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Working from home used to be the elusive dream. Now that it’s reality for many of us, it’s at once as freeing as we expected and more challenging than we anticipated. But, like so much else in life, rockin’ the WFH sitch all comes down to how we handle it. 

Perhaps we’ll give an entire presentation before anyone mentions we’re on mute, or we’ll realize we’ve eaten nothing but yogurt for a week. Perhaps we need to learn from experience that working from bed in yesterday’s jams may not result in the good mental health and professional promotion we were aiming for. These are all avoidable scenarios, if we make them so.

So: let’s make them so.

If our strategy for success reads something like “Suit Up and Show Up,” our day-to-day tactics really make a difference. After all, the WFH dream is only what we make it.

Some tips from Team Gathre (which, these days, includes a looooot of working from home):

  • Get dressed. It really does influence confidence and productivity.
  • Get outside! Every. single. day.
  • Take regular “water cooler” breaks. Walk the dog, do some laundry, call Mom.
  • Drink water. Nosh on crudité or fruit.
  • Create boundaries. Close the laptop at 5pm. Don’t work in the evenings.
  • Set up an office, even if it’s ad hoc. A TV tray counts if that’s all the room there is.
  • Don’t work in the bedroom. Consider it a sacred space.
  • Pick up some new hobbies. Paint. Read. Hike. Anything non-screen-related.
  • Wear blue light-blocking glasses to ease eye strain.
  • Play quiet music or white noise to keep focused.
  • Camera on for meetings! And, for the same social reasons, phone or FaceTime instead of email.
  • To-do lists know when we’re finished. No more end-of-day inertia.
  • Keep the house and the workspace tidy. It eases distractions and mental burden.
  • Schedule relationships into your day. Remember that focused, engaged, quality time with the kids is worth more to their development than half-there quantity time.
  • Do what works, even if it’s not what works for others.

Oh, and. One last note.

We don’t at all discount the life imperative to “roll with it.” We still remember the preschooler who crashed Dad’s live BBC interview, amusing and alarming working parents everywhere. (We’re laughing with him, we promise.)

Yep, the kitchen sink may back up while we’re on a conference call, and the neighbor kid may want to sell us cool rocks twenty times a day. The baby may cry. The dirty laundry ― both literal and metaphorical ― may be caught on tape. Our colleagues may discover that we’re not nearly as polished as they originally believed, and vice versa. It doesn’t matter.

Suit up. Show up. Chin up. It’s all good.

We're living the dream.