If you, like us at Urban List, are now working from home rather than your usual office, chances are you’ve begun to realise it’s not quite as easy as you thought. The extra sleep in time usually spent on your morning commute is of course glorious but balancing your yearning for a Netflix binge with your actual workload can be a tough balance—trust us, we get it.
So in an effort to hopefully help you out at home with your new normal, some of the Urban List crew (who are based all over Australia and New Zealand) are sharing how they’re making WFH, work for them.
Paul Liddle | Head Of Creative
First thing I needed to do was try and recreate my work setup at home. I cannot work from the couch—it is the last sacred bastion of inactivity —so I had to grab everything, from my monitor to my office chair and replicate the feeling of sitting upright at a desk. We're on! I claimed the bedroom, and my wife—who is also working from home—has the living room. We meet up in the kitchen for lunch and water-cooler chat about a world gone mad and laugh about the cat constantly walking into our conference calls. The laughter is a massive part. If I can give any advice for life in general, it's that I truly believe you need to find something to laugh at every day. A good soundtrack to your new life doesn't hurt either. You are currently living in your own bizarro Wes Anderson movie right now, so act accordingly! Be sure to mix some classic Kinks or Stones with obscure French lounge and upbeat B-sides and VOILA! You can dust off that cowboy hat you bought overseas and swore to your partner you'd "wear all the time" and get to it. And when you catch your partner filming you dancing around the bedroom singing Joe Dassin's 'Les Champs Elysees', just roll with it, when are you going to get the chance to live this life again cowboy!
Tessa Gallagher | Managing Editor
Firstly, thank the sweet lord for digital media—I’m feeling very grateful for the opportunity to work at home right now and if I’m being completely honest, my job is giving me the focus and connection (and LOLs ) I need during this crazy time. I actually thought this whole WFH biz wouldn’t be too much of a change for me because a) I’m in A LOT of Google hangout meetings all week anyway and b) I am part of a tiny team of two in Perth but turns out that 50% of the team of two is pretty important (I miss you Anna!) and being in meetings all day is fine when you can go to a Pilates class after work, nick out for a coffee at lunch or catch up with mates for dinner (RIP things I will never ever take for granted again!). A few things keeping me sane right now are a daily walk or run around the neighbourhood, writing a big list before bed each night of everything I need to get done the next day (work stuff and other stuff), reaching out to friends to make sure they’re ok, cooking a delicious dinner and making sure my house is clutter-free cos for me, clutter = a cluttered mind!
Elise Cullen | Branded Content Manager
As a typical, burn-the-candle-at-both-ends Aries, predictability is my kryptonite, which means WFH—both working and weekending—can start to send me into a slightly despondent spiral. Throw in the fact that I’m very much an outdoor person who craves vitamin D and dishes made by other people, and you have yourself a few uneasy weeks. But it’s not all doom and gloom by any means. Since physical distancing ramped up, I’ve implemented (and actually maintained) a daily living room workout routine and I’ve even started practising gratitude again—something that worked previously to yank me out of a slump. Aside from the things I never take for granted, like my amazing family, friends and job, I’m waking up grateful for the smaller things like our high ceilings, our communal backyard, wine o’clock, my burgeoning pile of unread books and my never-ending collection of hand creams. Responding to my partner’s questions like “What do you want for lunch?” with “Step inside my office” is giving me strength but, most importantly, I’m just so grateful we're both into the same series right now—it’s a quarantine miracle!
Blake Wright | Sydney Account Manager
As someone who considers themselves a bit of a social butterfly, who loves a good office chat and thrives off interacting with other people, physical distancing and working from home have really hit home. It changed everything about how I approach life, which, I’ve honestly struggled with. I’m based in Sydney, but relocated back to Queensland to be with my family during this period, in doing so throwing out all routine which I usually thrive on. What does this all mean? Reinvention—I’ve had to look at all of the elements of my normal day and try to see why I like doing them and replicate them. I wake up and go for a run instead of training, get dressed, then take myself to the local cafe (the kitchen) to check my emails. I have an office at home so it acts as my workspace and as a company, we have done an amazing job at keeping up the sense of community which has kept me sane. I learned you can’t watch Netflix and work quite early on, so now I take short breaks throughout the day and am definitely guilty of more than a few ‘corona swipes’ through a dating app to break the day up. The boys and I have started to do knock off beers using our Instagram group chat which has become something to look forward to. If the enjoyment of that starts to wear off… I’m scared I may download TikTok and start my quest towards being a dancing influencer. Stay tuned.
Morgan Reardon | Lifestyle Editor
I'm someone who thought they had the whole WFH life on lock, because I do it all year round from my apartment in South East Queensland. But now that we're practising physical distancing, I've had to change up how I approach pretty much everything. As someone who is single and lives solo (don’t cry for me, I’m ok), I thrive on my dinner dates with friends and evenings spent at the beach for a post-work dip, but what I now realise is that those activities, though not a part of my work, were actually integral to me doing my job well. So now that those things are off the table for the foreseeable future, I'm mixing it up. I make sure every single day I get dressed in something I'd be happy for someone at the shops to spot me in (and on Fridays I go fancy with a cute dress), I use my lunch break to meditate or box in my living room to set me up for a productive arvo and I have virtual vino nights with pals which forces me to clock off work at a normal hour. And if the stress levels get too high, I stop and hug Arnold for around five minutes (dog, not human) and that puts me back in the right headspace. Thank god dogs can’t get Coronavirus.
Sophia Wilcox | Head Of Brand Experience
WFH and physical distancing in general feels like I’m in a surreal and parallel universe. Having only recently relocated from Sydney to Brisbane, I was already trying to find my feet within an unfamiliar social setting. Only eight weeks in I’m having to adapt to a smaller and more confined workplace within a yet-to-explore community. Despite it all, I am a hopeless optimistic and believe this situation will bring out the best of humanity and surface opportunities for those with their eyes and hearts open. To thrive professionally I need to be organised and on top of my to-do lists. I ensure I allocate time in my calendar not just for meetings but also for getting shit done. I’m setting aside time to be creative and step out onto my balcony and pace when I need an idea. My husband and I have carved out allocated work spaces, so we don’t get any loud typing-rage (I’m a very loud typer—especially when I’m excited). Right now, the best thing I can do is open the doors, open the windows, stay focused and productive and most importantly, connected. Because that’s what it’s all about, then, now and always.
Tilly Wills | Melbourne Account Manager
Does working from home have its perks? Sure. Is it harder than you anticipated? Ahhh, yes! It’s no news to anyone that being able to roll out of bed, throw on your best loungewear, pull your day five hair into a top knot, and roll into your makeshift living room office is an absolute vibe. But, when you are used to walking into an office full of creative rockstars, who give you your daily dose of laughter, reality tv lowdowns, and (to keep it PG) weekend snapshots, your Bonds co-ord doesn’t look so good. As someone who feeds off positivity and energy I’ve had to make some home-friendly adjustments to ensure I stay motivated. I set timers on my phone to really dive into work, will use a list to tick off tasks and will reward myself at the end of each block with a Go-To sheet mask, a 20 minute episode of Friends (‘cause Jen Anniston arms are vibe and girl needs workout inspo), an outdoor run, or a play with my four legged sausage, Iggy. However, it’s the Facetime chats with my work wives that gives me a lot of clarity, reinforces that sense of team, and gives me an excuse to pull out a cheeky Pinot.
Armelle Frimpong | New Zealand Editor
For someone who is used to constantly nipping in and out of the office for shoots, chatting to people from all walks of life and attending events around town, being confined to quarters has been one hell of an adjustment. While working from home permanently has its benefits—hello lie ins—it can also be hella hard. Getting up at the same time every day and setting up a routine early doors is a great way to start. For me that's a work out first thing with my fellow inmates, whether it be a YouTube work out, exercises in the garden or a solo jog around the block. If you have room, set up a work space where you can leave all your work stuff. When it's time to knuckle down, I finally have a chance to listen to all the playlists that I've been unknowingly compiling on Spotify for this exact situation. When a banger comes on it's a great excuse to stretch those legs. While it can be tempting to bang away at your keyboard for hours on end that's the fastest way to burn-out-ville. Be strict with giving yourself breaks and don't be a martyr. Have regular video chats with friends with a vino or cuppa in hand and get lots of hugs from your hubby/kid/pet (see Tangerine Dream below). Keeping a good sense of humour is key, so once the sun goes down make sure you make time for your favourite thing and remember, we're all in this together.
Image Credit: Chen Mizrach