Work-From-Home Strategies for the Quarantined

Posted March 24, 2020 by Alyssa Stahr

The Brightly Creative team is a lucky bunch. We already work from home, so we’re fortunate to be somewhat used to the new reality of quarantines being put in place across the nation. Telecommuting certainly has its advantages, and it also comes with a certain amount of freedoms. 

A quarantine, however, takes working from home to an all new level and brings on a new set of challenges, cabin fevers (not the COVID-19 type, hopefully) and restrictions from outdoors and businesses like we’ve never seen in our lifetimes. We’re here to share our expert tips on how to not only survive but thrive during the impending weeks — or months — working from the comfort of our own homes. 

I have been fortunate enough to be a work-from-home employee on and off since 2014. It was, and still is, a career must for me. I feel more productive without stifling office walls, idle chit chat and the tick tock of the proverbial punching of a time clock.

I love my work, and sometimes that means switching things up and writing a long-form piece on a quiet Saturday morning from the comfort of my neighborhood Starbucks. But wait … Starbucks is closed! The horror! I pride myself on knowing where the best WiFi and plug in areas in my neighborhood are. I am not “just” a work-from-home employee. I’m a true digital nomad who has been known to even send an email from a concert. (It was super important and only took a second, I swear.) 

So, my biggest adjustment to Chicago’s quarantine has not been being able to simply be amongst the general public. Even though loud talkers and people who don’t use headphones for private conversations or videos are two of my biggest public pet peeves, it’s a part of insertion in a community of like-minded laptop-owning telecommuters. My biggest tip? Use technology to your advantage. FaceTime your friends on a daily basis. Video conference calls as much as possible. Find a human connection. With six feet of physical distance now mandatory for we don’t know how long, it’s as imperative as the sun for this extrovert.

Alison Wuebbels says that one of the biggest perks of working from home is not having to get dressed in business attire everyday. “However, I still believe you should ‘dress for success’ to be the most productive with your day. Going on 3.5 years of working from home, I find it is important to shed off your pajamas in the morning and put on some day clothes to get yourself in the right headspace. I will admit my daily attire consists of yoga pants so I can hit up the gym after work, but this great 5-minute read from someone who dressed up to work from home for a week shows the positive effects dressing up does for your productivity.”

Keith Seiz believes that creating a distinct line between when you’re working and when you’re not working is key to working from home. “I’ve done two stints of working from home. The first I failed miserably at balance because my computer was always on and there. For my second stint, I’ve been cognizant and successful at keeping the computer shut down unless I’m working. This goes for the phone too. When your day is done, shut it down and don’t open it until you’re ready to get started the next day.”

Jonathan Galbreath says the key to working from home productively is inner-ear buds! “I’m a bit of an audiophile. Describing the various ways I listen to music would be both astonishing and downright confounding. My favorite way to listen to music is through headphones. Last time I counted I was up to at least a dozen sets: Over-ear, on-ear, planar magnetic, open- and closed-back, earbuds, etc. My wife homeschooled our boys during 2018 while we travelled and I worked. So, I’m a bit used to dealing with the racket while trying to concentrate. The only thing that can combat the sounds of their combat is inner-ear buds. Your Apple Airpods are not going to cut it. You need something that will completely close off your ear canal from any external sound.

Here are my favorite pairs that are cheaper than Apple Airpods:


Grado Labs iGe3 


Klipsch T5 True Wireless

Folks who listen to Apple Airpods, and the like, on airplanes are destroying their hearing. The extra 20 to 30% volume increase due to ambient aircraft sound is a very big deal. Buying a pair of inner-ear buds, with a good seal, will cut out ambient airplane noise and allow you to listen to music at a volume even below your normal listening level. Spend $100 bucks now in lieu of several thousand dollars later for hearing aids.”

Jasmyne Harris is staying sane during the quarantine with some good-for-the-soul tips:

  • dance parties! Nothing beats a good Spice Girls jam session
  • getting the mail for fresh air
  • FaceTime a friend and/or family to keep you company
  • happy hours after work. cheapest bar I ever went to 🙂
  • exercise!! I recommend the Fit On App
  • of course binge on Netflix and Hulu!
  • play games: puzzles, board games, card games
  • SPRING CLEANING! get rid of those pants you can’t squeeze into anymore!
  • reflect on what you’re thankful for during this “down time”
  • aimlessly walk to the fridge 17 times a day and try not to eat all the good snacks haha

No matter how you’re getting through the quarantine, we hope you’re staying sane, healthy and productive, from our remote crew to yours.


Let us know your pursuits. We’ll find the best way to get you there.