Only 3-5% of work was done remote prior to March 2020. Now, the majority of us are working from new environments, and likely will be for a long time. Studies even show that 75% of workers in Germany hope to continue working from home after the Pandemic. Our team at Savvy Millennial has been all-remote since day one (because of my travel addiction) but even we have had to up the empathy the last few months. Here are some products that have brought us joy.
Full disclosure: I think these product links are connected to my Amazon Affiliate account, but TBH I have never made any money using it, nor do I know why the products appear tiny. Therefore, I guess this blog may help offset the money lost as a public speaker this year ;).
The first and perhaps most classic, is the foam roller. It’s a trusty standby, and while I judged an ex years ago for bringing one to Italy (hello cobbble stone streets are not meant for overstuffed roller bags) I understand him on a different level in my 30’s. Though, they’re not all created equal. I went the cheap route, opting for the Amazon Basics model initially, but quickly regretted it when I realized Minneapolis based OPTP make the best ones for a little bit more. The green one below is the version I have, and they also offer a softer version some may prefer. This is essential given the hours we spend hunched over our devices.
Now that you’re relaxed, you can finally take all those zoom calls. But it’s hard to do that on your computer without showing everyone the inside of your nose, or annoying everyone as you type. You could buy a nice webcam – great splurge for the team – or you can wait until the inflation on those babies settles down and give your team a mini tripod. I’ve been using a various of the Manfrotto below for years. You don’t need anything fancy. This solution gives people the chance to set the phone up as their communication portal, leaving their hands and laptop for productivity.
I realize this outs me as an attendee of Burning Man, but hold that eye roll for a second and hear me out: Fairy Lights. Not only are they simply magical and the closest thing the West Coast has to actual fireflies, they’re easy to get creative with. I’ve used them to light FaceTime video calls, integrated them into my dining experience (obviously I live alone,) and wear them on night walks (safety first!) Sending lights to the team allows them to get creative with their workspace and/or families, and share the results! People’s Choice winner gets a free lunch.
Gone are the days of air travel and crisp linens at a beachside motel, and restored are the road trips and RV adventures of simpler times. I’ve personally thrust my long-haul travel frustration into an obsession with getting outdoors. This multi-tool (which thank god is for all genders if upgraded) was a new buy for my trip to Mt. Lassen National Park, and I think it’ll come in handy at home and in the woods.
Window Herb Garden
Experts agree that a cultural side-effect of coronavirus is a craving for homemade sourdough bread infused with herbs from your victory garden. Millennials around the country are growing greens they don’t smoke for the first time, and for good reason. Growing your own food reduces trips to the grocery store, puts oxygen in the air, and gives you something to obsess over that isn’t doomscrolling. This starter kit is nice and doesn’t take up a lot of counter space.
Silly (Easy) Crafts
What analog activity have you done recently (besides baking sourdough) that brought you joy? What did we do a lot of as a kid? It’s a great time to get crafty! Full disclosure, my accountability partner describes my behavior during the first 100 days of the pandemic as “early-retirementish.” I filled what used to be travel and social time with funky fitness classes and terrible crafts. And I loved it. Still do. Two affordable crafts that anyone can do, but provide engaging results, are the Mini Bob Ross Paint-By-Numbers, and this Paper Marbling kit. Both are soothing activities that produce results one can share with the group or bury forever in the bin. Either way, low barrier to entry crafts are a delightful to get the team offline. They make the next zoom chat more interesting too.
Some of us are trapped with our beautiful new colleagues (aka family) and others (like me) are strikingly alone. Succulents are hard to kill, but bring the same joy as a tougher-to-grow house plant. And they can be safely shipped – further proof of how durable they are. And hey, looking at something green counts as eating greens, right? Here’s a nice looking starter bunch to combat the loneliness.
It isn’t just tabs you need to have a second screen for, it’s analog stuff, too! Using a cheap easel takes the strain off your neck when reading notes, and makes script prompts a breeze. I hand’t picked on up before the pandemic, but now it’ll be on my permanent pack list for home and travel gear. The Bob Ross kit also came with a baby easel that I love more than I should.
Unbreakable French Press
Coffee is a critical ritual in my day, and I’m going to give it to you straight. I was quarantined back in December 2019 over the holidays (this isn’t my first rodeo) and on Christmas eve, I shattered my glass French Press. It may as well have been my heart. And while making pour-over coffee through a paper towel on Christmas day alone may have been a personal low, it lead me to this wonderful, new, and seemingly unbreakable upgrade. Stop the K-Cup mania and get back to the basics with this beauty.
Hair has certainly been a hot topic of the pandemic, and it’s not because we’re sporting a chic new style. Salons are still closed in many states, making our usual wax, shapes, and trims impossible. This may seem like a weird gift for the team, but it will get you a laugh, and likely a lot of use!
Socializing is hard to replace, and gifts only take it so far. One of our other favorite ways of feeling connected during this wild time is sharing a meal or beer/beverage (on the company of course) that we selected locally. And my personal favorite, is taking the time to write a thoughtful handwritten card. There’s comfort in knowing someone is thinking of you.
Thanks for checking out this list, and do let me know what treats have brightened your day during quarantine!