bed, for example. :)
Frederico Soares da Silva, Senior Front End Engineer
#16 I always ensure I have great coffee brewing throughout the day in addition to putting specific holds in my calendar so that I can get some fresh air and walk. I try and have lunch at a restaurant to engage with people if I'm not working at a co-working spot. I also might ask a colleague to hop on a Zoom call to chat and have a real-time connection if there is a topic that might benefit from that instead of Slack or email!
Liza Frank, Executive Assistant to CoFounder, CEO
#17 Try to set up your workspace so it catches the sun. Also, keep it free from clutter.
Pavel Sinev, Customer Experience Specialist
#18 Use Pomodoro to balance out your work/rest. Make a TODO list at the beginning of the day.
Anton Serhiienko, Scala Engineer
#19 Have a work area that is only for work and nothing else
Travis McPherson, Customer Success
#20 Try choosing a dedicated workspace that is separated from your free time activities – we have a home office I use to get work done. This limits distractions and allows you to focus on your daily tasks!
Ryan Gliever, Frontend Engineer
#21 Have a separate space where you can close the door and get away from noise (especially if you have kids). The secondary benefit of a separate space is mental separation so that when you aren't in that space but at home, you can be present with your family/friends and not be in work mode.
Tom Martin, Consultant
#22 Start your day with your laptop fully charged, once your battery runs out, that's time to take care of yourself. Once you've taken care of yourself, charge your laptop back up.
Andrew Durber, Front-end Engineer
#23 I tell my kids, "just because you see me doesn't mean I'm available." It's hard to balance work and Dad guilt, but it's a necessary art that must be mastered.
Marcus Nelson, Marketing
#24 To help me get out of my PJs and make the bed on "self-work days" I make a to-do list. This makes me feel productive, especially if I can clear the to-do list by the end of the day. And yes "wake up, make the bed, make a brew and get dressed" are all viable tasks!
Alan Spicer, Customer Success
#25 Get some fresh air!
Matt Livingston, Data Research
It's important to remember that different things work for different people. Don't beat yourself up if you're balancing working from home with limited space, limited technology, child care or any other challenges. You've got this.