Striking your work-laundry balance 

Laptop on bed with laundry basket beside it

It’s 2023. In an increasingly virtual world, we’ve all adjusted to (and probably even embraced) the new digital options available to us. From conferences to doctor’s visits, much can be accomplished without ever stepping foot outside your house. But while convenient, most of us would admit that virtual work can sometimes be hard to engage in. 

Focusing on a webinar, for example, can feel near-impossible when Slack messages are piling up, and documents are waiting for review — just a Chrome tab away. (Not to mention a household to-do list about a mile long.) 

But here’s a secret: resisting the urge to multitask isn’t the best choice for all of us. While our society is increasingly more accepting of “restless” behaviors that were once largely considered rude (just look at the rise of fidget toys), finding appropriate outlets that work for you can still be challenging.

At Alley, we want people to work where and how they work best (it’s part of why remote work is such an essential part of our culture). For some of us, that balance might look like folding laundry during webinars or other off-camera meetings. For others, it might look like using a standing desk. In either case, letting go of what “being focused” should or shouldn’t look like is a great first step. Give yourself permission to experiment and find what works for you. 

Socks on bed with laptop beside it

Experimenting with habits and methods isn’t just good for your work; it’s good for your brain! There are plenty of ways to consider changing up your brain-body connection while you work. 

  • Get cooking. Got a meeting where you don’t have to be “on?” Try using your headphones to listen in while you make lunch. 
  • Walk in place. Placing a treadmill under your desk (or simply walking in place) can break the redundancy of sitting all day. (It’s good for your health too!)
    • Pro tip: Watch out for models that automatically shut off after 15 minutes. (Flying into your desk doesn’t help with concentration!)
    • a screenshot of a Slack conversation. Kevin says "I bought a treadmill for under my desk so I could walk while working and on calls/webinars/etc where I'm mostly listening, but it keeps shutting off after 15 minutes, so that hasn't worked out so well so far." Renato replies "walking in a meeting… now that's new…" and Susan adds "hahaha - same thing happened to me kevin and I would fling forward into my desk each time it shut off!"
  • Get inspired. Starts your day with a work-related podcast or educational video. You might just garner the extra motivation you need to kick off your morning. 
  • Remove electronic distractions. During video meetings, disconnect your second monitor (if you have one) and quit other applications like Slack and email. Snoozing alerts can go a long way to giving yourself permission to focus. 
  • Take notes. Note-taking can help with processing and retaining information — even if you have no intention of referencing them later. 
  • Avoid Zoom-fatigue. There’s real value in camera-on interactions, especially when it comes to brainstorming and team-building. But sometimes meetings, like collaborative pair programming or copy-editing, for example, can be even more productive without video.  
  • Embrace mobility. Switching to your phone for one-on-one discussions or listen-only meetings can empower you to get some fresh air and rest your eyes. 
  • Embrace asynchronous work. Not all group work needs to be done synchronously. Embracing ongoing dialogue in Slack or collaborative documents can encourage more thoughtful contributions (and it helps accommodate everyone’s schedules). 

Looking for more ways to shake up your work life? Check out how thinking like a remote team can offer benefits well beyond working from home.