how-to-work-from-home

How to work from home as a creative (and still do your best work)

Kacie Hughes's Layout avatar

So, you’ve transitioned to working remotely, huh? While quite a few creatives work when and where they want, most of us are used to some sort of structure, whether that’s coming into the office, collaborating with coworkers, or meeting with clients. The idea of working from home for an extended period of time may sound like a challenge, but our remote team members are here to share some actionable tips and tricks that will help you do your best work, no matter where you’re working from.

Here are some things we find super helpful when working from home:


Create a space that works uniquely for you 

As a creative, an effective, functional, and inspiring space is key to getting great work done. If you’re working from home a majority of the time, it’s also incredibly important to have a space that can help you create a mental shift between your work and home life. Here’s what a few of our team members had to say:

Ben T., Remote Happiness Engineer

A separate workspace helps communicate with loved ones that you’re off limits. One of the hardest things for me when I first started working remotely was convincing people that I actually was working, even though I was at home.

Dylan B., Remote Support Performance Specialist

For me, having a designated workspace helps prevent your home life reminding you of your work life. If you don’t separate them, you’ll sit down for dinner and it will remind you of work.

Christi N., Technical Onboarding Specialist

Don’t forget about ergonomics! Your dining room chair is probably not the best thing to be sitting in all day.

Looking for ways to make your workspace more inspiring? Check them out here!


Keep a set schedule and find time for breaks

The lines of work and home become a heck of a lot blurrier when working remotely. It can be so easy to tell yourself “one more edit,” but then you realize you’ve skipped lunch and haven’t stood in six hours. So, we’re here to help find a little balance in your life:

Lucy W., Remote Happiness Engineer

I like to get up every hour and wander around my house for a couple of minutes. Get water and a snack, snuggle the cat and dog, toilet break, stretch. I also love time blocking on my Google Calendar.

Rob J., Remote Support Team Lead

Take five minute breaks to step away and relax. I drink a lot of fluids per day, but a cold bottle of water works as a nice pick-me-up and wake up tool.


Take care of yourself and be mindful of your mental health

This should always be your number one priority, no matter where you’re working from, but it can be extra difficult to stay happy and healthy while working from home, so we asked the experts a few tips on how to stay ahead of the curve:

T-Rave, Remote Hosting Operations Manager

Daily social readiness will really help keep mental stability. If you sink into poor habits with the justification of “I’m not going to leave my house,” you will quickly see a downturn in your mood. With a readiness routine, I promise you’ll see a night and day difference!

Win T., Remote Happiness Engineer

I remind myself to keep my ‘chest out, back straight’ because slouching has such a mental effect. Power posing is really great to enhance your mood, too. If anyone needs some quick breathing work, download the app Wim Hof Method (or WHM) and do the bubble breathing exercise.

Joao Q., Remote Support Manager

I know it sounds silly, but drink water. WaterMinder is my app of choice for reminders to drink water, which I then also use as an opportunity to stand, walk over to the kitchen, and move around.

Elena D., Remote Happiness Engineer

Buy a light box! I have one for the winter months, and it greatly helps with my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Chris L., Remote Platform Reliability Engineer

Talking to your teammates, collaborators, or clients will help with the feeling of loneliness or isolation. I work alone all day, every day; if I feel isolated, I know I can video call or chat to someone online about anything random to get that social goodness.

Spencer P., Software Developer

I always have eye drops (honestly). I get ocular migraines because of too much screen time, so keeping my eyes relaxed is key.

(This is a great tip for any of us looking at screens all day, whether we’re remote or not!)

Find more ways to keep your mental health in check while working from home here. 


Find the perfect playlist

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that listening to music can be directly tied to an increase in creative thinking. Whether you’re belting your favorite Broadway ballad or prefer something a bit more subdued, plugging in is a great way to stay focused throughout the day, especially if you’re in a household with roommates or other distractions.

Justin N., Remote Support Team Lead

I love a killer playlist that matches the kind of work I’m doing (and a great pair of headphones if you’ve got them). Otherwise, crank up your speakers.

Jamie B., Remote Director of Marketing

A lil’ podcast walk is often JUST the thing to switch gears and integrate a new idea or five into my day. If I have 15 minutes between meetings, I’ll queue up something short and stroll around the block or do a couple of mindless physical chores. It’s great if I’m stuck or just need something to break up back-to-back Zoom calls!

Need some podcast inspiration? Check out 14 of Jamie’s favorites here.

Donnie G., Remote Director of Platform Engineering

My go-to music is something without words and just a good rockin’ beat.

Looking for new playlists dedicated to helping with productivity? Spotify has a ton of curated playlists to help you do your best work (or you can listen to my personal favorite)!


Be considerate (and present) during meetings

A great way to stay social when working from home is by scheduling meetings with clients, collaborators, and coworkers! But, holding a meeting in-person versus meeting online can feel wildly different. So we’ve jotted down a couple of things you should be mindful of: 

Tyler H., Regional Support Manager

Are you on your laptop for most of the meetings you’re in? If so, it can be super easy to slip back into ‘background work’ during a remote meeting. While sometimes this is okay, most of the time this is not being excellent to the person/people you’re meeting with. Here are a few things you can do to help counteract this:

  • Keep the conference front and center, and set the view to “gallery” so you can see both yourself and the other meeting attendees.
  • Take notes, even if you delete them after the meeting – it helps you stay focused.
  • Mute Slack and minimize other windows if need be.

Mike P., Remote Happiness Engineer

When on a video call, either mute your mic when you’re not talking, or get used to “silent” forms of assent/listening cues. Don’t go “hmm-mmm”, “yeah”, “okay”, or even grunt. Just nod, and stay as quiet as possible…every noise can be a potential interruption.


Keep your furry friends busy

Pets can oftentimes be the perfect way to help us relieve stress when working on an especially tough project, but spending all day with them can get a bit distracting (we’re looking at you, cats that prefer to lay on our keyboards instead of the complex you paid $100 for). Our remote employees have found ways to keep their pets busy, so they can keep busy as well.

Here are a few quick, hilarious, and helpful tips:

  • I occasionally “fake leave” and put the doggo in the backyard. – Eric B.
  • I turn on the space heater, point it at my dog, and he’s snoozing in seconds.  – Spencer P.
  • I put all three of our dogs with a bunch of blankets in a guest bedroom. Mean, I know, but they aren’t bringing in the paychecks. – Truman G.
  • I have a fake lap experiment that I’ve started for my cats. So far so good. – Andy N.
Andy stuffed a pair of pants like a pillow to mimic his lap. This is from Day 6 of the experiment — it appears to be working flawlessly!

Set your kids up for success

Working from home and a parent? You’re the real MVPs! It can be hard for kids at home to fully understand the concept of “working from home,” and it can be even more difficult to try and get into a creative mindset (and get any work done) when you’re constantly checking in on them. So, we came up with a few ideas to help you and your children find a nice balance of work and play:

Drew K., Remote Happiness Engineer

Try to keep to a schedule! I have easy activities that don’t take a ton of focused attention from me, but still provide my kid the engagement and attention he needs and craves. So, when I get a ‘hey Daddy I need x, y, z’, I happily redirect his attention to our pre-planned activities, and use the thing he asked me for as a reward upon completing the activity.

Looking for more tips about balancing being a parent and working from home? Drew has more tips for you here!

John H., Platform Engineer

It really helps to have a dedicated space, with a door. I’ve got three kids and we homeschool, so they are always around. But I’ve been doing it their whole lives, so aside from some frequent, gentle reminders, they know to leave me when I’m in my workspace.


Bonus: A few must-have items our team members couldn’t live without:

Sometimes convenience is key and it may be worth treating yourself if you think it’ll help you do your best work! Here are a few items that quite a few of our remote employees said they couldn’t live without:

Must-haves:

There you have it, just a few of our favorite ways to remain productive while working remotely! It may take some trial and error to find out how you do your best work in a remote environment, but if you follow these tips we think you’ll be creating amazing work from the comfort of your own home in no time. 


Do you consider yourself an expert at working remotely? Share some of your tips in the comments below! 

Contributors

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Jazmyn Brown
Content Coordinator
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Author
Morgan Smith
Content Manager at Flywheel
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Kimberly Bailey
Photographer at Flywheel

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