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Advice from Founders: How to Handle Extended Remote Work


Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, your company may have mandated that you work from home for the time being. Though you’re probably not new to remote work, this situation is a bit different: we have no idea when we will be back in the office and, in the meantime, we can’t work anywhere but from within our homes.

So, we thought we’d reach out to a very remote-work-friendly population: our members! As founders and entrepreneurs, most of our members have spent long periods of time working alone from home and have plenty of tips to share so that you stay productive and mentally well throughout this stint.


Cultivate a Morning Routine

When the need exists to show your face physically in an office, you make sure to brush your teeth, run a comb through your hair, and throw on some work-acceptable clothes. Even though we aren’t walking many steps away from bed to start out work days when working remotely, it’s of the utmost importance to create a brand, new morning routine for yourself.

For some, this means taking a shower and being presentable every morning and for others, it’s a morning stroll with a cup of coffee. Whatever it is, be sure not to wake up at 8:55 AM, grab your laptop, and start working under the covers. This is not a recipe for longterm work-from-home success!


Bring Positivity to Your Team Every Day

As a member of a team, your attitude affects everyone on the team, especially if you’re the one leading. Coming to work with at least one positive tidbit to relay to your team every day can help keep overall team morale high and increase productivity.

In regards to those in positions of management, Andy Freivogel, CEO of Science Retail, Inc. says, “[Your team members] are looking to you to help navigate all of this, even if they pretend they are not.” Your tone sets an example for your entire team!


Get Outside (Safely)

This may not be possible for everyone, especially if you live in a highly congested area and don’t have some sort of outdoor area such as a patio in your own home. However, if you are able to, take a walk outdoors, go for a run, or just stand on your porch for some time, enjoying fresh air. At the very least, you may be able to open a window and catch the breeze indoors!

It’s necessary for us to note that no one should use these outdoor jaunts as an excuse to see anyone they are not quarantined with. Also, make sure to maintain safe distances from fellow wanderers!


Workout at Home

Gyms are closed and that may be tragic, but it’s certainly not an excuse not to work out! Here are some tips our members had for working out while you’re

  • Climb your building’s stairs for exercise
  • Take shorter daily workouts instead of longer ones periodically throughout the week so you get your endorphins pumping every day. This way, you can start your day off with a mini workout or squeeze one into your lunch hour to give yourself a burst of energy when you need it most!
  • Start creating a group of your favorite YouTube trainers! Many trainers and fitness coaches are taking to Instagram or Facebook Live to do live workouts, as well.
  • Incorporate exercise into mundane activities throughout the day. Going to the bathroom? Lunge walk your way over. Waiting for the microwave to heat your food? Do some calf raises or a wall sit while you wait.
  • Schedule workouts into your calendar. Your life is more predictable now, so you’re more likely to stick to whatever plans you put into your calendar.


Take a Lunch

While you may have gotten up to grab lunch with coworkers in the past or at least taken a lunch break because everyone else was, you may find it harder to do so now because of the lack of camaraderie. You may also find yourself snacking a lot throughout the day. “Don’t eat so much,” says Daniel Vallejos, Lead Human Resources Architect for 360HRE. “It’s easy to snack throughout the day when at home. I feel like I live in an AmazonGo.”

Instead, set your Slack status to “Out for Lunch”, inform anyone who needs to know that you are stepping away from your computer, and fully shut your laptop for the duration of your lunch break. Set a timer on your phone for when you need to be back and place it aside, too, so you aren’t tempted to check notifications or emails during lunch.

A very fun idea posed by one of our members: take a longer lunch every once in a while and have virtual lunch dates with friends, coworkers, or family members! You did it when you were going into the office, why not keep it up now?


Get Off the Couch, Turn Off the TV

It is almost too tempting when working from home to get too comfortable. Sitting on the couch or, even worse, your bed, is a good way to associate places of leisure with work stress. It’s also not great for your posture!

Likewise, having the TV on may seem harmless, but it’s very detrimental to your productivity, on top of not allowing you a very relaxing Netflix experience.

Instead, sit at a table or a desk, or even find a way to simulate a standing desk by propping some boxes or books up on a dresser or countertop. Turn off your TV show and switch on your Spotify app instead to get music flowing throughout your workspace. That way, it’ll feel more like a coffee shop AND you won’t be able to turn on the TV.


Keep Your Work Day Regular

“Make sure you are not working longer hours than you would if you were in an office,” says Scott Weil, Managing Director of Chicago Blues Camp. If you worked from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM with a one-hour lunch break, don’t open your laptop until 9:00. Use what would have otherwise been your commute time to enjoy breakfast and coffee and read a book.

If you aren’t working closely with team members, find an accountability buddy to help keep you focused throughout the day and to keep you honest about logging off at a reasonable time. To-do lists seem to never end when we don’t have a train to catch at the end of the day.


Turn Your Video On

This one is simple. Communication is often muddled through text conversations. A phone call is more effective, but even more so is a video call! “Video calls make people feel just a bit closer,” says Osayanmo Osarenkhoe, CEO of Gyst Audio.

An added benefit? Video calls are a strong incentive to look presentable — something that might unexpectedly keep your spirits up.


Schedule In Socialization

Constant remote work and physical distancing doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t have a robust social life. “Budget time for socializing with real friends, even if it’s on the phone or Zoom,” advises Dana Todd, CEO of Balodana. It may seem strange to have phone calls with family in your calendar or happy hours with friends over Zoom, but it gets less weird every time you do it!

Setting up social events after work is a good way to hold yourself accountable and not end up over-working. It’s also something to look forward to. It makes all the difference to plug it into your calendar.


Put These Tips to Practice!

Though you’ll probably see some repetitive advice here, overall, try to be much more intentional about your work-from-home processes. Build in accountability, discipline, and FUN into every single day. This will be over before we even realize, so let’s make the best of it and lean on each other to thrive!

Any more stand out tips? Let us know via Twitter.


Topics: Members

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