Here's How If/When/How Makes Working from Home Work for Us.

By If/When/How Staff

This week, If/When/How staff members are sharing what we’ve learned after a year of remote work together — offering advice on working from home, self-care, and what reproductive justice lawyering and advocacy looks like as we all practice social distancing.

Yesterday, we talked about advice for folks who’ve never worked remotely before. Today’s question: What do you do that makes working from home workable for you?

Rebecca Wang, J.D., Helpline Counsel:

If I feel I need to take a break, go for a walk, get some snacks, or call a friend, I just do it. I think in the beginning of working remote, I was really trying to hold myself to the standard of being in class or working in an office, but that wasn’t particularly helpful then and it isn’t helpful now that I’ve been working from home for awhile. Trying to hold myself to a ‘structure’ was really rooted in some of my own ideas of tying my value to my productivity. I’m over that now. I invite other folks to do the same, especially under the current circumstances. Taking care of yourselves comes first.

Yveka Pierre, Esq., Litigation Counsel:

I come at it  from a reframe space (and this has been trial and error). This isn’t vacation, and setting yourself up to be successful can be the difference between a successful day or one you guilt over later. I typically work from a co-working space and I have a similar set up at home; a desk, an extra screen, mouse and a wireless keyboard. Balancing comfortable enough to work, but not comfortable enough to sleep is a tricky equation. I also meal prep, which keeps me from grazing when I’m working from the house.

Jessica Goldberg, a white-skinned woman with light colored hair and dark lipstick.

Jessica Goldberg, J.D., Youth Access Counsel:

Every night I look at my meeting schedule and to-do list for the next day and think about I need from the next day. When I will set my alarm for, what is my shower/coffee/getting ready time, when do I have time for a walk. This helps me know where I can rest, focus on me and where I need to be focused on work. This probably would have been a good habit even when I used to go to an office everyday, but there is something about WFH in particular that has made me lean into routine processes.

Cammie Dodson, J.D., Professional Development Manager:

If rolling out of bed and checking email or getting a few things done on the couch while you drink your coffee works for you, go with it. When you’re ready for a break or change of scenery, do some tasks that make you feel like a human (get dressed, eat, go on a walk, etc.), and then find a new place to work for your next couple of hours, sit outside, or even just sit upright at table or desk in a different part of your house. Working in the same position all day, or in isolation, or without taking time to tend to basic needs and self-care is a recipe for burnout, boredom, and misery. Of course, creating ideal work from home conditions can be especially challenging for people with kids or other loved ones to take care of, folks with disabilities, mental health challenges, or other accessibility needs, and those without adequate financial resources or stable housing situations. At its best, though, working from home should be about removing barriers to living your best work life, and having the resources necessary to tailor it to your needs (with support from your employer, for example!). It offers real possibility to transform the way we operate and allows more folks to contribute their talents on their own terms.”

Myra Gissel Durán, Policy Advocate:

I have a morning routine where I make sure to get dressed, do my makeup, choose my jewelry, and drink my morning coffee to set the beginning of each of my days. I also set clear boundaries not to eat lunch in front of my computer, take a walk with my dog, and make a handy to-do list for things to check off.”

We hope the If/When/How community can learn from our experiences, and we’ll be back again this week with more from our staff on repro justice lawyering, advocacy, and self-care in the time of the novel coronavirus.

In the meantime, don’t forget to join our Facebook group for If/When/How community members for a place to network, ask questions, and commiserate!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of If/When/How. If you like what you read, consider dropping a few bucks in our tip jar or sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter.