So… what the heck happened this year?

March 2021
By Katie Funk

People Working

Let’s take a minute and rewind to March 2020. The world was a completely different place. We had a different President. People were shamefully whispering, “have you watched Tiger King?” and the Jonas Brothers were just finishing their first reunion tour. And, if you were like me, you could do your morning commute in your sleep (and sometimes felt like you did). 

It was the same routine day after day. Everyone can agree that lockdown had quickly forced us to change our habits. Not only the way we worked but the way we spent our days. 

Time moves quickly, especially in the advertising/marketing industry. We learn early in our careers to be agile and shift for situations that we weren’t expecting. But did anyone ever think we’d be forced into this? Now, you’re spending your whole day in that little extra nook in the kitchen because it has the best lighting. 

A year has gone by, and some people can now go into the office, but many choose not to.

A PEW Research article from December 2020 shows that most people who work from home who have an option to go into the office are choosing to stay home because they simply prefer it.

While we are still trying to define our “new normal” (*buzzword alert*), it is important to remember a few simple tips to stay motivated and productive at home.

Tip #1 – Stick to a schedule 
We “had” a schedule before the pandemic, and we should have one during it. While every day may not be the same, it’s important to keep some rituals. Whether it be simple as waking up at the same time every day or as much as creating a “fake commute.” We are creatures of habits, and it doesn’t feel less natural until those habits are lost.

Tip #2 – Let Deadlines Drive You
Similar to the schedule tip, it’s easy to lose that motivation day in and day out. Creating deadlines for ourselves (even if they are made up) is imperative to keeping your day and week structured.

Tip #3 – Take Breaks
Even if it is for 5 minutes to walk around your apartment aimlessly or switch out laundry, give yourself a brain break and walk away. It is way too easy to get tied to your computer when you aren’t walking around the office for meetings or stepping out to the local sub shop for lunch.

Tip #4 – Embrace the curve
Some people love the idea of working at home every day (*insert emoji of a girl raising hand*), but for others, it is less than ideal. Being in the office together would just be so much easier than calling, texting, IM’ing, creating a zoom link just for a 10-minute meeting. But that’s not the situation right now, so we need to embrace this change by being open to feeling uncomfortable with things not always running as smoothly as they used to. 

Tip #5 – Don’t stop socializing
Traditionally, the majority of our waking hours are spent with our coworkers. And, more often than not, when I’m in interviews with potential new hires, they ask about our favorite parts about the job. A standard answer tends to be “the people.” So, although we are virtual, we need to make sure we can plan time to keep connected with the people that make our jobs worthwhile. 

Additional Articles on productivity tips:
https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/tips-to-stay-productive-when-working-remotely.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/04/30/seven-tips-for-staying-productive-while-working-from-home/?sh=86d8ad55380e