Pro tips: Order some plastic greenery, indulge in some Oreos, and start practicing gratitude to help you not go entirely insane while working from home in San Francisco.
For those lucky enough to continue working as layoffs continue unraveling San Francisco, particularly in the technology space, many have still clung to their WFH routines that were born from the pandemic. (I include myself in this cohort; it takes an increasingly desirable lunch ticket or coffee indulgence to pry me out of my apartment during the work day.) As a result, San Franciscans have really honed in its WFH setups.
“remote work lacks company culture”
The office company culture: pic.twitter.com/Fou4tv4Fqn
— gaut (@0xgaut) April 22, 2023
But, alas, we’re all capable of hitting a productive rut or finding ourselves a bit unmoored inside a stagnant environment or when our routines grow monotonous.
The internet is alive with influencers outlining their WFH tips in nauseating detail. Instagram feeds, now punctuated with travels to faraway destinations that were postponed because of the pandemic, are still populated with cozy coffee setups. Amazon sellers are slashing prices on standing and traditional desks. And there is a big debate on whether putting pants on or staying in your sweats is the better option.
It’s true, no two work-from-home routines are alike. Something may work for you that doesn’t for me. But if you’re looking to up your sanity and productivity, we turned to some fellow San Franciscans (and one Oaklandian!) to see how they’ve either erected or spruced up their at-home working stations/routines.
Perhaps you can gather some tips on how to get the best out of your work-from-home setups in San Francisco.
Taking walks around during the day has kept me sane and helps me not burn out with work. I’ve been trying to keep up with how neighborhood cafés and restaurants are doing.”
— Keith K., Mission District
“My pet macaw, Scarlet, has never been happier than now since I got her four years ago. I moved her perch right next to the standing desk during the pandemic. It’s the same one I got on Amazon years ago. She’s basically with me from the time I get up at 8 a.m., including when I do some yoga and stretching. I’d recommend trying to wake up early to move your body; it’s an easy way to create positive change that’ll stick with you throughout the day.
After we get up and stretch, I sit at the kitchen table for breakfast… with the bird. I eat oatmeal, and I’ll usually cut up a Honeycrisp apple for Scarlet or put pitted cherries in a bowl. Work’s weird because I’m technically spending less time on it but getting just as much done. I’m in tech HR, so I’m fortunate enough to work from home without it really affecting me. Around 5:30 p.m., I wrap up and leave Scarlet inside while I go out for a walk around the Presidio. I’m slowly becoming what I feared: that crazy bird lady who lives alone. But at least I’m a productive one!”
— Amy Sangiacomo, Presidio
“I’ve been a full-time painter for the past 15 years. My daily routine and practices are basically the same. I have an art studio in the Mission, and I’ve tried to take a lot of the pieces I’m working on home to work on in the living room.
But, yeah, my days are identical: Wake up at 6 a.m., take my nine-year-old rescue Chihuahua, Grace, for a walk, make green juice, and eat a banana for breakfast, then work in small pockets throughout the day. Sometimes I stop at noon, sometimes I stop at midnight. It’s easier for me to focus without all the traffic and outside noise. Try to use this time to find some quiet in your life, I’d say.”
— Elizabeth Wentworth, Mission District
“My morning routine and work-from-home setup are so, so basic and unexciting. I wake up like 10 minutes before I have to jump onto my customer support job. I have a Keurig, so I brew a cup of coffee wearing my sweatpants. I grab two Odwalla bars and eat those with my coffee. I’ve gone down so many YouTube rabbit holes, it’s getting hard for me to concentrate. Also, because I work on an e-commerce support team, I get a lot of anxieties thrown my way as package theft still remains very much a thing.
In the evening after work, I’m trying to order dinner from nearby restaurants that are still open and shovel it in my mouth while watching reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That’s my work week now. Maybe I’ll try to start walking three miles a day again next week.”
— Mark G., SoMa
A good idea is to give just as much care to your work-from-home setup as your bedroom. You spend a lot of time in each.”
— A., Dogpatch
“I live in a two-bedroom apartment, and I kind of restructured my guest bedroom into an office back in 2020. That room doesn’t get great natural sunlight, so I bought a few fake plants and random office supplies. I found a desk on Amazon that I loved and ordered while I was in line because I hated all the ones they had left, which weren’t many.
I wake up around 6:30 a.m., go for a run, and then come back and get ready for the day like I used to. I’m one of those people who has the option to adopt a hybrid work style. So at least once a week, I put my backpack on with my usual working stuff inside, and bike to our office in SoMa. Everything in balance… including how often you choose to let your house double as your work office.”
— Jennifer Lee, Nob Hill
“As a freelancer, I’m always working from home. Primarily, I sit at my dining table, which is quite special as it’s a large circular slab of red dragon gem — which, supposedly, is a chi stone used as a talisman for will, helping eliminate fear and doubt. My process tends to begin with checking emails. I live by my calendar and to-do list. I use the app TeuxDeux. I then divvy up my time across researching, writing, planning photoshoots, social strategy, organizing events, and phone calls and meetings.
I always make sure to get in some movement as well via hikes with my dog or yoga. That’s really important to me and a tip I’d give to others: Try to stay moving.”
— Jen Woo, Oakland