If there was a time lapse of our work from home situations, it would probably show our team moving from the dining room, to a couch, to a desk, back to the couch... Ever since leaving our beloved office in March to work from home safely during COVID-19, we've been carving out new spaces to work from. True story: Every time someone's background changes on our daily team video calls, we become entirely side-tracked asking about their new locale, even if they're simply across the living from their previous spot. Below, we've shared our current work-from-home setups—and a quick update on how it's all going:
The first few weeks of quarantine were such a blur that I'm surprised any actual work got done. G, Sloan, and I were all crammed around our dining room table with computers, crayons, snacks splayed everywhere. Since then we've found a bit more of a rhythm and routine, and I spend a good amount of time working from an old desk (that we were weeks away from donating) in a guest room.
How do you start your workday? Most mornings I try to squeeze in an hour-long walk before I start work since it clears my head, gets me moving, and reminds me that the world is still spinning outside of our home. I usually get to my desk at around 9:15 or so and write that day's to-do list.
What do you keep on your desk? I didn't adjust anything for the picture, though in all fairness I'd done a major clean-up just days before so it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been for months. I keep my water bottle, two notepads (one of which was once used as my 2020 planner before plans went out the window...), my label maker, a tray to hold jewelry samples, the remnants of that morning's coffee, my computer perched atop an old box, and a drawing Sloan made for me.
Biggest work from home challenge? Not being able to get the teams' opinion on things I'm seeing in person (whether it's a new earring style or candle I'm considering) and balancing work while also entertaining a five-year-old.
Is your work space or room used for anything beside work? The room my parents stay in when they come to visit.
When are you most productive? The weekends. I really try to abide by slightly normal work hours, but currently, things just aren't normal and I've tried to be easier on myself about when I get things done. Instead of getting down on myself for having an unproductive Tuesday, I remind myself that as long as things get done, that's all that really matters. But the whole "work from home" thing being called "living at work" certainly feels a lot more accurate these days.
What do you listen to when you work? I'm on so many back-to-back calls and Zooms that I rarely have time to listen to anything. But for those times when I'm writing blog posts or plowing through a ton of emails, I'll listen to Eckhart Tolle's "Music to Quiet the Mind" album with my noise-cancelling headphones on.
Preferred breaks? I haven't been great about taking breaks. I end up feeling guilty and like I should just be at my desk, which is something I'm actively working on. I'm considering scheduling things like "do crossword puzzle outside" or "read magazine during lunch hour" so I actually get up and take breaks.
My WFH uniform: It really depends. Some days I find I'm a lot more productive and content when I've put on a cute dress and slapped on some mascara and other times, I relish the fact that I can stay in that morning's workout clothes all day and it doesn't matter.
Until recently, I had a pretty unsustainable work situation: Jonah and I shared our dining table (photo at the top of this post!), which meant we were constantly vying for space and that we spent about 23 hours a day literally within arm's reach. As soon as I accepted that the WFH situation may be a little more permanent than any of us expected, I converted a corner of our guest room into my home office. I sold our secretary desk on Craigslist (I loved it, but my elbows hung off the edge when typing so it was very uncomfortable for longer than an hour at a time) for the exact cost of IKEA's small Micke desk, and picked up some accessories from the office: my laptop stand, mouse, trackpad, and keyboard for a more ergonomic setup. Now, Jonah has the entire dining table and I have a corner all to myself—and I cannot tell you what a difference it has made (and one that didn't even cost a dollar!). It's healthier for Jonah and my relationship to have some breathing room, and I feel much more clear-headed and productive. I also feel incredibly lucky to have a space that's designated for work, that I can walk away from at the end of the day. In our old apartment, which was 400 square-feet compared to the 900 square-feet we have now, the situation would have been very different... I feel very fortunate to have so much space.
How do you start your workday? I check the blog as soon as I get up, at 6 AM (to make sure everything went live properly at midnight!), but then I read or do yoga, make Bulletproof coffee, and have breakfast until I begin my day at 8:30 AM. On Mondays I start at 6 AM to kick off the week productively.
What do you keep on your desk? I like to keep my desk clutter-free, so aside from my computer, I keep books that I'm considering for The List, a huge glass of water, a physical notepad, and a small cast-iron cat Jonah's mom gave to me.
Biggest work from home challenge? I'm honestly fine with the WFH part—just missing the daily camaraderie of seeing my coworkers and eating lunch together everyday!
Is your work space or room used for anything beside work? Yes! Our second bedroom was originally our guest room/TV room, but since we won't have any guests for the near future and moved our TV to the living room, I've also been using it as a space to do yoga and read! It's an oasis.
When are you most productive? The morning!
What do you listen to when you work? The Coffee Table Jazz playlist on Spotify, and soundtracks!
Preferred breaks? I've tried to take breaks, but the truth is that, I'm not much of a break-taker! If I eat lunch, it's at my desk, and if I'm feeling antsy or uninspired, I may squeeze in a short home workout or Peloton ride in the late afternoon to break up the day. Otherwise, I'm hyper-focused and can go 8 to 10 hours without breaking or standing, outside of quick water and bathroom breaks. But the flip side is that I really try to take weekends completely off, outside of research for The List!
What I wear to WFH: Spandex shorts and a tank top (shoutout to Girlfriend Collective)! I don't have A/C, so lately it's been hovering between 85 and 90 degrees in my apartment #hydratehydratehydrate
Justin and I both worked from home our entire first year in L.A., so we've had plenty of practice coexisting together 24 hours a day (and even now, after an additional four months, we still want to get married–success!). We fell right back into our 2018 rhythm: 9 AM to 6 PM is spent in separate rooms, mainly so we can take calls without bothering each other, but we do get a bit of catch up time over lunch. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have a home that's large enough to give us separate space, and that we've each been able to maintain a high level of productivity throughout our time sheltering-in-place. Though the real winner of this new situation is definitely Mimi, our cat, who spends her days bouncing between our laps and being spoiled with extra treats and snuggles.
How do you start your workday? ...immediately after my alarm goes off. Since I've recently embraced my circadian rhythm, I wake up and continue working later than most of the team. I usually roll out of bed around 8:30 AM, "get ready" for the day (which includes brushing my teeth, putting in my contacts, going through my skincare routine, putting a few waves in my hair, and getting dressed), make a cup of coffee, and by then, it's around 9 AM and I sit down to start plowing through emails!
What do you keep on your desk? Lip balm, various beverages (they accumulate throughout the day, and I wind up with around four glasses by the evening), fresh flowers, some form of gluten, a candle, a notebook, and pens.
Biggest work from home challenge? Mimi has decided to take up permanent residence on my lap, and I refuse to disturb her in order to relieve my bladder (she is clearly the queen of the household).
Is your work space or room used for anything beside work? I work in our dining area, which is adjacent to our living room and kitchen, and since it's an open space, it feels like I have a huge office to myself!
When are you most productive? The evenings, when my inbox is quiet and there are fewer distractions.
What do you listen to when you work? Most days, my noise-cancelling headphones are on, but they're playing absolutely nothing. I work really well in silence, but if I need a mood booster, I'll throw on my musicals playlist, filled with my favorite tracks from Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, Pippin, Book of Mormon, Les Mis, and Hamilton (of course).
Preferred breaks? Having access to my kitchen for lunch is such a game changer, so I usually spend about a half an hour cooking or whipping up a new recipe around 1 PM.
My WFH uniform: Beyond Yoga head to toe, plus a lived-in sweatshirt.
I’ve always worked remotely in some capacity. Whether it's freelance projects at home or calling into work while on holiday, I know how to get things done no matter my environment. That being said, I have yet to nail down the perfect work from home routine. I don’t have an actual desk so you will find me working in different spots around the apartment: Sometimes in bed, sometimes at the dining table but more often than not, I'm at my coffee table. That might be my preferred spot because then I can cast music or YouTube videos on my TV. Luckily my roommate has set up his own workspace in his room so I only ever run into him in the kitchen.
How do you start your workday? I’m a chronic snoozer but after the first few alarms, I check my phone for any urgent Slack messages or work emails. Then, I’m on Instagram. It’s not my best habit but I like seeing what’s going on in the world that day. Then I grab some water and crack open my laptop.
Biggest work from home challenge? Knowing when to call it a day. Especially since we haven't been going anywhere else for the longest time, days bleed into each other. I know I make it worse by doing a lot of work at night, but it's the night owl in me. Living on a first-floor apartment also means dealing with loud upstairs neighbors and cars passing by your window every now and then. The 'mute' button has quickly become my best friend during video meetings.
Is your workspace or room used for anything besides work? I've kind of taken over the living room/dining area but I try to be good about cleaning up in the evenings so my roommate can enjoy the space as well.
When are you most productive? At night. I just make sure to schedule out all my emails for the following morning if they aren't urgent!
What do you listen to when you work? I love listening to podcasts and soundtracks from my favorite musicals but find that they quickly take all my attention. If I really need to focus, I turn off the music or play something in the background that I know I won't pay attention to (a.k.a. sing along to).
Preferred breaks? If we've had back-to-back meetings I make sure to stand up, stretch, and go to a different part of the apartment. Around lunchtime, I try to give my eyes a break from all the screen time by catching up on some reading or working on one of my DIY projects.
My WFH uniform: I alternate between loungewear and dresses for when I'm trying to put in a little effort. At this point, I'm pretty sure my shoes think I've forgotten about them.