Photo credit: Chris Montgomery on Unsplash
There was a very recent time when working from home was a special circumstance. Perhaps a once a week, or even once-in-a-while situation. Once the pandemic hit, industries that never thought they could offer WFH found themselves surprisingly thriving – even on-air TV news employees! By the end of 2020, 71% of American workers who could were working from home.
At Motivation Excellence, we had remote workers before the pandemic, although most of our employees were still full-time in the office or had a hybrid schedule. The technology was in place though, so our transition to home working environments in March 2020 was smooth. As of February 2022, most of us now enjoy a hybrid balance.
Most prefer a hybrid work environment
In a recent LinkedIn poll we ran, being hybrid is the overwhelming choice for a preferred work environment. It’s the best of both worlds when you love your coworkers, but, maybe, you’re slightly more productive without office distractions.
The Workforce Happiness Index shows remote workers score 75/100 versus their in-office counterparts, who score 71. Over the last two years, it’s been shown working remotely can be beneficial to employees, efficient for the company, and a draw for new talent.
As a group of people who were used to a hybrid setup before the pandemic, we are happy to share how we make working from anywhere a success. Keep reading for tips and tricks the Motivation Excellence team uses to make the most of any working environment.
How to work from anywhere: tips and tricks
For Brad Hecht, VP, Travel, a regular workday is a must so that work time doesn’t bleed into personal time. He cautions against doing too many personal things during the day that will push working hours into the evening.
For Michelle Lien-Burdick, our Merchandise Buyer, scheduling at least one break in the day is important to keep her energized. “I block out my calendar for lunch every day. If it is on your calendar, you are more likely to “remember” to get up and walk away from your desk. I find it is key to have that time to clear my thoughts, engage with my spouse and relax. When I get back to my desk, I have renewed energy and better mental clarity.”
Jillian Fehrenbach, one of our amazing customer service experts, says having a distinct workspace in her home is important to her. And, just as importantly she says, make sure you set it up to work for you, not against you. “Don’t let your WFH office wreck your back or neck. The two most important factors are chairs and monitor risers. I use a chair that is highly adjustable (legs/arms) and ergonomically superior (lumbar) to run-of-the-mill swivel chairs. If you get one used (online), you’ll also find that they’re very affordable. A good chair will last longer and help you avoid repetitive strain injuries. Next, let me just say two words: monitor riser— and two more, mic drop! Positioning your monitor at eye height is important to keep your neck and head at the proper angle. And it doesn’t have to be one from an office supply store. My husband uses a vintage table leaf on top of a metal basket, so he can set up his speakers next to his oversized monitor. I thought it would be janky, but it honestly works!”
Rebecca Steiner, Business Development Director, wholeheartedly agrees with Jillian! The photo above shows her daughter’s WFH desk set up with adjustable keyboard and monitor risers, which allow for standing while working too. As someone who has worked largely from home for more than 20 years she shares these other tips that keep her motivated and productive:
- Schedule time in-between the ever present COVID Zoom calls for sanity to move, stretch, take a quick walk
- Get up early and get dressed as if I am going to an office or meeting with clients
- Stay connected with my clients and team via Zoom
- Schedule in-person lunches at nearby restaurants
- Block time in my calendar to get work done vs all meetings
Finally, Rebecca recommends having a home office where you can shut the door and leave it closed at the end of the workday.
Our VP of Sales, Rhonda Brewer loves the flexibility a remote work schedule allows. She does suggest making efforts to see co-workers in person too though. “You need to schedule some time to meet with others you work with on a regular basis if you don’t go into an office. That drives connection.”
By now, we know we can work from anywhere and make it work for our customers, bosses, and coworkers. You may know people working from vacation homes during the summer months, or, working while taking care of a sick loved one on the other side of the country. This is no longer a trend, but a legitimate option for many of us today. It is up to company leadership to ensure the culture of an organization continues to positively thrive as we adapt to the new business environment. As long as productivity remains high and dedication to staying engaged with coworkers is a priority, working from anywhere can be a benefit to anyone able to take advantage of it.