By: Amanda Fischer
It’s been a few weeks since Gov. Whitmer issued a “stay home” order, and with the extended stay home order recently issued, it looks like we might all be working from home for a little while longer.
Our team at M3 Group has been testing out what works best for our work from home routines. Here are few tips and tricks we are finding helpful as we adapt to this temporary new reality:
Choosing the Right Work Attire
Although a lot of people out there suggest dressing up to stay in your normal work routine, our team has been enjoying dressing comfy to get down to business. *Spoiler* Our productivity has not been affected in the least by our casual dress.
“The rule I don’t follow is getting dressed for work. I enjoy working from home in the comfiest pants that I can find,” Melissa DeMott, account executive, said.
“I dress more casually than I do at work, but I do get up, shower, shave and throw a T-Shirt and Jeans on for the day to get my mind in the work mode,” Carey Jarvis, media specialist, said.
Except for certain virtual meetings, there’s no right or wrong way to dress when working from home. You should dress in whatever helps you work hard and get things done.
Setting a Schedule
When you’re working from home it’s a lot easier to break out of a routine or get distracted by things happening in your environment (kids, dogs, and cats, oh my). It’s also easier to sit down and not come up for air more than may be healthy. Several M3 Group team members said they find it important to set a schedule and stick to it.
I personally like to look at my schedule at the beginning of each day and block out what I will do throughout the day. I know I’ll have to be flexibleworking from home and that I can move things around from time to time, but setting a schedule helps me stay productive.
When setting a schedule, you should make sure to include regular breaks, just as you would likely take them at the office. Take a lunch break and shorter breaks throughout the day to maintain productivity and sanity. One of our graphic designers, Lauren Brumbach, said she’s found that being in a home space has given her some unique opportunities to recuperate mentally throughout the day.
“When I take breaks, I can go paint, read, step outside or snuggle the cat for a minute to recoup. I have my other hobbies accessible, which has helped most of the time,” Brumbach said.
Creating a Work Environment
At the M3 office, we all have a designated workstation but also are lucky enough to have a ton of space to move around and work in when we need a change of scenery. Many of our staff members have set up a designated workspace at home.
Brumbach said she has set up a space similar to hers at M3 group. Another teammate, M3 Group Digital Strategist Skylar Kohagen, said he has a “gamer” set up, so he already had a good spot equipped with the technology he needs to do his work.
Additionally, he said he uses a program called Mouse Without Borders so he can use his keyboard and mouse on both computers wirelessly.
Other M3ers find it just as good to work from different parts of the house. M3 Group multi-media specialist and managing editor of the Greater Lansing Business Monthly and Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle, Mary Gajda, said because her husband also works from home and uses their home-office, she works from all over.
“If I’m not working on a pants-on-fire project, I find the couch quite comfortable. But for more focused work, I usually batten down the hatches in the dining room. Good, natural light has been key for me too, so I make sure I work near a big window,” Gajda said.
Keeping Communication Strong
Strong communication is not just a goal when working from home, it’s a necessity. One way to maintain communication is through face-to-face contact. Since we’re all quarantined, video conferencing has been a lifesaver for us.
Gajda said she’s really enjoyed using Microsoft Teams.
“I really miss the face-to-face interaction. I’ve enjoyed using Microsoft Teams for video meetings. It is more efficient than a long string of emails, and in these scary times, it helps keep me grounded seeing their faces and knowing everyone is safe. It’s also fun to see what is in the backgrounds of their at-home workspaces. It tells me a little more about my coworkers and helps me connect to them on a deeper level, if that makes sense,” Gajda said.
We have used Microsoft Teams for a lot of our internal team meetings but also use GoToMeeting and Zoom for some client meetings. All have their benefits, so we suggest using whatever works best for you and your team.
Our team is having fun finding ways to stay connected and remain connected to our teammates and clients while working from home. We hope your team has found similar ways to make the best of this unprecedented situation.
Check out what have become M3 Group’s diverse work spaces during this historic time.