Tips from a Work-From-Home Hipster

By Chris Busbey, CTO

I’ve been posting silly GIFs and videos on an internal Slack channel at the beginning of every week for I don’t know how long.

The purpose of these posts has been to get everyone in the cadence of submitting their timesheets, but also to lighten the mood for everyone as they got into the Monday workflow. This past Monday in particular, I knew I needed the latter more than anything else — for that reason, I posted the below video of Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Quake” run from 2010. Marshawn Lynch always cheers me up, and I figured a little beast mode might help others right now too.

As a work-from-home hipster (I was working remotely in Portland before it was mandatory), I can tell you from experience that working remotely for long bouts can not only be lonely, but can cause you to struggle to remember what you are doing and what your place is on your team. The risk of burnout is very real. Hence my Seahawk-assisted effort to lighten the mood and keep the lines of communication open.

Many of us around the country and the globe are now forced to work from home, and we’re not sure how long it will last. For those who are not used to this setup, it is sure to be quite jarring. So, as a WFH veteran, here are some other tips I have found that help reduce the risk of work-from-home burnout:

1) Engagement. Make it a goal to engage with the various virtual teams you work with each day — the company team as a whole, your project teams, your clients. It is important now more than ever to keep in contact with others, offer help, and most importantly, ask for help when you need it.

2) Break up your work day. Stretch. Go for a walk. Obsess over your coffee or tea ritual a little longer. At least in my house, the bathroom and kitchen are way closer to my desk now than they were in the office. Try to keep up your normal micro-break cadence.

3) Differentiate between work and personal spaces. Make your work space your dedicated work area, and keep the rest of your home for all other activities so as to not mix your work life with your personal life. Leaving the office at the end of the day can be a satisfying pressure relief valve, so when your office is your home, you need to try a little harder to mentally check-out when your work is done. We all have responsibilities that can extend beyond normal business hours, but try your best to really not work when you are not working.

4) Most importantly, know that you are not alone. Things are certainly weird right now, and I guarantee you everyone on here is equally as weirded out as you are. We all spend a big chunk of our waking hours with the folks we work with, be it in the office or from a remote setting. I personally find solace knowing that we are all in this together.

So, with that in mind, this morning I created a #watercooler Slack channel for our team. It’s not quite #general, it’s definitely not #random, but when you need that break or need to connect with others outside of your “heads down” work, that’s what it’s there for.

Whether your organization uses Slack or not, it’s important to keep communication open and work as a team. Remember, while Marshawn Lynch had to shed a number of tacklers on his own, his run wouldn’t have been possible without his 10 other teammates doing what they could to block for him. Whatever challenges arise in the next few weeks or months, let’s Beast Mode through them together.