The work-from-home scene started frantically during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, but now it has become part of the “new normal” and many of us have even come to love it. Here at Moonshine, remote working is the norm most days. We like to share with you our tips for making this situation successful for everyone involved.
I love to make my at-home workspace as cozy and inviting as possible. My tip for a cozy home office is to find a space with few distractions and fill it with things that will bring me peace and keep me focused. I play soft quiet music to drown out any background noise. “Just Focus” is the name of my go-to Spotify playlist to listen to while working. I recommend having a candle burning on the desk for ambiance — just be sure not to catch any paperwork in the flame. I always keep a bouquet of flowers on my desk to bring extra joy to my workflow. I use multiple screens while I work, so I wear blue light glasses on long workdays to keep my eyes from getting too tired.
Here are tips and tricks from other Moonshiners.
Mayumi Peacock, publisher
Peacock has two key tips for when it comes to working from home:
1. Keep your workspace consistent.
She says that as you travel between work locations, make sure your workspace setup is the same. “Arrange the setup for your laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and computer desktops the exact same,” she says. “This way, you pick up right where you left off seamlessly.”
2. Use the daylight hours for you.
Plan your workday to include daylight outings. Peacock likes to use part of the daytime to get outside to go for a short hike or cross-country ski, or to make a few turns on the ski hill, or even do an outdoor chore like stacking wood. “Your body and mind need time outdoors,” she says. “Clearing your mind leads to better self and work.”
“With a year-and-a-half-old calling the shots at my house, working from home is … really hard to do these days,” Hoeft says.
Her home office also serves as her baby’s play space, so she can sneak in some “light-brain work’’ while baby entertains herself with toys.
Hoeft’s tips for working at home with a baby include working during nap time and in the evenings when baby is sleeping so she can write stories without distraction. On the days when her little one is at daycare, Hoeft likes to get out of the house and work from the Moonshine office. She calls her limited distraction-free time her “everyone-shut-up-I-need-to-get-this-done time.”
Coakley likes the efficiency of working from home. He saves money by not going out to eat and he saves on gas as well (something I’m sure we all can appreciate).
His tip for working from home is to set up the workspace with good ergonomics. He works sitting in a low-seated, armless chair with an external keyboard in his lap and a trackball beside his hip so he doesn’t have to hold his arms and shoulders forward. He also uses a 40-inch monitor that sits 4 feet away from him, so his eyes don’t get strained.
Another tip from Coakley is to keep props near the workstation that inspire physical movement. He keeps weights, yoga tools, and other workout props close by for when he needs a stretch break and wants to get his blood pumping.
Laura Read, copy editor, opinion editor
Read likes to take her work on the road, which sometimes means setting up office in her 19-foot camper van. She says being able to work from anywhere allows her a wandering life and she likes that she is able to travel to see her friends and family.
Her work-travel tips include finding a solid Wi-Fi signal, which may be tricky when she’s camping in remote areas. She plans her work and her road trip schedules ahead so she knows what needs to be done online and what can be done the old-fashioned way without internet connection.
When she is passing through different towns, Read locates Wi-Fi connections and gets her online work done. When she is offline, she uses good old pen and paper to avoid abusing the limited solar power supply (yikes!) while she is out boondocking. Important tips for working from the road include having everything needed for a successful camping trip so that your workday is not ruined by camping mishaps.
To keep her workday positive and on track, Read plants tchotchkes in fun spots which she says trigger smiles and memories, and remind her of deadlines.
Miller’s at-home workspace is a dedicated corner in her home where everything she needs is within arm’s reach. She makes it a fun and functional environment while also paying close attention to ergonomics. Miller notes that scenery is important and has crafted her work setup to function in a mobile fashion so she can move around her house when she wants to break up her workday. When she works outside her home, Miller uses a mobile office that she created to mimic her usual workspace in miniature. She says, “This little guy is a workhorse, has built in power for all my devices, and even features a small thermo printer.”
Juliana Demarest, arts & culture editor
During the early days of the pandemic, Demarest found herself and her laptop moving from the kitchen table to the couch back to the table and to the couch once again. It was wreaking havoc on her back and neck, but desks were suddenly on backorder and hard to come by. She was lucky enough to score a great desk for free on Facebook Marketplace that perfectly fit into a windowed space in her kitchen, offering copious daylight and a beautiful view.
Demarest tries to start off the work week with a clean, organized desk — but it doesn’t take long for her workspace to become cluttered with mail, books, paperwork, print copies of Moonshine, and whatnot. So by the time the weekend comes, she’s ready to clear the clutter and start off fresh for the week ahead. Having a tidy work area is less distracting and fosters a better working mindset, especially when she’s suffering a bout of writer’s block.