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Remote Workers Weigh In: How do you prepare for the workday when you don’t have to commute?

In a bid to cover some remote worker FAQs, through our new series ‘Remote Workers Weigh In’ we’ll be asking our team some of the most asked questions about what it’s really like to be a remote worker. You can read the previous articles of this series on what remote workers wear while WFH here!

For the most part, we can all agree that commuting isn’t our favourite part of each day. It’s often a huge factor in deciding to go remote because skipping out on traffic or the hassle of public transit is so enticing. Not to mention all the extra time we now have to ourselves.

But have you ever thought about what a commute offers us? 

By heading into the office each day, we are forced into a daily ritual that offers both physical and psychological distance between our home and work lives. The practice of getting ready each morning, leaving by a certain time, and having a physical journey can help us prepare mentally for the day ahead and decompress on the way home. 

These journeys, while not always enjoyable, do offer a very distinct barrier between home life and work life. 

When I started working from home full time, I initially struggled to implement good habits that broke up my time well. I’d often begin work as soon as I woke up, meaning my regular morning routine (breakfast, morning skincare, getting dressed) would happen much later — and sometimes not at all. 

It took some intentional effort to prioritize my buffer time which in the long run made my workdays more productive because I felt like the best version of myself. 

Admittedly, my routine changes fairly frequently as I move around a lot. However, I’ve noticed it’s small rituals like having a coffee at my desk or putting on my big headphones (even if I’m not listening to anything) that really help me get into the work zone.

As work-life balance is a common struggle among remote workers, I asked the ShieldGEO team to share their morning routines while WFH to see how they distinguish their morning home time from beginning work for the day. 

This question was an eye-opener. My routine is driven by my pregnancy — some days I’m the Duracell bunny others an abandoned toy! 

— Julieta Moreno, Global Mobility Subject Matter Expert

I’ve tried to make a 30-minute morning ritual to replace a 30-minute commute. Some mornings it doesn’t happen because… SLEEP! But if I do make it happen, my ritual consists of 10 minutes of journaling, 10 minutes of meditation, a 5-minute dog walk, and 5 minutes to make coffee. 

I also found going to sleep with the ‘do not disturb’ feature is really nice, so I don’t see any personal or work-related messages on my phone when I wake up. I don’t allow myself to turn it off until after I’ve completed the above and am sitting at my desk. 

— Angela Moon, Content Marketing Manager 

I would normally have my coffee, drop the kids to the bus stop, go for a short run, shower and get started. But due to homeschooling, I wake up and start work earlier while it’s still quiet at home.

— Daisy Daswani, Finance Manager (SME) 

My workspace right now is in my bedroom, but I only use my desk for work or to study so I would say that once I sit on my desk, I get into work mode. 

— Martha Torices, Implementation Manager

I take my dog for a 30-minute walk while I listen to an audiobook.

Then I make a healthy breakfast and figure out my top three priorities for the day.

Then a quick shower and make sure I put on some real pants instead of sweatpants so that my brain knows it’s work time.

— Anna Duncanson, Salesforce Development Manager

My office space is separate from our bedroom. Upon waking up, I take a short shower and change out of my sleeping clothes, make myself a coffee and step into the “office.” Once I’m in my work zone, it makes it easier to shut out the distractions and the family also know that I am now at “work”.

— Kim Luy, Global Mobility Termination Consultant

I’m generally up before anyone else in my house, so I enjoy the peace and quiet with a large coffee. Then as my office is separate to my house and I have to walk the whole ten steps through the back garden, I have to get washed and dressed; I don’t want to scare the neighbours by walking to work in my PJ’s. 😉 

So for me in the mornings home and work is very separate.

— Katrina Philbin, Global Mobility Team Lead

Every morning I pray and read a devotional while I have my tea and breakfast. Then I do a 20-40 min pilates workout. Once I’ve showered after the workout, my mind knows it’s time to begin the workday!

— Asia Hundley, Customer Success Manager

I wake up, get ready for the day and do a 5-10 min meditation before I check my inbox while I have some coffee, then I go out for a run, and once I’m back, I take a shower, and then I get some breakfast before I get started with work.

— Karla Olivero, Global Mobility Associate

I clear my emails in bed before I get up and once I get up, I’ll normally do some exercise (HITT in the park) then go get a takeaway coffee then sit down and start work properly. This routine is often interrupted by early phone calls.

— Duncan Macintosh, Co-Founder 

I wake up, get myself ready for the day and then meditate for about 10-15 minutes. It allows me a bit of stillness before I get started with work. 

— Rosalyn Kamp, Customer Success Associate

I am lucky to have a dedicated home office. Going in there is my signal to start work. 

— Tim Burgess, Co-Founder

 

There are plenty of tips floating around the internet on the best ways to structure your days, but as you’ll see above, how we practically implement routines and rituals is personal. It’s ultimately dependant upon our personalities, our other commitments like homeschooling or dog walking, whether we have a separate dedicated room to work from or if we enjoy exercising in the morning or evening. This article isn’t meant to be prescriptive of what you should do but rather showcase the variety of ways our team starts their day to give some inspiration for your own trial and error. 

If you’re struggling with motivation, maybe you could try putting on some ‘real pants’ like Anna to signify the start to the workday. Or if you’re getting distracted consider separating your workspace from your living space — even if it’s just a desk you don’t use other than for work like Martha. Rituals like journaling, meditating and exercise all help you feel ready for the day. And if all else fails, there’s always coffee. 

— Bree Caggiati



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