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Creating a Productive Work-From-Home Environment at a Remote-First Company

Working from home has been a blessing for many, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep the general public safe, many private and public corporations made the decision to move their operations online, leading to the creation of thousands of remote roles. Here at Calendly, we made the official decision to be a remote-first company in 2021 after closing our office in Atlanta due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in an effort to protect our employees. It’s been a welcome evolution for many, the opportunity to keep safe and spend time with family while maintaining a full-time job without the hassle of having to endure rush hour. If you’ve found yourself in a remote-first role or are thinking about making the switch, here are four tips to help increase productivity while working with your house slippers on. 

It starts with your mindset 

The mantra: Don’t Wish for It, Work for It.

You’re finally working from home! While it does feel good to be free of some of the social pressures that come with being outside your ultimate comfort zone, it's important to bring the experience of work to your home. Whether online or IRL it’s another workday full of opportunity and the glorious chance to add to your resume. Seize the day! While providing a flexible work environment is key at Calendly, we know it can be difficult to switch to a work mindset when you work where you live. Try to get into a morning routine like you did when you used to go into the office to get ready for a successful workday. A quick and very simple hack to help you stay organized throughout your day is to create a list of your to-dos for tomorrow tonight starting with the most time-sensitive. Come morning you’re ready to dive into work mode. Another is to have a team touch-base call daily to stay accountable. Stay focused, sip your coffee and get it done. All from the comfort of your home! 

Create a dedicated workspace 

It may seem like a good idea to work from your bed/bedroom but trust us that can be a slippery slope especially if napping is one of your favorite pastimes. We encourage you to build a workspace away from where you rest or entertain that caters to all your working needs while limiting the temptation to lay down or to get too distracted. While an empty space, a standard desk and an office chair will get you started, swiveling if you’re fancy, have fun with this and make it a space that energizes and stimulates you. Plants, decorative figurines, motivational affirmations, vision boards and even your kid’s macaroni art and craft project are all fair game. If space is an issue at home, you can always work from your favorite coffee shop for a change in scenery or consider investing in a co-working space membership. Co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular and for some companies are added perks offered to employees - like Calendly! 

Pro tip - Sitting all day doesn’t do your body any favors. Consider investing in an adjustable standing desk to stay fit and to promote blood circulation while you work. You’re welcome!  

Break up your day! 

We cannot stress the importance of taking breaks enough. Working from the office means consistent movement and stimulation from the different people/environments you encounter. You’re out and about in a world from which you can draw inspiration. Working from home can mean stagnation of the body or mind from sitting too long in one setting…which happens to be where you live. There’s no variety in scenery. Try not to roll out of bed, sit behind the computer all day and get right back into bed at the end of your workday. That’s not living! Have a morning routine that works best for you: meditate/pray to refresh and renew your mind, go for a jog/walk for that fresh crisp morning air or have a delicious breakfast before you start your day to ground you. Take your lunch breaks. All of them. In fact we insist you treat them like meetings and schedule them to at least give your eyes rest from consistent screen time. When your workday concludes, give yourself a hardstop to avoid working hard into the night - it creeps up on you.  Enjoy some family/personal time. Shake activities up daily to keep things interesting and live fully! 

Pro Tip - Enjoy these tips from on taking breaks to fuel your mind during the workday. 

Schedule time with coworkers (outside of scheduled meetings)

Touch Base with coworkers and superiors frequently on a one-on-one or team basis to catch-up, ensure you’re all on the same page with operations and to check-in on your performance. Communication is always key but can get especially tricky when you aren’t in the same space relying predominantly on email or chat where tone can get misinterpreted. 

Pro Tip: It certainly helps to build great rapport with your co-workers, even outside of work hours to build deeper and more meaningful relationships which can have a positive effect on productivity levels - plus having work friends is the best! If you live in the same city and are able to, volunteer, take a cooking/spin class or, with the weather getting warmer, enjoy a nice team picnic at a park together. Work might be fully remote but team building doesn’t always have to be. 

There you have it - four tips on getting the very best out of working from home: get your mind prepared and tuned into work mode, settle down at your designated workspace to stay focused, be sure to take lunch and mental breaks, and connect with your colleagues frequently and intentionally. You’ve got this! 

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