13 People Share the WFH Habits They’re Bringing Back to the Office
Whether you love working from home or can’t wait to get back to the social, collaborative vibe of an actual office, odds are you’ve developed some WFH habits these past 18+ months. As more office spaces begin to open, it’s interesting to see which of those habits will fall by the wayside and which will stick. To gain some insight, I surveyed more than a dozen people about the organization hacks and habits they plan on keeping. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Plan out your week every Sunday.
“I do a weekly planning session with myself every Sunday. I review my schedule for each day, make adjustments where needed, and set my top three priorities personally and professionally. I also roughly plan out meals and my gym/social schedule during this time. Has been a game changer!” —Elizabeth Keppel, Baltimore, Maryland
2. Keep my essentials in a carryall zip pouch.
“I now carry all of my essentials (wallet, keys, work ID, mask, headphones) in a small zip pouch so I can easily switch it from bag to bag. I find that now I work partially from the office and partially from home. I often forget things when I switch from purse to work bag to gym bag. Keeping this contained has saved me from silent workouts and scrambling to find a mask!” —Miranda Bergeron, Boston, Massachusetts
3. Use time blocking.
“The lack of structure at home made me so much less focused, so I started putting my tasks on the calendar with built in breaks in between so I wasn’t just staring at my to do list like, ‘Where do I start with this?’ And that way I could physically see if I had enough time to complete all my tasks in a day or if I would need to push things out.” —Lizzi Price, Seattle Washington
4. Eliminate meetings on Mondays and Fridays.
“I’ve been fully remote due to an out of state move since early pandemic. I’m actually moving back to my job’s location next month so I am truly switching from fully WFH to flex. Since the pandemic started, I have functionally eliminated meetings on Mondays and Fridays with some exceptions. This allows me to get so much more done before and after a weekend. I start and end the week smoother and with less anxiety. It definitely causes meetings to pile up mid-week but having two days blocked off allows me to batch my work better and feel more productive.” —Alexa Geossenbach, Fishersville, Virginia
5. Write down the next day’s to-do list.
“Writing down my to-do list at the end of the work day so I can fully disengage from work and not have to restart in the morning. I already know what needs to be done right when I log on, so I can jump right in. I have also gotten in the better habit of appropriately delegating tasks to other team members!” —Hannah James, Fargo, North Dakota
6. Wake up at the same time every morning.
“Sounds kind of silly/obvious, but during the pandemic I made waking up at the same time each morning a priority (it felt too much like giving up to just sleep in every day even though it was suddenly possible!). —Anne Branham, Vacaville, California
7. Set intentions every morning.
“I started setting ‘intentions’ instead of writing a to-do list in the morning. Then at the end of the day I would write out a list of the things I got done/spent time on. It really helped with managing stress, the feeling that I didn’t do anything, and with differentiating the days.” —Hailey Lape, Washington, D.C.
8. Add personal appointments to your work calendar.
“Adding my personal appointments and workouts to my work calendar has allowed me to block out space in my day to take care of myself and my home outside of the weekend. Remote work has made the line between work/home time more blurred and by setting these times in my calendar, I feel compelled to take the time and my co-workers are aware of my availability for meetings and work sessions.” —Melissa Foran, Los Angeles, California
9. Go paperless.
“I’ve transitioned to working completely paperless since working from home, which I never thought would be possible. At the office I would have sticky notes everywhere and fill notebook after notebook and I thought I would never be able to break the habit. There’s just something about writing on paper that is different than a digital list or notepad. The amount of paper I was using really bothered me as I try to be environmentally conscious and ensure everything I use is reusable in everything else in my life, so why not at work? When we worked from home during Covid I was working on my laptop on the couch due to lack of space so I really had no choice but to adapt as I no longer had the setup to write. Will definitely be continuing my paperless habit and I feel so great not shredding massive notebooks every week or two! Every little bit helps.” —Olivia Michaud, Toronto, Ontario
10. Set an alarm to take a walk.
“I set an alarm or timer to get up and take a walk around the block every hour or two. It helps me stay focused, and sometimes if I’m stuck on an issue at work, the walk helps me figure out a solution. I don’t take my phone, so it’s a nice time to disconnect.” —Claire Van de Castle, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
“I got used to eating throughout the day when at home — the concept of a ‘lunch hour’ was out the window so I ended up eating smaller meals more frequently. Now that I’m back in the office, I have first breakfast, pre-lunch second breakfast, lunch, and second lunch. It reminds me to break up the day (since I’m not pausing to switch laundry or something) and helps stave off that mid-afternoon crash… sort of!” —Jenn Bollenbacher, Portland, Oregon
12. Use the 45-second rule.
“I was listening to a podcast and the guest said…’if it takes less than 45 seconds, just do it now.’ A quick response email. Putting your old coffee mug in the dishwasher. Logging something into a spreadsheet. Following up on an appt. Most of these things take less than a minute to do, but when you stack them all up at the end of the day, they are overwhelming and often get put off to do another time (and then wash/rinse/repeat). It seems so simple but I even apply this at home by putting shoes where they belong or putting all my sandwich stuff away before I eat rather than let it sit on the counter for a while. As a TOTAL procrastinator, this trick has helped me organize my time and my life more than I ever thought it would. Those eleven words ring through my ears multiple times a day!” —Natalia Ramirez, Los Angeles, California
13. Get outside at least once a day.
“I block my lunch hour off as tentative on my calendar but will try to fit it in any time I can on my calendar and mark it as busy — I have to do that as a leader or else it will get booked. Even five minutes makes a world of difference with my mood and clearing my mind. Yes, I live in San Diego, so I know it’s easy for me to do this pretty much any time of the year. But even on the rare rainy day I treasure that time. I will 100 percent be keeping this up when/if I return to the office.” —Amy Betterton, San Diego, California