Strategies for keeping WFH from turning to WTH

Ellie Corbett Strategy

Just like you and everybody else, Magnani is figuring out our “new normal” as we play our part in social distancing while COVID-19 continues to spread. Our team members are at home with their husbands, wives, partners, children, dogs, cats, hamsters, etc. 

While we are so grateful that our jobs allow us this privilege, it can be challenging to maintain the same drive and creative energy we derive from being together in the office. 

So, how do we all create that perfect workspace, maximize productivity and stay mostly sane? A few of the Magnani folks were only too happy to share. Read on!

Justin, President

“So, like my dog, Milo, who comforts himself by dragging all the toys he can find onto his bed before he sleeps, I prefer to have my workspace strewn with my own toys: large monitors, musical equipment and a seemingly unending nest of USB cables.” So, it would seem, Justin, works like a dog.

Josiah, Client Billing Specialist

Josiah sets up his workstation in a part of the house “with a lot of natural light (from the sun, not the beer everyone drinks in college… although that might help!). Even on gloomy days, being next to a big window helps me feel not so cooped up. And, ya know, vitamin D is good.”

He also makes time every hour or two to go outside and walk around the block. Doing that or something similar can help avoid feeling stir-crazy. Plus, stepping away from whatever he’s working on helps him approach tasks with a new energy/focus/perspective.

Cara Murphy, Junior Art Director

Cara has shared two ways that she gives herself brain breaks and stays feeling human. She uses breaks as an opportunity to unsubscribe from promotional email lists she didn’t realize she was on until they sent her their COVID-19 statements. 

Cara also FaceTimes family members and friends who are at home, too, once or twice a day. Doing this helps her remember that she’s a person!

Jeff D, Senior Copywriter

Jeff D is a seasoned remote worker as he resides in Rhode Island, not Chicago, like the rest of us. Jeff requires only two work-from-home, highly relatable must-haves: a giant mug of homemade coffee and a 90-lb Great Pyrenees mix named Barnabas.

Hong, Front-end Developer

Hong is a simple guy when it comes to working from home. His two WFH must-haves are, of course, the internet and a computer. Okay, and maybe a hand-painted Gundam.

Christy, VP, Strategy and Account Planning

Christy’s two work-from-home staples are to have a fridge stocked with LaCroix and her dog’s pillow at her feet for extra pets in between meetings. Some might call it “Woof from home.”

Jeff T, Brand Optimization Strategy Director

Jeff T likes to maximize on comfort while he works from home. To do this, he nestles himself into a comfortable couch and turns on some bad TV for some background noise while he works.

Ellie, Marketing Communications Specialist

While working from home, Ellie likes to create a Zen workstation by lighting a candle for some fresh aromas. She also walks her dog Murphy every day at lunch to keep a clear mind and get some fresh air. No pet required for the lunchtime walk.

Michael, Experience Strategy Director

Michael works best at home by treating his morning like he would any other day: get dressed for work, open up the blinds and let the sunshine in, get the coffee on and check in on the world. The other must-have for him is something I believe most of the world is still looking for the secret to. Michael says, “I need to stay busy and quiet the carbs in the kitchen calling my name. ‘Michael, we’re in here, beautiful, delicious crackers just waiting…’” We’ll keep you posted on if he ever gets those crackers to pipe down.

Katsunori, Information Architect

If you’re looking for some lighthearted work-from-home strategies, Kat’s must-haves are for you. He has his Alexa play ‘80s music and must eat Ramen for lunch!

Angie, Creative Director

Angie has much experience working from home, so she’s decided to share both habits and must-haves. First, I’ll share her habits:

  • “I like to get up and get ready for the day as if I am going to leave for the office. My attire may be more casual, but I keep my routine the same.
  • Similarly, I think it is helpful to stop for lunch… when I am at home, I have a tendency to work through and get a little ‘hangry,’ so I have to set an alarm to remind me to take a minute to refuel.
  • Creating a comfortable working environment has been very important to me. Making sure I have what I need and feel good while I am at it helps me stay productive!”

Her list of must-haves grows and changes, so she’s shared her current favorites:

  • “New hobbies/crafts to keep my mind thinking and turning in interesting ways. With the unchanging scenery, it is nice to challenge my thinking even if it is just an attempt at crocheting a coaster I will never use. 🙂
  • Pets for my pets! I am spending quality time with my adorable and tiny cat Jack while also spending time with my new foster kitty, Tuxi! With more time at home, I can offer a space for an animal in need while feeling like I am helping a little, which has reduced my own stress level. 
  • Ice cream: I stocked up pints from my favorite ice cream shop! Having a little treat to look forward to is really pleasant, and helping out local businesses is also important to me.”

Liz Ebsen, Strategic Insights Director

Keeping work life and personal life separate while working from home is a huge challenge. Liz tackles this by having designated work zones and hours. Keeping strong communication when you’re apart from your team is so important, so she makes sure to check in with colleagues regularly, even just to ask how their work is going!

Tyler, Art Director

The social distancing essentials for Tyler are to “…dress his dogs in clothing, obviously.” And have handy a family-sized bag of pizza rolls. We’ve all agreed that Tyler’s dog may be the best-dressed member of the extended Magnani team.


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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