We know — working from home isn’t always easy. It can be lonely, monotonous, stressful, overwhelming and hard to keep your home life and work life separate. After all, everything is taking place under the same roof.
But there are some undeniable benefits that, for our team, at least, make it all worthwhile. Brandpoint has been remote since the start of the pandemic, but some of our employees were already working from home or doing a hybrid model, so all in all, the concept wasn’t new. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a transition period of figuring out how to communicate with coworkers remotely, learning how to be productive with your entire family at home and knowing when to shut off your computer at the end of the day.
We asked our team to give us their thoughts on working from home — their favorite parts, what they’ve had more time for and what advice they would give to someone struggling with remote work. And a few common themes came up. Take a look:
Pets make the workday … well, interesting. They offer love, support and companionship. But they can also be a distraction, making themselves known to coworkers at problematic times. Bottom line, you never know what you’re going to get with pets, but they sure make the workday more fun.
Here are some of our favorite pet moments:
Meet Waffles, Sara Blood’s dog. Waffles wanted in on this meeting and decided to give Curtis a virtual kiss. Sara says, “Working from home with pets is always an adventure. I’m now working with two Jack Russell Terriers with the addition of our pandemic senior adoptee Dame Maggie Smith. They keep you on your toes but add much joy to the day.”
Laura Holt has a few pets, all of which keep her company throughout the day. “The pets in particular give me a lot of joy during my day, and bringing my ball python on screen is a sure-fire way to liven up a meeting!”
Annette Albrecht got a quarantine puppy named Griff. “My favorite part of our work-from-home days is being able to spend more time together. We take Griff for a walk over lunch. We get exercise and enjoy all of Minnesota’s weather! You’ll find us walking on the warmest summer days, and the snowiest winter ones too!” Annette also warns that “If you give me a call, don’t be surprised if you hear snoring in the background. Griff is usually under my chair catching some ZZ’s, waiting for the laptop to close so we can get out on our next walk.”
Emily Bollinger recently spent some time with her grandparents in Arizona, where she had a furry coworker keep her company.
Mary Vaughan shares her office space with her furry friend. She says that for her, working from home is all about being grateful for the little things, like “making my coffee each morning, listening to my favorite podcasts while I fill out my task list, or spending afternoons working on the latest project with my pup at my feet — all have greatly contributed to my increased productivity and overall well-being.”
Melissa Wexler loves having more time to spend with her son and their pets. “My son and I love the extra time we get to spend with our pets. We’ve added two members to the family since the pandemic began: Buster, who was born with a set of springs, and a baby Gecko who was promptly name Geiko.”
Making your space your own
Many of our employees cited their love for their home office space. Having a designated space that’s private, decorated in a way that you like and where you can express yourself is key to having a happy and productive work life. So no matter what your workspace looks like, make sure it is functional and comfortable. Here are a few offices that have our employees succeeding from home.
Amanda Robison spent some time putting her space together and it’s definitely paid off. “I love my workspace. It’s taken some time to get it just right but I couldn’t be happier with it! I have a big window to look out of and a space for my furry coworkers to keep me company during a long day of work!” If you look closely, you can spot her cat hanging out in her office.
Kristi Marquardt has been working from home for a long time and definitely has her office situation figured out. “I’ve set up a few workspaces in my home and enjoy making these very calm and productive. I love feeding the birds and working by a sunny window most mornings. We have two offices which I swap out using, which makes it a nice change of pace for streaming client videos and calls. I try to enjoy the little things like lunch together when we’re all here and keeping cookies in the cookie jar.”
Mary Vaughan’s office space, coincidentally, is in her parents’ basement. “I was fairly nervous about beginning my career from the comfort of my parents’ basement while also navigating the transition from college to corporate America. I’m lucky to work for a company that prioritizes the mental and physical health of their employees, supports flexibility, and a true work-life balance.” She’s found ways to make it all work for her.
Janelle Van Bockel created a cozy space that keeps her motivated. “I have a space to work in that is my own, my own little sanctuary that feeds my creativity and encourages thoughtfulness and diligence throughout the day.”
Emily Bollinger is a fun example of a traveling Brandpoint office — she took advantage of the flexibility of working from home to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to visit her grandparents. “Working from home for me means that I’m able to be productive and in sync with my team from anywhere and at anytime, without having to sacrifice other areas of my life. I recently spent a week with my grandparents in Phoenix and being able to carry on my normal workload during the day and eat a homecooked meal with them at night is something that is so special to me.”
More time for family
Our employees really value the extra time to spend with family. Besides Emily getting to go visit her grandparents and work from Phoenix, other Brandpoint employees are just grateful for the added time back in their days from not having to commute back and forth.
Annette talked about how grateful she is for her work-from-home group. “My work-from-home crew is myself, my husband Tony who works for a financial services company and our COVID pup Griff. A benefit for me is that each morning my husband makes coffee and breakfast — it’s usually fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and wheat toast. A great start to the day!”
Laura Malm loves being able to work from home to be closer to her kids. “Working from home — where I feel safe and comfortable — has transformed my world. I can be the best version of myself in both my professional and personal life. I’ve found I get more work done at home than in the hubbub of the office. I can take walks and make myself wholesome foods during my lunch hour. I also am home to get my kids on and off the bus and am a more involved parent.”
Jen Kartes’ favorite part of working from home is having more time with her two boys. “I asked my 10-year-old, Ben what he thought about me working from home. His reply was, ‘I really like that we see you so much and we get to come home right after school. I never need to wonder what time you’ll be picking us up and I really like that we get to have afternoon snack together every day.’ For Brandpoint parents, working from home allows for more quality family time.
Exploring new hobbies
Some of our employees have taken the added time in their day to learn new skills, or practice old ones.
Lisa Schlagel has been working on her cooking skills, putting together some delicious — and beautiful — recipes. “WFH has given me time to experiment with more tedious recipes I never would have tried before. I learned that I actually love to cook and it’s become a great creative outlet.”
Gretchen Lynch has been working on herself by making time in her schedule to work out. “I love that Brandpoint enables their employees to work from home! The biggest advantage for me is time. I try to spend that extra time on either my outside bike or my stationary bike. I believe that extra ‘sweat’ will lead to a happier and healthier me!”
It’s not always perfect
Even though our employees have found a lot to love about working from home, everyone has their own personal challenges to overcome, too. It’s not always perfect, but this model is working for our team.
For anyone struggling, Laura Malm recommends “structuring your day in your calendar and make time not only for meetings, but for breaks and connecting virtually with coworkers. Your digital calendar is the ultimate planning tool to keep you productive yet balanced.” Connectivity can be a challenge in a digital world, so learning to make time for work but also prioritizing coworker and family relationships is key.
[Read More: How Support From the Top Got Us Through the Pandemic]
Kristi talks about finding joy in the everyday things, like “taking a walk over lunch, building our family coffee and tea bar and taking breaks to play with our cat and new bunny we got in 2021. We’ve made it work and we welcome spring to be outside more in the tundra of Minnesota.”
Working from home is all about finding a balance, and while that can be difficult, it can lead to a happy work environment that leaves time for the things you care about outside of your job. At Brandpoint, there’s potential for staying remote, for returning to the office fulltime, and for finding some sort of hybrid model. But it has ultimately been left up to employees to decide what they’re comfortable with and what works for them. So while we are currently remote, we are all making these decisions together and staying connected the best that we can.