I reached out to Amanda, Kim and Liz who answered the questions I provided, and I also added my answers in there as well. Work-life balance has never been so relevant as it is now. Take a few minutes and learn a little bit about how we’re getting through our days.
Where is your “office?”
AMANDA: We have a “bonus room” in the back of our house with a desk and a nice large window. That is where I have my laptop and documents set up.
KIM: Kitchen counter, bar stool with blanket for some cushion. Wedding magazine as a mousepad. (really setting the scene)
LIZ: I still live with my parents, so my bedroom doubles as my office!
COURTNEY: I move around a bit every day. I have a desk up in my bedroom that allows me to take video calls and participate in things such as webinars. But it’s also good for getting away for a little bit if things become overwhelming downstairs.
Your typical WFH attire?
AMANDA: I get dressed but in nice casual attire. That includes leggings, a sweater and definitely slippers!
KIM: Leggings, a crewneck sweatshirt and slippers.
LIZ: I try my best to “get ready” everyday so I don’t sit around in my pj’s. Right now, my attire is a pair of comfy leggings, fuzzy socks and a sweatshirt!
COURTNEY: My typical “after-work” outfit has become my work outfit. Coordinated sweat suits (aka blue champion sweatshirt and sweatpants) and socks – always socks.
Who are your “coworkers” and by “coworkers” I mean others who are in the house with you now due to this quarantine situation (pets too)
AMANDA: My husband, Ryan; my son, Carson; and Blake (cat) and Hester (turtle)
KIM: Jim, the fiancé.
LIZ: Again, I live with my parents… so my coworkers are my parents, brother, sister and dog!
COURTNEY: My husband, Steve; my son, Parker and the “boys” – Paddy Boy and Sheldon (cats) and Teddy (dog)
Do you need background noise or it completely quiet?
AMANDA: I definitely welcome background noise! If the tv is on in the living room and I can hear it that does not bother me at all.
KIM: Noise, music all dayyyyy.
LIZ: I need background noise. I typically have reruns of The Office playing or whatever’s on HGTV or the Food Network.
COURTNEY: Provided it’s not any one of my family members chewing loudly, I welcome background noise and tend to choose shows like The Golden Girls or The Nanny.
How do you stay in touch with coworkers?
AMANDA: I keep in touch with coworkers through online chatting, email and video conference calls when needed
KIM: Slack, teams, webcam, text, go to meeting, mailers (needed TP, boss came in clutchhhhhh).
LIZ: We do a great job of staying in touch by talking in Slack and texting during off hours.
COURTNEY: Luckily, we all get along really well so we’ve already been in touch various ways prior to being at home. We still email, use slack and teams and hold video calls now so we can at least see each other. Plus, there’s always the random texts received with funny memes or articles through our group text.
Pros about working from home?
AMANDA: I am actually enjoying working from home more than I thought I would. I would say some pros are:
LIZ: I love waking up and not having to drive anywhere and being able to cook whatever I want for lunch with my full kitchen just downstairs. Also, when I’m done work, I’m already home! No commute here.
COURTNEY: Pros? Sweatshirts and sweatpants? Not having the hectic morning of dropping my son off at school and driving in traffic to work.
Cons about working from home?
AMANDA: No change of environment/getting out of the house
No physical social interaction with friend-workers- I miss them!
In this specific situation, a con includes have a full house in the background while working.
KIM: I miss having a place “to go” – despite the ‘pros’ I like the physicality of going to work. &
my desk chair – this stool is not comfy.
LIZ: It does get a bit repetitive with the same scenery every day. I have to remind myself to go outside and do something different each day.
COURTNEY: With two of us working from home and Parker doing his school day remotely, there is a lot of background noise with video calls and interruptions, not to mention “the boys” wanting to eat every 30 minutes. I also like going into work to work.
Has your productivity increased or decreased or stayed the same?
AMANDA: My productivity has increased! I am able to capitalize on the times when I am most creative and productive. I tend to get a lot more “administrative” type work done early in the morning and being able to walk right into my home office and get started immediately has been a huge positive aspect. I am also more creative in the afternoons so I have been able to put in jobs and create emails, marketing materials, etc in the afternoon/evening where when in the office, I would be transitioning to packing up and commuting home at that time and this allows me more time to be creative
KIM: I would say its somewhere floating between the three, our strategy as a team has changed so it has decreased in that vein but I’ve been ramping up on writing content and allocating my efforts in different ways.
LIZ: I think my productivity has just about stayed the same. I feel I do a good job of putting on “work mode” and not letting my surroundings distract me.
COURTNEY: I think it’s definitely increased only because I feel that with less distractions (workwise) at home I can be more efficient in getting things done. I also feel there’s a bit more time in the morning and at night to do extra things as I don’t have to commute to and from work.
Best piece of advice to someone working from home for this first time?
AMANDA: The best advice I can give is to treat the workday as you normally would in the office. Keep the same routines you have in the office such as making a to-do list, blocking time for specific projects and breaking for a full lunch to energize and refresh for the afternoon. Also, it’s a good idea to have a system where you can communicate with co-workers easily. Not everything requires a video call but having a chat platform is important for quick questions or to review things outside of email.
KIM: Keep your alarm set & still be in that routine of getting up early like you are physically going to work. At home workouts are the best – I take my lunch break and do one a day (s/o popsugar fitness & classpass). Also going for walks/runs after the day is done help a whole lot.
LIZ: Keep your routine. I think this has been the general advice seen everywhere now since this is the new norm for most people but keeping a routine has really helped me stay on track. And setting specific work and non-work hours so you can keep your work-life balance.
COURTNEY: See a previously blog post I wrote about this. The best thing you can do is keep your routine as close as possible to what you would do if you were going to work.
Any good shows you can recommend for those who are WFH and in quarantine?
AMANDA: Little Fires Everywhere (on Hulu) – This stars Reese Witherspoon and is a show adaptation of a book about the dynamic of various types of mothers. Set in the late 90’s Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) – If you have not started this yet, you need to. It is hilarious and has fantastic character development. Bar Rescue (on Demand, Paramount Network in syndication) – Just a great feel-good, non-commitment type show that is fun. John Taffer visits failing bars and helps them turn around with renovations and training so they can be successful
KIM: Mad Men, New Girl, One Tree Hill, The Jinx
LIZ: Well, as I mentioned I’ve been watching reruns of The Office… so I’m not the best person to ask for show recommendations. But I did just watch this show on Netflix called Next In Fashion. It definitely kept my attention for a weekend, was super fun to watch and was a blast from the past for those who loved Project Runway back in the day.
COURTNEY: Jeopardy every day at 7pm ET. I’ve watched it before this and I’ll continue to watch it during, bringing the family together to watch and keep our brains sharp. I also love Dispatches from Elsewhere on AMC, The Good Doctor and The Resident are great shows to get into.
Let us know how you’re doing working from home!