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Remote work tips from remote work pros

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Like a fully stocked kitchen or unlimited vacation days, the ability to work from home when needed is typically seen as a benefit at most companies. Getting a change of scenery for a creative brainstorm or even just being able to send emails from your couch when you’re under the weather provides teams with the flexibility they need to do their jobs well. But when you have to work from home? That’s another story.

In the wake of COVID-19, everyone is adjusting to remote work life in their own ways, and some might find it harder than others. Luckily, while the majority of our team is based in Common’s NYC HQ, we’ve always had remote employees and even full teams across the country who have spent years mastering the art of remote work. We caught up with them for their best tips on staying productive, connected, and sane.

Maninder Dulai


Maninder aka Manny is a leasing specialist at Common based on the West Coast.

What’s your work-from-home schedule like?
During my average day, I wake up pretty early and go through my morning routine, and then jump on the computer soon after. The day is usually pretty full of phone calls and video conferences with potential tenants, but between that and emails, I squeeze in quick exercises every so often. I take a short break at some point in the day to go hit golf balls in the backyard. But to keep me going through the day I also snack way too much, some good, a lot bad.

What’s your number one tip for anyone working remote for the first time?
Set out a schedule to do daily tasks and don’t forget to do things for yourself. Keep your body moving or do whatever it is you need to step away from everything for a little bit.

The leasing team at Common is based all over the country. How does your team stay connected work-wise and socially?
Our leasing team stays connected through weekly team meetings through Google Hangouts and everyday conversations through Slack! Locally we get together for a lunch or happy hour every now again.

Alex Paffilas

Alex is Common’s People Ops Manager. Alex worked in Common’s NYC HQ for a year and a half before moving to San Diego in 2019.

What’s your work-from-home schedule/routine?
I like to start each day like I’m going into an office. I wake up, get ready, take care of my dogs and pour myself a cold brew coffee (having my own Toddy cold brew maker at home has been life changing!). When I enter my office space, I turn on some music and my salt lamp while one of my dogs settles in next to me. It’s important that I create a calm and comfortable space before I tackle the day. Then it’s business as usual!

One thing I make sure to do is make a healthy lunch every day (miso soup is my go-to) and spend a few moments outside with an afternoon coffee. Sometimes I find that changing locations in my house helps me find new inspiration if I’m stuck on a task. For example, the rocking chair on my back porch is reserved for when I have a lot of writing to do.

When it’s time for me to wrap up at the end of the day, I close and put my computer away in a closet. It’s really important to be able to differentiate between home and work, especially when they are located in the same place.

What’s your number one tip for anyone working remote for the first time?
Find time to laugh with your coworkers. Whether that be through scheduling a video call just to catch up on life or sending a funny gif or meme in Slack, it’s important to still have some fun and not have every interaction be about business. You don’t have to be in person to feel connected and build relationships with your team.

You used to be based at Common’s NYC HQ but moved to San Diego last year. What were the challenges of being newly remote and how did you handle them?
When I was working in the Midtown office, I’d have a 45 minute commute back to Brooklyn every day which helped me decompress because I’d listen to podcasts or read. When I first became a remote employee, I was just closing my computer at the end of the day and it felt really odd not having a commute help mentally transition me from work to home. Now I have a ritual of taking my dogs on a walk immediately after I sign off. I treat that as my commute and my brain now has ample time to switch from “work mode” to “home mode”.

Ari Tavakoli


Ari is a Real Estate Director based out of Common’s Los Angeles office.

What’s your work-from-home schedule/routine?
Since my wfh set up is less than 5 feet from my bed, the timing of when the workday starts and ends is blurred for me. I am still working my way into a routine that caps the start/end of the workday, but my current schedule is as follows:

– Wake Up: 8 AM
– Quick at-home workout: 8:15 AM
– Shower: 8:45 AM
– Start of workday: 9:00 AM
– Lunch: 1:00 PM
– Coffee Break: 2:30 PM
– Resume Work: 3 PM
– End of day/dinner: 7:30 PM

What’s your number one tip for anyone working remote for the first time?
Avoid burning out! The flexibility of working from home is great, but not being able to simply walk outside to grab a coffee/lunch is what makes the current situation even more difficult. Strictly working from home the past couple of weeks made me realize how important it is to take a break and refresh my thoughts. My breaks consist of either going outside to get some fresh air, grabbing a cup of coffee, or catching up with a friend/colleague over a video conference call.

You’re part of our L.A. based real estate team, but regularly work with team members in our NYC HQ. What tips do you have for working across time-zones?
Working remotely definitely serves as a challenge, but it is not impossible! My top 3 tips of how I get by working remotely are as follows:

  • I always introduce myself to a new team member over Slack. This builds rapport.
  • Anytime I am in HQ (NYC), I make sure to schedule as many 1:1’s as possible. People like to put a face to a name.
  • If I am requesting feedback from someone on another coast, I always outline the ask via email and message the recipient on Slack letting them know of the ask and to look out for the email. Should the request go unanswered for a couple of days, I will either call my colleague directly or schedule time on their calendar to review the ask. Subtle and respectful reminders go a long way.
  • More tips from Common

    moving social distancing
    Thanks team! If you’re interested in more tips on adjusting to life under COVID-19, check out our articles on how to budget during a crisis, how to social distance with roommates, and how to re-locate.

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