Although the past six weeks haven’t been easy (Cheez-Its and ice cream help), I have tried to keep my work day as normal as possible. At times, I’m not the best at motivating myself and I prefer to work in a structured environment, so during this period of staying at home I’ve really had to make an extra effort. From creating an enjoyable environment to team bonding activities, I’ve been incorporating ACPR’s culture into my little home office—and it’s the best thing I could have ever done for myself. Even if you don’t have a dedicated work space, these tips can help make working from home more structured and fun.
1. Set a pre-work routine: One of the perks of WFH is having a little extra time in the mornings and evenings that you would normally spend commuting. To make the most of it, create a pre-work routine to start your day off on the right note. For me, this looks like taking my dog Greta out for a short walk, doing my AM skincare routine, brewing the perfect cuppa, and busting out a short yoga flow if I have time.
2. Connect with your team: At ACPR, we have been connecting over Zoom a few times a week to do everything from free online workouts and facial massage with FaceGym to #FaceMaskFridays with clients and at home manicures. If your team isn’t organizing something more formal like this, take the initiative to slack your coworkers to catch up or set up a virtual HH after work is over.
3. Move your body: As someone who attends workout classes regularly, moving my body has been important to keep doing while I’m staying at home. A couple of my personal favorites include Sky Ting and Melissa Wood Health, but @sweatsandthecity posts a live workout schedule every day. This doesn’t have to be an hour long, sweat your butt off sort of workout—the intention is to just move your body to improve your mood and keep your body healthy.
4. Gather up your favorite WFH essentials: Grab your favorite candle, facial mist, snacks, planner, you name it, and put them in your home office or WFH area. Not only will this make you want to actually sit at your desk, but it will just make work a little more fun and homey feeling. And who doesn’t want that?
5. Become your own DJ: Music is a great way to motivate and put yourself in a good mood. Now is the perfect time to play your favorite artists nonstop or discover something new with no judgement from your coworkers. In the mornings, I like to pick a song I want to listen to on Spotify and then play the radio station based on that song. I also love to switch up the music genre after lunch to help break up my day and keep the motivation going.
Caitlin Topham is ACPR’s Junior Publicist and quarantine baker. On the weekends, you can find her baking up everything from carrot cake to strawberry lime galette to brownie pie for her and her roommates to enjoy from the safety of their home.
Like most of the world, I’m not sure how many days we’ve been in quarantine. Somehow time passes without so much as a hello, and that’s okay. It’s been an emotional ride; we refer to it as the ebbs and flows at ACPR. There’s been a healthy serving of hard days, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about us PR girls, it’s that we’re resilient, innovative, and always up for a challenge. As for me, a budding flower in the PR world, COVID-19 felt like a ‘make it or break it’ moment in my career — a defining moment some might say.
The beginning I’m a Scorpio through and through. I’m very strong-willed and a survivor at heart. But when the stay-at-home order was issued, I panicked. This story has a happy ending, I promise, but if ever there was a journey to get there, I had to trek my way to it. I made plenty of stressed phone calls and shed my fair share of tears. I felt guilt for my lack of gratitude when I was one of the lucky few to have a career to turn to and I felt shame for showing my weaknesses. But there was one thing I forgot to consider; my community has my back. All of my phone calls were answered with understanding and empathy, Allyson talked me through the catastrophizing mindset at least three times that first week (and every week after), and each of my team members virtually checked-in every day. In PR, we pivot constantly, adjusting to the landscape and creating intentional strategies to adapt. Sometimes you just have to spin it.
The middle Early on I recognized that if I could approach this unique reality and my career while #wfh with a curiosity mindset versus fear, then I would come out on top. I knew there were three things I would need to accomplish if I was going to move forward. First, my headspace would need to change—I’m a busy person by nature and wallowing would make this worse. Second, I had to feel all the things. Accepting that there must be bad days in order to appreciate good days (ebbs and flows, remember?), and it’s okay to be sad, tired, frustrated, melancholic, etc. but move on from it. And third, keep going. I have a begrudging habit of holding onto my mistakes like a security blanket. That stress and fear I conjure to constantly remind myself of my mistakes or shortcomings acts as my shield against future road blocks. Here’s the thing, it’s also my demise. If I can’t let that sh*t go, then there’s no moving forward. Full stop.
The end Now for some of you, there’s a little more waiting to be done. We’re lucky to begin the re-entry process back to society on Monday (for the first time in my life, I won’t be missing my pajamas). And you know the best part? I did it. Not only did I survive, but let me tell you, I heckin’ thrived. I felt the bad and I celebrated the good, I turned up the radio and drove with the windows down, I trusted myself, my team, and the process. I brought it. Did I struggle along the way? Oh, there’s no doubt. But I faced what felt like an impossible mountain and I didn’t back down. And I think that’s the key. I couldn’t manage a morning routine or getting properly dressed every day (no jeans here), but I owned the things I could do. The skills I’ve been honing over my last seven months at ACPR became natural instincts. I refused to let the fearful parts of me become me. I leaned into my strengths and transformed this into a proud career defining moment.
Starting out in the big, bad world is already intimidating. But if I can offer you anything as you begin to stretch your wings, it’s this: you got this. No, seriously. You totally do. It takes a lot of trust, which definitely comes with time, but you know better than anyone what you’re capable of. No one can do what you do, that’s your superpower.
It’s like that saying: With enough pressure and time, you’ll create a diamond.
Courtney is ACPR’s PR & Social Associate. During quarantine she’s proud to have completed two puzzles, countless sudokus, and all three original Jurassic Park movies. She‘s hoping to turn her crow pose into a full headstandsoon, but only time will tell.
We’re embarking on week five of our “new normal” and somehow, like always, we’re finding a way. In truth, I’m vacillating between all the emotions while balancing #WFH and #MomLife.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones, as I’ve been able to continue to work from home while homeschooling my energetic seven year old. I would be lying if I said it was easy. Balance is challenging under ordinary circumstances. During this time, I’ve learned to cope by staying positive and going back to the basics. After all, I already have what I need to make it happen: strength, skills, and a support system. I’m relearning that life doesn’t have to be complicated, and if I stay realistic, committed to my new (albeit hopefully temporary) routine, and place kindness before everything else, I will find a way to make it through, while enjoying the moment and achieving success.
Be realistic If after an Instagram scroll session, you find that you’re comparing yourself to others and, say their tricked out homeschooling setups or Pinterest-worthy home offices, STOP! Remember that not everything you see is reality. Be realistic about who you are, the situation you’re in, and what you’re able to do, and then, do what works for you. Start by determining what you can do. Then have a conversation with your child’s teacher, your employer, and your family and friends, that way you’re all on the same page. Strive for your best, but be fluid in what your “best” looks like. This is not the time for perfection!
Be committed to routine A key to making it through this time is setting yourself up for success. And for me, that starts the night before. That means reflecting on my to-do list for the day, assessing the next day’s schedule, tidying up the house, and meal planning for the next day. Planning takes time and effort, but I’ve found that it’s well worth it, for me and for my son. Doing so allows me the little luxuries that I look forward to, like having a few moments of quiet while I enjoy my first cup of coffee in the morning. Some days committing to routine will be harder than others, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Kindness It’s not a new concept, but it’s as important now than ever. Kindness starts with yourself. We working moms are being pulled in so many directions right now. What I know is that if we are not intentional in the way we are caring for ourselves right now, it’s impossible to care for others. So show kindness to yourself first. For me, that means taking the time for my morning coffee and my nightly bath. When it comes to sharing kindness with others, it’s been helpful for me to remind myself that everyone is doing their best. And kindness makes the world go round.
Sending all my fellow WFH mamas the strength and wisdom to return to the basics during this extraordinary time.
Sarah Wannemacher is ACPR’s Business Development Manager. Her daily coffee drinking habits have been taken to a whole new level and she now has a life goal of being a brand ambassador for Nespresso with George Clooney.