10 IRL Work From Home Resolutions to Make You Feel Like You Accomplished Something (or Anything)
Yes, I used the term “IRL” in the title of this post. You know why? Because it’s a shortcut and saves me precious time.
Even a mere nanosecond saved feels, well, truthfully, like saving a nanosecond. But pile up the shortcuts and on a good day, the ghost of Ed McMahon may likely show up on my doorstep, cheerily handing me a check for ten extra minutes, clutching a dozen balloons and shadowed by the Prize Patrol and a hidden camera crew.
But should the Publisher’s Clearinghouse pyre ACTUALLY arrive and ring my doorbell on any given day, you know what they’d find?
Me, in my pajamas, no makeup, contributing to the ever-growing indent on my favorite couch cushion, hair back in a ponytail, downing a half bag of stale, reduced fat Wheat Thins, drowning in dog hair and toddler toys, glued to my laptop screen as if my life depended on it.
It’s not pretty, but my life does depend upon it. I work from home most of the time, as PowerToFly’s Director of Social Media & Content Marketing. And while my boss probably isn’t impressed by the (true) description above, let’s be honest: this is reality for many who work remotely. Or maybe just me. But I can’t be alone here, can I?
While advice like Take a walk around the block! is well-meaning, it’s not entirely helpful (for me). But you know what resolutions probably double as great advice? See below for some other resolutions I’m considering in 2017:
- Shower in the four minutes between the time the kids go off to school and the workday begins
Do not drink coffee. Do not send passive aggressive texts to your mother (still can’t be just me, right?). Do not pass go. Do the minimum. Lather, rinse, no time for repeat. Shaving your legs or whatever other fancy stuff you do in there will have to wait.
2. Put on pants
I don’t mean put on dress pants, I mean put on any pants. Even pj pants festooned with the faces of Muppet characters. That will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something. But pants aren’t really necessary when you’re only seen in meetings from the shoulders up, so this one will still be filed under maybe. I’m not even going to go near putting on a bra.
3. Keep a fashionable scarf handy
This is a trick I’ve learned from my resourceful (and amazing!) co-workers, but I frequently fail to institute. Make sure a pretty infinity scarf is nearby for last-minute video calls. It will keep the stains on well-worn Metallica t-shirts (circa 1991) hidden well, and maybe even look professional in the process! Also, see above re: not wearing a bra.
4. Keep make-up next to that scarf…
…and try not to paint your face like a clown’s when quickly throwing some on. Don’t let this recent “no make-up” trend fool you; though less is more, it’s also far better than none.
5. Battery life is everything
Do ALL the humanly possible things to ensure your laptop and mobile phone are rearing to go at a moment’s notice. If you’re not actually clutching both of these items at all times, you definitely win at life.
6. Eat things that don’t come out of a box
Time to give up on Wheat Thins, my friends. Making a sandwich or warming last night’s leftovers only takes slightly longer than grabbing something quick from the pantry. Maybe even start “packing” my lunch the night before the same way I would if I were office-bound on the daily?
7. Get up (get on up)
Whenever you can, whenever you remember, give the couch (or wherever you sit) a break. And if you don’t remember, that’s ok, too.
8. Press a button
Be it the dishwasher, washing machine or crock pot, aim to launch one of these once a day. I’m not saying fold the laundry or cook a gourmet meal. Just. Press. The. On. Button.
9. Pass the buck
Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I have more free time! In fact, it’s often quite the opposite. I’m not the only person in my family, I shouldn’t feel guilty for asking (or even expecting!) my husband to walk the dog.
Not just others, but myself too. While I may strive to wear pants daily, I may not actually get there. And that’s ok.
Can’t hang with the above? That’s ok, too. But maybe it means remote work is not right for you. (Also ok!) Check out some of the on-site jobs below currently available on the PowerToFly platform. Not a member? We’ll forgive you. Though only if you click on the link and join our community of 100,000 women strong.
If you’re convinced remote work is your calling in life, along with potentially living pantsless, check out our plethora of remote work openings on our platform here.
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
A five-step framework for addressing systematic racism at work
The world has changed in the past few weeks.
We're watching corporations and organizations across the world come out in support of Black lives in droves. Many of those organizations are doing so for the first time in their history.
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
Living in the midst of a pandemic has brought about a whole host of changes and challenges for workplaces and employees. One of the most notable? Virtual interviewing. With most on-site interviews on hold for the foreseeable future, it's important that you be prepared to make a great first impression—virtually.