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Tips for Working Remotely – Our Team Members’ Tips, Hacks & Tricks

If you’re one of the many Americans who have recently found themselves working from home, you may be finding some difficulty adjusting to the new norm of social distancing from your in-home or makeshift office.

With employees across more than 14 states, The Recycling Partnership is accustomed to remote work and collaboration. And, we’re pleased to share our best curated tips to productively work from home [and have fun doing so]:

“Always get dressed, all the way to your shoes.  Working in PJs may be fun once but over time it’ll blur the lines between rest and work and start to make you feel gross.”

Keefe Harrison, CEO

Anthony Bricker, our Junior Graphic Designer, said:

  • I do 20 pushups or pullups once every hour.
  • I also take 15 minutes to meditate either before I get started or in the middle of the day. It really helps bring my me back to a place of balance.
  • Also, it’s much easier to control healthy eating when I’m at home and can make my own food.

“I like to have everything I need at my fingertips. I keep hand sanitizer, hand cream, lip balm, a snack, and a drink, right at my desk to keep me moisturized, fed and watered while working at home.”

-Samantha Kappalman, VP, Strategic Communications & Marketing

Ashley Smith, Controller for The Recycling Partnership shared these five tips:

  • Setup your desk near a window; sunlight and fresh air can do wonders for productivity!
  • Schedule breaks on your calendar or you will most likely forget to eat lunch.
  • Fill up a water bottle and keep at your desk to remind you to stay hydrated.
  • Take a shower and get dressed in the morning! Sometimes going through the motions helps you feel like you’re actually going to work.
  • If you’re working on a project that requires concentration, try using white noise to help you stay focused.

“Take your phone meetings on the go while walking outside. Sitting all day can really get to you, and it’s not good for the body. So get outside and get moving, but keep the meetings going!”

-Jill Martin, Director of Community Programs

Elizabeth Schussler, Senior Director of Social Change, Behavior & Impact, shared:

  • If you have a dog, be ready to mute when the mailman comes.
  • Working from home or not, consider buying a milk frother. It is an easy way to have a specialty beverage that makes online meetings more delicious. I like to brew a nice cup of earl grey tea and add frothed vanilla almond creamer for a tasty, homemade London Fog. Keefe is the one who turned me on to frothed milk. She adds maple syrup to her frothed milk for a New England treat!

“Get dressed and make sure you don’t sit in front of your computer the entire day (take a walk at lunch!).

-Elizabeth Biser, VP of Public Affairs

Keysha Burton, Community Engagement Coordinated, shared tips for working from home with children:

  • Get a jump start.  I personally get up a minimum of two hours before my kids. This gives me extra time to work undistracted.  Once they’re up, we shift to a more structured day with blocks of time dedicated to them actively working on subject matter while I continue to work.  Our schedule is loose and based on the difficulty of each subject and content of the day
  • Meal prepping is your friend.  I typically meal prep on Sundays. Breakfasts and dinners are pre-packed/planned.  Lunches are a bit more flexible, but I still keep an arsenal of ready to eat or easy to whip up lunch options (pastas, buddha bowls, sandwich wraps, and leftovers etc.). Use your pressure cooker or slow cooker
  • Keep kids in separate workspaces to limit distractions.  My kids work in their own separate spaces to limit distractions.  No TV or social time during active schoolwork time.
  • Det up non-verbal signals for others who live with you.  I set up hand signs for my kids so that they know when I am on a call that cannot be interrupted.

Katherine Huded, Manager of Public Affairs, had these three tips:

Dress like you’re leaving the house, even if you’re not. It makes you feel more on top of your game, especially after many days at home.

  • Keep your home/workspace tidy to help maintain focus. There’s nothing more distracting than a pile of dirty laundry seen from the corner of your eye all day.
  • Allow yourself breaks for lunch, coffee and a walk outside. It helps refresh and refocus your mind.

Sarah Dearman, VP of Circular Ventures shared two tips:

  • Good noise-cancelling headphones are a must! Especially with little feet running around now.
  • Schedule a Zoom happy hour with colleagues! It’s a fun way to catch up, vent or whatever.

Trina Matta, Circular Ventures Director and one of The Partnership’s newest team members, suggested:

  • Turn on your camera during video conference calls. It makes a big difference for picking up body language.
  • Take a walk outside when you can for a break. Fresh air helps me think!

“Set the mood. Whether its your home office or workplace, you spend more time there than your living room so spruce up and personalize it. And, don’t neglect to make a comfortable space for your furry four-legged family member and live plants.”

-Heath Nettles, Director of Communications

Tricia Tiedt, The Partnership’s Events Manager, had these recommendations:

  • Keep a regular schedule.
  • Change out of your pajamas.
  • Find a space in your home to designate as a makeshift workspace.
  • Do NOT work from your bed.
  • Cook yourself meals at home – don’t just snack your way through.
  • Take breaks just as you would at work, but get away from a screen. Unload the dishwasher, vacuum, throw a load of laundry in, etc.
  • Take meetings via phone instead of your computer so you can walk outside and get some fresh air.

If nothing else, use the opportunity to get to know new friends, both two and four-legged. Next time a spouse, dog, or child walks past the screen, ask to meet them or ask how their day is going. After all, we’re all in this bin together.

If you have the time, take a moment to drop us a line to tell us your tips for working from home.