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by Vault Careers | March 30, 2020


woman on laptop drinking coffee

Like many offices these days, Vault has moved to a work-from-home model. The adjustment has been different for everyone: Some of us are work-from-home veterans, while others are more accustomed to our set-ups at the Vault office. In light of this transition and the ongoing adjustments we’ll all have to make, the Vault editorial staff thought it would be nice to share our best work-from-home tips to help you make the most of your day at the (home) office.

On getting in the right mindset:

Toss the sweats and yoga pants—during work hours, that is. I know that home is where you relax, and considering there is a global pandemic, you’ll take all of the comfort you can get. But getting ready for work per usual can do wonders for getting into a professional mindset. Shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, do your hair, put on makeup—stick to your typical pre-work routine. Next, choose “daytime” clothes. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie, but you should select an outfit that would be appropriate for a video meeting. (You never know when your boss may call a last-minute Zoom meeting). When the workday is over, you can change into your “comfy” clothes again, which will help you transition from work time to personal time.

Mary Kate Sheridan, Senior Law Editor

On starting your day off right:

Take an hour in the morning to yourself; have a routine in place to give you an opportunity to practice mindfulness and ease into your day. When you work from home, so often the temptation is to roll out of bed and get right to work. But I find this blurs the boundaries between my work life and my personal life—just because my home is now my office doesn’t mean I can’t separate the two. Take your time in the morning. Make your bed. Have breakfast. Read a little bit, get some exercise in, and make sure your workspace is tidy and organized. Just try to be present and not think about work for a little bit. There are lots of ways you can fill that time now that you don’t have a commute.

Stephan Maldonado, Senior Consulting Editor

On where to get your hours in:

Don’t work on your couch or in bed. If this advice sounds like a WFH cliché at this point, it’s because it’s true. Settling into a productive mindset is much easier when you have a dedicated workspace that doesn’t tempt you with Netflix or naps. Keep in mind, your workspace doesn’t have to be the exact same spot every day. For example, in my small apartment, I have a couple of work spots for different moods. For maximum productivity, I work at a desk with a full computer monitor set-up, facing the window to pretend I’m not at home. But on a day where more caffeine is necessary, I’ll sit at my kitchen counter within arm’s reach of the coffee pot. Bottom line: Find a spot where you can focus on work, even if it’s not a conventional office set-up, and save the couch-surfing as a reward after a hard day’s work.

Shelley Awe, Manager of Law School Engagement

On stepping away for a moment:

Take your lunch break! I’m 100 percent guilty of working through my lunch while in the office, and even in the “home office” (the desk six inches from my bed—thank you, New York), it’s sometimes necessary to get through everything. But it’s also so important to maintain boundaries between your work and personal lives while working from home. Personally, the afternoon feels three times harder when I don’t take a midday break. Your lunch break, however long, is your time to take a break and recharge—to walk away from your desk or other dedicated work space and reacquaint yourself with the outside world. So go eat your lunch somewhere besides your work space, and try to fit in another relaxing activity, like a walk or a chat with a family member or friend, to give yourself the chance to decompress before settling back in to work.

Kaitlin McManus, Associate Law Editor

On getting lost in the news cycle:

Don't check the news. Or, only check the news twice a day. Once is even better. The numbers are rising, things are getting grim, but reminding yourself of this every 20 minutes will leave you helplessly hopelessly unproductive. Work at home like you would if there wasn't a pandemic. Work, don't read news. Of course, you need to stay up to date on the proper social distancing and disinfecting measures, etc. you need to take during these difficult, anxious, trying times. Just don't overdo it. Don't refresh your news feeds and pages too often. I've found a direct correlation between my productivity and the amount of coronavirus news I ingest. Chances are you'll find a correlation, too.

Derek Loosvelt, Senior Finance Editor