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11 tips on working from home: Find your balance in our new normal

February 08, 2022

The past few years with the Covid-19 pandemic have brought a lot of changes to our lives, both personally and professionally. More companies are allowing their employees to work from home, or some form of hybrid work with time spent both at home and in the office. With the rise of remote work in some fashion, a lot of us are rethinking our workspaces and habits. The lines between work and home can be blurred and lead to some frustration as we all adapt to our new normal.

The rise of the Omicron variant has delayed the return to work for some and has some companies rethinking the future of what the office and work environment looks like.

There is data to back up that remote/hybrid work is here to stay as well. According to Gallup, remote working has remained steady among white-collar workers in recent months. Their study found that “two-thirds of employees in white-collar jobs (67%) reported working from home either exclusively (41%) or some of the time (26%) in September”

With all that said, it is important to find what works well for you as we navigate this new normal in our work and home lives. We asked some of our Nationwide Financial Advisor Advocate blog contributors to give us some of their tips on what works well for them when it comes to working from home or a hybrid work environment.

We hope you can take some of these tips and incorporate them into your own daily routine to help yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically as we all navigate our new normal.

Work on Staying Connected

It can be hard to stay connected with people when working from home.  This is a great time to offer yourself as a mentor. The interaction will help you feel connected while providing wonderful value to someone wanting to expand their knowledge.

– Shawn Britt, Technical Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

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Take breaks during the work day

It’s just me and my husband in the house (kids long gone), so WFH can be isolating. Try to avoid working while you eat lunch – but instead – go on a walk and take a sandwich with you. So many people are walking dogs in the middle of the day now – which gives you a chance to get some fresh air, exercise, and see or chat with people. You will be refreshed, feel healthier, and be ready to work when you return home.

– Shawn Britt, Technical Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Minimize distractions while working from home

When determining where to set-up your home office, choose a room with a door that latches (and preferably locks).  The ability to shut out any two or four legged family and limit distractions is critical.

– George Schein, Technical Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

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If you have children at home, or spouses working from home (or partially retired as I do) – those family members may interrupt your working momentum throughout the day.  Put your company badge on – and tell family members that when you are wearing your badge, you are in the middle of important work,  and they may only approach you if the need is urgent. (Yes, I have had to use this with my husband – and it works!)

– Shawn Britt, Technical Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Dress for success

Even if you don’t think you will have any web-based video meetings on a particular day, get dressed for work anyway. Not only does it help establish a “work” frame of mind, you will also already be prepared if someone wants to set up a video call or conference at the last minute. I have a rotating stack of Nationwide Polo’s with the Nationwide Eagle at the left breast of the shirt that I wear daily. When I have a call that requires me to be on camera, the Nationwide Logo is always visible.

– George Schein, Technical Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Break the paper habit

In the office I had many reference materials in hard copy form that I found I didn’t really need when I started working from home.  I don’t miss all the paper files I used to access when I was in the office and not having all that paper around has made my workspace feel calmer and more productive.

– Tom Duncan, Senior Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

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Change up your environment

Change working location in house or apartment intra-day to inspire, change perspective. This works well on those days where I have far more calls than blocked productivity time and I don’t necessarily need to be on camera. Move from your normal workplace to the kitchen table, front porch, bonus room, etc.  I’ve even packed lunch a couple times and sat in the shade on a park bench with my laptop to watch NF all associate livestreams broadcasts.

– Carlo Cordasco, Senior National Director of Insights and Solutions Field Team, Nationwide Retirement Institute

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Don’t sit in the chair all day long

We’ve all heard the advice to get up and move around during the day, but I’ve found it easier to remember to do that at home versus being in the office because I’ll create a short list of small things I’d like to do that day as a reason to get out of the chair.  Creating that list of three or four things that I can do in five or ten minutes serves as my reminder to stand up and move around during the day.

– Tom Duncan, Senior Director, Advanced Consulting Group, Nationwide Retirement Institute

A Sit-Stand Desk has been essential for me as most of our meetings have become virtual.  We no longer get the opportunity to stretch our legs in the walks between meetings and sitting in one spot all day can really take a toll physically and mentally.  Having the ability to change it up between sitting and standing is a big help.

– JJ Perez, President, Nationwide Financial Corporate Solutions

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Take a couple 10-15 minute walk breaks over the course of the day around the house or outside if weather permits. Get some vitamin D!

– Carlo Cordasco, Senior National Director of Insights and Solutions Field Team, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Make your virtual meetings look more professional

Project a top notch digital presence with the right equipment; camera, microphone, lighting. Frame yourself properly on camera and choose an appropriate background.

– Carlo Cordasco, Senior National Director of Insights and Solutions Field Team, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Protect your time

Be deliberate with your calendar. Coordinate booking time for both focusing on projects and clustering meetings and calls to minimize disruptions and optimize outcomes. Use 15, 25, and 45 minute meeting durations instead of defaulting to 30 and 60 minute meetings. Remember, not all calls need to be on video.

– Carlo Cordasco, Senior National Director of Insights and Solutions Field Team, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Allow for life to happen during Zoom or Teams meetings

Recognize everyone’s humanness. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Doorbells, dogs barking, kids interrupting. Acknowledge the distraction, have a laugh where appropriate then move on and let it go.

– Carlo Cordasco, Senior National Director of Insights and Solutions Field Team, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Find your daily routine

It’s really about starting your day with a routine that energizes you.  It’s important to start my day with the same routine  – whether that’s from home or the office, the consistency helps. If working from home, I’m pretty intentional about reading inspirational quotes every morning. It gets my mind anchored in a place of positivity. If I don’t have time to go outside every morning, I always open my window to let some fresh, air in my office – that is, as long as it’s not 32 degrees or colder. And, it’s important to end your day with something that invigorates you – mentally and physically.  A 30-minute run, bike ride, yoga or meditation can do wonders to re-energize you at the end of the day.  

– Kristi Rodriguez, SVP, Nationwide Retirement Institute

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