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Ask Earnest: Advice for Working From Home

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In March, workers around the world found themselves telecommuting from home full-time if they were able, many for the first time ever. To complicate matters further, many schools in the US have gone online for the rest of the year, and parents are learning how to balance homeschooling with work. 

Based in California and Utah, all of us at Earnest have made the transition to working from home full time within the last month. As an entirely online business, we are still taking client calls, processing requests, and servicing clients from the comfort of our home offices (sometimes kitchen tables and couches too).

Here are some of the useful tips Earnies have to offer for those learning to work from home: 

Equipment Check

“Having a designated spot in my home and creating a similar set up to what I use in the office has been a big help!” – Catherine

“If you have a monitor at home, adjust it to the correct height to maintain good posture. Reams of paper or books make good adjustable monitor stands or standing desks.”  – Francis

“Use a heating pad as a seat warmer to give your back a little love.” – Helen

“Lately I’ve been working on my couch quite a lot so my lap desk has been getting plenty of use.” – Allie

Define a Schedule and Set Boundaries

“Just because you can roll out of bed and hop onto work in your PJ’s doesn’t mean you should. Keeping a structured approach to work-time and non-work-time is important for mental health and protecting your work-life balance, especially when your home environment is suddenly your work environment too.” – Early

“Set a schedule to get up and move around and look away from your computer since there’s nobody pulling you away to the kitchen or in-person meetings.” – Francis

“Schedule meetings for 45-50 mins instead of 1 hour, that way everyone gets 10 minutes to stretch.” – Renu

“Stay off the news until 10AM. Your morning is your time to start the day off with clarity and intention.” – Maroun

“Make sure your work area is separate from your kitchen or bedroom. That will make it easier for your brain to be in a ‘work mode’. It also allows you to take better breaks from work by being able to physically step away from your computer.” – Austin

Stay Connected with Your Coworkers

“Use voice and video calls to keep more connected to the team and feel less isolated.” – Yuliya

“Communicate.communicate.communicate! The only visibility we have into each other’s worlds is online, written or teleconferenced. Be open and proactive in letting others know what you are working on, when you notice their hard work, and how you are handling daily obstacles.” – Sara

“Our team picks a DJ each week (which can be a rotating title) and everyone sends in their songs of the day. The DJ then puts together a playlist each Friday. Then, at 5 PM and we all connect via Zoom to get an uplifting music experience.” – Michelle

“The womens’ employee resource group hosted a virtual movie night through the Netflix Party chrome extension. We all watched Julie & Julia together and discussed the film over a lunch meet up the next day.” – Carolyn

Make Time for Yourself and Your Family

“Exercise is doubly important – block out 30-60 minutes a day to go for a walk.”  – Ryan

“It has been hard with my five and two year old kids also at home, but I’m learning to incorporate their schedule into my schedule. If you have smaller kids at home, have activities set up before the start of the workday. I had success with chalk (to write outside), finger paint (washable of course), bath time (yes you need to take the computer with you and keep an eye on them at times but sometimes this gave hours of work time), and corn (sensory activity). Use nap time to do “focus” tasks at your work.” – Reeva

“If you have a yard or plants, take some time to go check them out and water them.”  – Renu

“Over lunch, I like to connect with some friends and do some online gaming. My favorite games to play online with buddies would be Overwatch Stardew Valley, Super Smash Bros, and Animal Crossing.” – Allie

“Cats love warmth. A warm keyboard on an open laptop makes a comfy bed if you walk away without closing your laptop. Locking and closing your laptop is important even when working from home by yourself!” – Brandon

Come build the future of education financing.

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Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.