Apr. 3 2020
“I got my job at Bumble by making the first move,” says Special Projects Manager Kyra Seay, who landed her role by reaching out directly to an executive… and convincing them to create a gig just for her.
Now Kyra helps develop and execute bigger projects, zooming between the marketing and operational teams like… well, like a bumble bee on a mission. But though this University of Iowa graduate works with an entire hive of colleagues, right now—like most of us—she’s also got to work from home.
We asked the multitasking pro how to help us take charge of our own new workspace… otherwise known as the living room couch.
Make It Your Own
“Your home office should be exactly that: yours. If possible, it’s important to have your place of work separate from a partner’s workplace, or the place where you sleep, eat, and watch TV. Organize things the way you like them, and add elements that inspire calmness and focus. I recommend a plant, a framed family photo, or even a candle.”
Get Creative (and Realistic) with Limited Space
Live somewhere too small to completely revamp (like, um, anywhere in New York City)? That’s fine! Commit to prepping your personal space, no matter how small, for work every morning. Make your bed, turn on a lamp, and open your curtains to mark the start of a workday. Even sitting on the opposite side of the bed (or on the floor, with a pillow behind your back) can separate where you Netflix from where you network.
Insert Happiness Where Possible
“Make a comprehensive list of things that bring you joy,” says Kyra. “There’s no detail too small. Lean into all of your senses. Is it the smell of fresh laundry? Is it the feel of fuzzy socks? Find ways to integrate joy into your day and, when appropriate, your workplace.” One easy way: Blast your favorite music, especially since now that you’re WFH, Alex-From-Accounting can’t complain about hearing the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack again. (And for the record: Dude, there’s no such thing as too much Radiohead!)
Use Your Words
Need something from your co-workers? Say so. “Office culture doesn’t build the same way remotely,” says Kyra, noting that “overcommunication”—i.e. sending a clear email or Slack about exactly what you need—is okay, as long as it’s kind instead of controlling. “Be clear about expectations for project deliverables, and how and when teams should share updates,” she adds. “Trust that your team is doing the work, and don’t hesitate to reach out and learn what they might need. [And] I’ve found that updating my Slack status [with an away message] during the day is helpful—it helps create the office vibe of ‘seeing’ when others are working.” Think of it as the virtual equivalent of a giant pair of headphones… or, more pointedly, a closed office door with a “please come back later” sign.
“You should absolutely still be making the first move while working from home!” says Kyra, noting that asking to take the lead on a project, requesting detailed feedback from a boss or mentor, or even applying for a dream job are totally possible right now. Be direct, be kind, and be open to new ways of accomplishing your goals, like taking a coding class remotely instead of shadowing a colleague.
“Social distancing doesn’t have to equate to loneliness. Schedule a morning virtual coffee date with co-workers, or hop on to Bumble Bizz during your lunch hour to connect with other professionals on remote work tips and ideas. We need community and connection more than ever,” says Kyra, and you can empower yourself to make the first move to keep those relationships going, wherever you are.