by Anastasia Otto

For years, home and work were distinctly different. Aside from those who were ahead of their time, most workers probably couldn’t even fathom the thought of working remotely from within their homes. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and the infamous COVID-19 not only changed the way we live our daily lives, but also how we go to work.

Sure, pulling reports and hopping on conference calls while being engulfed in the covers of your bed might sound like a dream come true, but the thought is too sweet to be true. Unfortunately, maintaining your status as a productive and motivated employee takes as much if not more effort than commuting to an office.

Though working from home may be new for most, the HM team all feel like seasoned veterans amidst the pandemoniac transition. We’ve been a fully remote company for years and have mastered team meetings, project collaboration, and even acquiring new business all while ensuring our work from home environment keeps us proactive. Curious to know how our team has mastered the remote work scene? Here are some tips and pictures from the pros themselves.

Create a Routine

Jumping out of bed and sliding to your computer while still in your jammies is one of the perks of working from home, we’re all about comfort! Though the freedom of only having to power up your laptop may be a trap for distraction and inconsistency. That’s why, just as the habits you create for parking in the same spot, or walking to the fresh pot of coffee on your floor, routines are important to create as they help to distinguish when it’s time to hunker down, and when its time to return to your home life.

Some personal favorites are the ritualistic cup of tea or coffee as you sit down to view your emails. It could be lighting your favorite scented candle which makes you feel like you are working from the beach, or even pressing play on your favorite morning playlist. Regardless of what your morning get-up might be, consistently having one can help you mentally lockdown and begin the workday.

Don’t forget, creating routines can also include what you do throughout the day to make yourself productive and refreshed. Some may take time to get up and grab their favorite snack or even block off time during lunch to check on the kids to make sure they’re behaving in their virtual classes. A lunch walk can always help freshen up the mind, and a little blood flow never hurt anyone!

Dedicate a Space

Yep, you were hoping we were going to slide right past this one, but having a dedicated space is one of the most important aspects of creating a solid work-from-home setting. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally working from the couch, or even taking your computer outside to soak up some sun. Having a dedicated workspace comes with many benefits, though. Setting up a designated desk or table allows for more focus, minimizes distraction, creates a work/life balance, all while keeping yourself in work mode.

First and foremost, find a location. For a lot of remote newbies, this may pose the biggest challenge. It’s important to have a space with privacy, natural lighting, and space. Some have used guest bedrooms, converted their laundry room, or even set up a designated workspace at a relative’s home. Near or within the kitchen is also an option, but beware: frequent snacking can occur.

Desk Essentials

Here’s the fun part: sprucing up your workspace. Setting up your designated table or desk should be a balance of functionality and aesthetics. I can guarantee whoever said you can’t mix work with pleasure never had an essential oil diffuser. Adding details to your station can not only help your work environment but also improve physical and mental health. Spending hundreds on the latest reclining gaming chair or purchasing a highspeed mouse to improve your click accuracy may not be particular to your needs but investing in a second screen or laptop stand could prove beneficial.

Dual Monitors

If your career requires you to view multiple charts or cross-reference programs, purchasing a second screen could help your work efficiency greatly. A simple second monitor can cost on average $125 with an accompanied HDMI adapter to hook your laptop and monitor together. Voilà! Excel reports just got that much easier!

Elevate Your Computer

Gadgets and the latest technology can improve your work performance, but let’s be honest, sitting while at the computer can have several negative effects on our bodies. Elevating your monitor view can help eye strain and prevent bending over the computer while working.  To avoid poor posture and pressure in your back and neck, look into a computer stand to move your laptop to eye level. Want to level up? This standing desk monitor riser will give you the ability to use your laptop while standing.

Feeling fancy? Go with a full standing desk! Standing desk are a great way to get yourself up from a sitting position, and with different versions available, can be easy to find an affordable option that best suits your needs.

Go Wireless

It seems everything around us today is Bluetooth and wireless, so why not your computer? A little goes a long way when you switch to a wireless keyboard and mouse. A wireless keyboard can help position your hand further from a laptop keyboard, making it more comfortable and easier on your wrist while typing away. Limiting the number of cords that are hooked through your devices can also eliminate unnecessary clutter. Most wireless keyboards and mouses even come in a set. Badabing, badaboom!

Make It Welcoming

Yes, it’s considered work-from-home, but who said you can’t make your office space a little homier. Some HM members enjoy making their workspace feel welcoming by adding pictures of loved ones, small plants, decorative accents, and occasionally the furry coworker. Consider a scented candle, wax warmer, or even an essential oil diffuser to help energize or even destress your environment. Add features that won’t distract but will motivate you through your workday.

A Peek Behind The Scenes

Check out how some of the HM team has customized their own work-from-home spaces: