Work From Home is a new vertical dedicated to life and culture in the strange and unprecedented situation of self-quarantine that many of us are dealing with right now. From what to watch to how to get a fit off and how to not think about anything, this is our guide to the great indoors. For updates on the spread of Covid-19 and how to keep yourself safe and informed, consult WHO and the CDC.
Working from home is a fantasy. Wave goodbye to sitting at an ergonomically-dubious desk all day and instead sprawl out on your Spanish leather chaise lounge, replying to Slack alerts at leisure while being fed grapes by domesticated bonobos. In this blissful scene, there is no hubbub of coffee machine small talk or memos about KPIs and OKRs, merely the genteel strains of Bach, Wagner, and Chopin. Heaven exists, and it’s in my front room!
But that’s all that is — a fantasy. Sure, working from home does have its perks (I haven’t combed my hair in, like, a week), but it can just as easily descend into a state of squalor, where nothing gets done. Being stuck in the same place all day and night sometimes chafes mentally, especially when most places you’d normally go to blow off steam — the gym, the bar, erm, another bar — are probably closed at the moment.
Over the past week, Highsnobiety’s Berlin staff has gone into hibernation mode, as per government advice. It’s still business as usual, only now, people write about Kanye West while still in their pajamas. Find some of our top tips on how to stay productive, and — more importantly — sane, below.
Move! Move! Move!
Get your steps in! I can’t stress how important it is to go outside. Get some fresh air and move beyond the confines of your apartment. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice social distancing, but unless your city is on complete lockdown, use your lunch break to take a walk.
Listen to a podcast or some music to clear your mind and use the hour to stay active. Home workouts are good, but you need to remember that you’re losing out on your daily commute and regular movement. Be sure to make up for that in addition to crushing the Peleton bike.
– Fabian Gorsler, Sportswear Editor
Stay true to the vision
YouTube (and any other visual distractions) should be avoided entirely during work hours. I’ve tried firing up the Chromecast as a kind of background muzak in the past, only to wind up in an odd, half-baked state of consciousness where part of the brain is overrun by EDM-soundtracked sports compilations. Temptations like these are all too easy when home officing, but you will end up achieving nothing aside from a migraine. Draw up your list of tasks for the day and stay focused.
– Graeme Campbell, Style Editor
Big housework energy
At the risk of sounding like a properly functioning adult, housework is one of the things really helping me stay sane during this whole quarantine thing. If your indoors are spotlessly clean, the act of being confined to them becomes a pleasure. Wiping down surfaces, vacuuming two times a day, getting through all the laundry you’ve been putting off, rearranging literally every cupboard, reorganizing racks of clothes and shelves of shoes; at the end of this whole shebang, keeping OCD levels of tidy is going to have become a habit. Issa win-win. Told you: properly functioning adult.
– Naina Kamath, Digital Distribution Manager
Hit the books
You should cut out at least 10-15 minutes each day to meditate and help relieve stress. Burn some incense (or a candle) and give your mind a break. If you’re a novice, there are a plethora of guided meditation apps out there to help you out. Or, you can let Lizzo guide you with her own meditation session.
Apart from meditating, another way to stay sane during these times is reading. In general, I tend to struggle with allocating spare time to pick up a book. But the current self-isolation has proved to be a perfect motivation. Whether it’s picking up that book you’ve been meaning to finish or revisiting one of your favorite ones, reading will help you escape from the four walls you’re confined to.
– Feleg Tesema, Staff Writer
The Fantastical Flâneur
Taking a break to get some fresh air is good advice for any day, but it is particularly important when working from home. I adhere to a two-walks-per-day system; a quick strut around the neighborhood after the first coffee of the morning and another, more leisurely stroll in the afternoon.
On rainy days, however, it pays to have a home filled with lush aesthetic distractions. A good 10-minute stare into an antique tapestry clears the mind and resets your creative impulse like an intravenous triple shot of espresso.
– Jake Boyer, Features Editor
Protect the face at all times
There’s never been a better time to do your full 10-step skincare routine than now. Aside from the fact that you’ll come out of quarantine looking better than ever, it’s a good opportunity to take a moment for yourself and practice some mindfulness. Even if you’re not into the extra routines like I am, something as simple as taking a little longer to wash your face can be relaxing — you may as well give yourself a facial massage while you’re at it. Whip out those sheet masks and eye patches you’ve been saving for a special occasion. And if you’re sitting by a sunny window or on your balcony, don’t forget your sunscreen!
– Miranda Urwin, Social Media Editor
Quality time with your new co-workers
For those of us who have pets, it’s clear that the results of social distancing seem to be an absolute delight for our four-legged pals. After the WHO reported there was no evidence to suggest that cats or dogs could be infected with the virus, pet owners breathed a sigh of relief — and, while the animals themselves can’t revel in their lucky escape, they certainly are clocking all the extra attention. On day three of working from home, my dog has been on two pre-noon walks, while my cat is snoring on my wrist as I type. Silver linings.
– Johanna Kamradt, Copy Chief
Make an effort, FFS
For me, the biggest no-no is working from home in PJs, especially when you don’t know how long you’re going to be stuck there for. I’m not saying you should lace up your chucks every morning, but wearing something more special than pajamas — perhaps jeans, or the sweatshirt you recently bought and haven’t had a chance to wear yet — is a good start. It might not seem like a big deal, but making an effort is guaranteed to make you feel fresher and more positive about the day ahead.
– Tetiana Khvorostiana, Image Curator
Yogata be kidding me
I’ve called on Adriene Mishler’s YouTube classes, Yoga With Adriene, numerous times to pull me through life’s rough patches and I’ll be doing the same in self-isolation. She’s super chill, grounded, and light-hearted, which is a mood we all need more of at the moment.
Her online classes are free and I’ve found them essential for clearing and re-setting my mind. They are accessible to all levels (from working with a disability to those able to fold limbs into wild knots with ease) and they really help with flexibility, balance, and strengthening.
Adriene also has a number of 30-day challenges, which is what I’ll be revisiting now. The challenges are a great way to keep track of the days and will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something without leaving the house. Plus, after 30 days, you can definitely see the results.
– Heather Snowden, Senior News Editor
The power of conversation (your ex doesn’t count)
Check-in with your neighbors. Elderly, chronically ill, asthmatic, and immunocompromised people are particularly at risk right now. Thankfully, most towns and cities are setting up programs where you can help out by delivering groceries, running errands, or lending a friendly ear.
Maintaining social relationships is vital, and if you can manage to avoid talking about the pandemic for at least some of your social interactions, you’ll no doubt feel better for it.
You can visit over 500 museums from the comfort of your desk (bed) thanks to Google Arts and Culture. I’d also recommend reading fiction, limiting your Twitter intake, staying hydrated, and NOT TEXTING YOUR EX.”
– Isabelle Hore-Thorburn, Staff Writer
Huge incense mood
Working in an office can be both physically and mentally demanding. As we spend years of our lives sat at a desk, we tend to glaze over the many coping mechanisms we put in place to get us through the day. Whether it’s the deliberately-slow walk to the kitchen, or the tendency to intermittently flick through Instagram, these “time-killing activities” don’t hit the same when doing home office.
What you used to do to escape the drudgery of water cooler talk is now gone, leaving you with yourself, and the perils of cabin fever. To avoid this getting you down, I suggest converting your home into a sort-of resort for the mind… clutter-free, and filled to the brim with incense. Call me biased, but burning incense is one of the quickest ways to keep calm, and ward off the mire of slub mode. All the better if it’s burning from within chambers like this one from NEIGHBORHOOD.
– Adam Barnard, Editor