Working from Home
Post-college life and entering the workforce can be a little stressful, especially when working from home. Most companies have fully transitioned from working in the office every day to fully working from home or at least some version of hybrid working. While there are many different struggles with transitioning to working remotely, there are similar struggles with transitioning from a college lifestyle to a workforce lifestyle. Personally, when I started working professionally after college I was still living at home and simultaneously working from home. This was quite a hard transition as I’m sure you can imagine. It takes extra effort not to revert to childhood behavior while living at home in your twenties.
One thing that helped me from not moving backwards was personalizing my workspace. Wherever you’re working, it’s important to be in a comfortable space, especially when working from home. If possible, having your workspace in a separate area other than your bedroom can make all the difference. At my parent’s home I decided to take over my brother’s room, who had already moved out. Once I found the space that I wanted to work in, I needed to start making it my own. I got a new desk chair, set up some new desk lamps, ordered a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and most importantly some writing materials. Although my entire job has been virtual, I’ve found it infinitely beneficial to have notepads, physical schedules, Post-It® notes and more.
Especially when transitioning into a new job, where there are multiple different things to learn (your specific job role, the people on your team, the hierarchy of your company, the ins, and outs of everyday tasks, etc.), having a notepad handy to take quick notes can be helpful. Not only is having a notepad logistically helpful, but it creates a professional workspace, especially when you have a personalized notepad. I’m now living on my own, and I still carry these ideals with my workspace. Currently, I have a personalized notepad, Post-It notes, and a personalized planner all on my desk ready for me to use whenever I need them.
When working from home it’s important to have a separation between your personal life and your professional life. I’ve found that having a physical planner that I need to write things down in for my professional life has made the separation much easier. For my personal life, I keep all my plans on my phone in the calendar app, but for work I handwrite all my meetings, tasks, etc. Additionally, any encouragement to get off my phone during the workday is more than welcomed. We’ve all had slow days at work where we’re just scrolling through our phone on Instagram, then TikTok, then back to Instagram. Having just the smallest differences in your routine of physically writing down your schedule, can force you off your phone without even realizing it. At the beginning of every week, I sit down with my outlook calendar open on my computer and start writing down my meetings in my weekly planner. It may be a bit redundant to have my schedule on my computer and on a piece of paper, but trust me, it helps. Once I’ve written down my schedule, I tape the schedule right above my computer. It sounds silly, but this has been incredibly helpful. Sometimes your screens are full of different work and emails, and you can’t figure out where your schedule is, so it makes it quite convenient when it’s just sitting right above your screen. Quick and accessible is the best way to be.
A struggle that comes with working from home that isn’t talked about enough is food. When you’re working from home, people really take advantage of the fact that you’re always available. It seems as if the lunch break doesn’t really exist anymore and you just need to find little pockets in your day to get that meal in, or even worse, just skip lunch all together. I’ve found that using a meal planner can ease the tension that this problem can bring. Sitting down Sunday night and either prepping your meals for the week, or even just writing down what you would like to eat throughout the week is a great step to battle the meal stress. In college, we never had to worry about this. Either there was always a dining hall to run over to for a quick bite or you could control your schedule so that you would have enough time to make and eat your lunch. Working remotely has many benefits, but one of the downsides is that you don’t necessarily get to control your schedule. When figuring out what meals you’d like to eat, it can be very helpful to write them down so that you’re keeping track of your week. Similar to writing down your schedule for the whole week on a piece of paper, this can be just as helpful. The Stationery Studio’s meal planner is a great resource for this activity. Not only is it fun to prep your meals for the week, but it will add convenience to your at home work week. No more worrying about how much time you have in between meetings to cook your meals, now they will be prepped and ready for you to just grab and go back to your desk. Below are two meal prep recipes that I’ve been loving.
Strawberry Spinach Quinoa Salad
- 4, 1-pint jars
- 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
- 6 cups spinach
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- ½ cup feta cheese (crumbled)
- ¼ cup red onion (diced)
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Fresh ground pepper
- Cook quinoa according to the package and set aside to cool.
- While the quinoa is cooking, pre-heat the oven at 425 degrees F. In a small baking dish combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place the chicken breasts in the dish, turning to coat in olive oil/balsamic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for 10-15 more minutes or until chicken is 165-degrees (I really do use a meat thermometer). Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Assemble jar salads by dividing ingredients between four jars in the following order: vinaigrette, chicken, quinoa, berries, feta, red onion, and spinach.
- Storage: Seal and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To serve: Shake out jar contents into a large bowl. Mix to combine all ingredients with the vinaigrette and enjoy!
Mediterranean Hummus Bowls
- ½ lb. ground beef
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup hummus
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- ½ English cucumber
- ¼ red onion
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- 2 oz. crumbled feta
- Handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Add the ground beef to a skillet, along with the oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Cook and stir the beef over medium heat until fully browned and evenly combined with the spices.
- To build the bowl – add 1 cup rice and ¼ cup hummus to each bowl. Divide the remaining ingredients among the four bowls, or in any amount that your desire. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
Have fun getting out there and organizing your week! J