“Do. Or do not. There is no try,” said a famous green Muppet from a galaxy far, far away. As we approach the six-month marker for our staff working from home — as well as for the amazing community college teachers, admin, and students we support — the Interact team came up with the top 12 work from home tips you might not find anywhere else in the universe. We think Yoda would approve, and we hope that fire up your WFH mojo, you will.
After all, while COVID-19 isn’t forever, the way of work and education might just be transformed after we exit the pandemic. Even before the coronavirus, the #WFH labor force tippled in the past 15 years, according to the Federal Reserve. Now with social distancing in place, 63% of the global workforce surveyed by Lenovo said they feel more productive working from home. Meanwhile, 98% of employees surveyed in an extensive remote work report by Buffer said they would like to work from home for the rest of their careers.
When it comes to education, 15% of undergrads nationwide studied entirely online as early as the fall of 2019, according to research and consulting firm Eduventures. With the global health crisis increasing online ed exponentially, many experts see the reduced costs and broader accessibility of virtual classes as a possible silver lining.
So, whether you are working, learning, or teaching from home, these sage #WFH tips can give you “A New Hope.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
PART 1: Jedi Mind Tricks: WFH Lifehacks
1. Some Good Old Common Scents
“I’ve discovered a way to create my own Den of Zen,” says our smell-good-to-feel-good VP Mary DeLuca, who works from the East Coast. “Thanks to a gift from my kids (I think they were trying to tell me something), I remote control some morning calm into my day with a light-changing essential oil diffuser.”
In fact, Oprah Magazine says some scents have possible clinical backing for relaxing: lavender can calm without making you sleepy, bergamot orange has been shown to uplift mood while banishing fatigue, and chamomile may even have “meaningful antidepressant activity.”
For Mary, master of the Jedi mind sniff, aromatherapy gives her the perfect pick-me-up. “I’ve no clue if this WFH practice will make me work smarter or boost my creativity. But if I think it does, then it’s already doing the trick, right? Seems like ‘common scents’ to me!” ;)
2. Know the Pros by Their Clothes
“I still get dressed up and put on makeup,” says Alana Villemez, Director of Communications at our California office. For her, a little bit of lipstick goes a long way as she suits up and shows up.
According to advancedhires.com, a WFH dress code can actually give you a productivity boost, whether or not you have to for Zoom calls. Dressing for success can help reinforce your routine and put you in the zone by “tricking” your brain to get into work mode.
3. Snooze the News to Give Peace a Chance
“I choose not to look at the news or social media first thing in the morning,” says savvy Alejandra Navarro, Director of Communications at our California office. “I get dressed and work for a few hours. When I’m ready for my morning break, I read the news and check social media.”
Alejandra’s mental-health boosting strategy is a stellar way to beat the bad-news bummers: “I find reading the news or looking at social media right when I get up, especially these days, often increases my stress level, makes me worry or just puts me in a bad mood.”
Alejandra is right on with the American Psychological Association, which recently found that more than half of Americans say the news stresses them out, increasing anxiety, fatigue, and sleep loss. Yet one in 10 still checks the news every hour, and 20% are on their social media feeds 24/7, according to Time magazine. Limiting your news to a scheduled block every day is what experts suggest to stay in the know without sacrificing your serenity.
“I avoid headlines and memes until I’m in my groove,” says Alejandra. “This gives peace and happiness a fighting chance in my day.”
4. Jedi Mom Tricks
“This one isn’t really a strategy but more of a bribe,” half-kids Kristel Keys Running, Director of Communications at our Wisconsin home base.
“If I’m on a call or in a Zoom meeting, I give my kids my phone so that they can play games or watch YouTube, which is normally not allowed,” says Kristel. “Sometimes, I bribe them to be quiet and play with toys, eat candy, etc.”
Working from home can sometimes stretch the imagination (not to mention the patience!) when it comes to the life/work balance. Hey, desperate times can call for desperate Jedi mom tricks on the tykes… because you really don’t want to turn into a bad meme like that guy from the BBC (you know, that guy):
More one-of-a-kind, one-with-the-WFH lifehacks coming in part two: “The Remote Workers Strike Back: Jedi WFH Workouts.”
Do you have a WFH tip you’d like to share? Let us know how you beat burnout and blursday blues on our LinkedIn or Facebook. You might even make it into our Jedi hall of fame.
Written by “word nerd” and Interact copywriter Rachel Rosen-Carroll. For fun, Rachel reads style guides and the dictionary (she prefers The American Heritage Dictionary… we wouldn’t make this up).
When she isn’t writing feature stories about inspiring community college alum, she’s working on her YA novel, short stories and poetry, and she has been published by various lit journals. Ask her questions or suggest word nerd blog ideas at email@example.com.