So, you're working from home now. For many, remote work isn't all that new, but this is the first go at doing it for weeks at a time. For others, it's a whole new world, and not the magical Disney kind where carpets fly and wild animals are our closest friends. There are children, roommates, spouses, pets — and the list goes on. A lot of us have so much to contend with and even less time to catch a break. So we’ve all tried to recalibrate and forge on.
We know WFH is different for everyone. It can range from mild discombobulation to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Hedge maze aside, the latter is obviously less desirable. But how do you stay, well, sane?
At Range, we've been testing new ways to create spaces and moments that help us settle into a flow that makes us feel like we can do our best work.
We share tips all the time to keep the team feeling connected and on track. And we wanted to share a bit of what our team has found useful with folks in the hope that it can help. Here are a few things to think about as you undertake your work from home adventure. First up:
Find your view
Location, location, location! It's not that big a deal, honestly.
Some of us have access to views of rolling hills and lush parks and others a concrete jungle with four walls and a sad cactus we can't seem to keep alive. Making the best of where you are is less about the scenery and more about reconnecting with the world. Finding what that calming space or view is for you will go a long way in helping to keep you sane.
While a few people on our team have the ability and locale to go out for a walk or bike ride, the rest of the team loves a good peek out the window. Backyards full of flora and fauna, bay windows that face busy streets, and nearby landmarks like the Gold Gate bridge have all given us a sense of place. It's also great to look up from your screen a few times a day — eye doctors orders. Even sitting in a corner you’ve filled with your favorite plants and indoor trees can be a much welcomed time-out. Or a painting of green stuff. That’s nice too.
Did you know?
Going to green spaces helps with mental well-being? According to a post by NASA, a little exposure to green spaces regularly goes a long way.
Make your home office sing
At Range, we love our gadgets. If you're not a tech-savvy person, don't fret. Most of the tech we use doesn't require a degree in rocket science or deep pockets.
In a nutshell, technology makes life easier. It has for millennia. But why is it so dominant a force? Simple. It's often the little things, outweighing the big, that change lives for the better. We noticed it within the first few hours of our WFH life that a few gizmos were making working from home comfier.
We have quite a few Google Nest and Home Mini fans on the crew. Whether it's saying "Ok, Google" to adjust the volume or having the Nest Hub Max's cam track your movements while you cook a meal over video chat, these devices take care of small tasks for you. They're also pretty gosh darn good speakers.
Other technology needs include TVs with a Netflix subscription for vegging out, a quaint desk lamp for an energizing glow, and even a nice cushion to make a cramped space feel snug. That’s right, a cushion counts as technology. Look for those small things that make life a little easier for you and feel free to lean into those comforts. Batteries not required.
Get yourself a pair of wireless headphones — fancy or basic is up to you. That way, you can get up to grab something without missing a brilliant piece of advice from our latest webinar. The Jabra Elite series, Bose's Quiet Comfort, Airpods, and LETSCOM Bluetooth headphones are a few of our favorites.
Get your desk setup right
Ah! The age-old dilemma of what kind of WFH desk and what to keep on it. For this one, you want to go as simple as humanly possible. A home office desk, or in most cases a table, should be set up to improve focus, not kick it while it's down. You want to keep it somewhat free of things you can fix, water, fiddle with, toss, or play. Just as a general rule. Trust us.
For most of the Range team, this includes a monitor and a laptop, a local light source, and maybe a small plant. When maximum screen space is not required, a quick trip to the kitchen counter or dining room table feels like a nice reprieve and often means working in the same place with other people trying to focus. It's like a public library but in your house.
A few of us have made a makeshift chair using piano benches, step stools, books, and whatever else in our path to suit our desk. Have fun with it. Get experimental. It's about your comfort.
Feed the beast
Who doesn't love a snack? A well-timed snack can sometimes be the pick me up you need to get you through your next action item or the rest of the day. And they aren't all potato chips and Reese's peanut butter cups.
Our team seems to go in more for the healthy side of things. Freshly-baked flourless zucchini bread is a guilty pleasure, banana and almond butter toast is an obsession, and dried fruit and nuts are staples. But there's no judgment here — we love a good bag of pretzel chips. Find the snack that speaks to you and keep it far away so that it’s worth the trip.
Breaks not distractions
We all need to take a breather to stretch our legs, clear our minds, and release the airtight seal to our chairs. But there's a difference from taking a short break and getting lost in a hole that will take hours to get out of — we're looking at you Wikipedia.
So, how do you take a restful fifteen-minute break? Well, intention. The trick is in being intentional about the activity.
We can think of this as doing an activity like watching a video or reading a chapter of a book. Something that you know will take fifteen minutes or end involuntarily. A controlled bit of escape without the accidental nature of binging. At Range, what we enjoy during these breaks varies. Some of us tune out on bon appetit cooking videos or play with our dogs. Others play guitar, walk around the apartment with a Swiffer, or focus on making the best pour-over in the universe. Not to mention coloring and playing legos with the kiddos running around. It can be any activity, so long as you have control over when it ends.
We've found building these breaks into our daily check-ins in Range to be super useful. They help them feel like what they are — the new normal.
We hope this was helpful. We had fun writing it and thinking about our journeys to keep it together during this time.
Stay safe everyone!