Recreating the 5 Work Modes, Remotely

Updated on
May 22, 2024

Curating our at-home environments to enable peak performance

For a lot of folks, remote work is sticking around. Many companies have made the move toward indefinite remote work and others are making room for hybrid-remote models. Most recently, Spotify announced a work-from-anywhere program—joining the likes of Twitter and Salesforce. As WFH becomes normalized for the foreseeable future and beyond, it’s time for a shift in focus. Success is no longer about adjusting to new working conditions; it's about learning how to be productive in any environment.

One way to do this is by recreating the work modes at home. When we built redpepper’s office space, we designed dedicated areas for the five work modes: focus, collaborate, task, socialize, and rejuvenate. (We swapped the traditional learn mode for task since we’re constantly learning—no matter which mode we’re in.) This structure facilitates the rhythm necessary for productivity—allowing for a mix of deep thinking, collaboration, and brain breaks. Sometimes we crave energy from others. Sometimes we crave distraction-free heads-down time. Sometimes we crave a little movement. And the same goes at home.

Here’s how to recreate the work modes in different areas of your house:

1. Focus

We call distraction-free work Zone Time. It’s a 45- to 90-minute block of uninterrupted attention dedicated to a defined objective. At redpepper, we have dedicated rooms for this, aptly called Zone Rooms. While remote, your Zone Room can be your home-office setup—somewhere quiet with more structured seating than a couch. And remember to create visual and audio privacy—turn off notifications and turn on those noise-canceling headphones. This will leave you to focus on the problem at hand in an environment where you can do your best work.

2. Collaborate

Collaboration is ingrained in all that we do. Our team rooms immerse us in the work, serving as another team member. You can foster this same sense of collaboration at home. Start by cleaning off the dining room table—using a big space for virtual working sessions lets you spread out and feel like you’re back with the gang. Next, grab some Post-its—big ones you can stick on the walls and little ones to jot down quick thoughts. And look into a virtual collaboration software like Miro to gather the whole teams’ ideas. This is the time to get messy, get your thoughts out, and get sh*t done—together.

3. Task

When you need to knock out those casual action items—checking your email, organizing your calendar, or crossing stuff off of that ever-growing to-do list—it’s time for task mode. In the office, we usually do these things while sitting on comfy chairs out in our common space. At home, they can be done from the comfort of your bed or the couch—no need for audio/visual privacy or an “I-need-to-sit-up-straight” mentality.

4. Socialize

Socialization allows us to energize through intentional collisions with others. At redpepper, this usually takes place in our café or at the putt-putt green. You can get this same boost of energy at home by scheduling “walkie-talkies” (one-on-one calls with team members while taking a walk) or small group coffee breaks or happy hours. Chatting with a pet is another great option—they won’t bring up that impending deadline. Steering clear of work talk gives you that much-needed and well-deserved brain break.

5. Rejuvenate

This one, much like socialization, is intended to be a refresh and reset. However, it’s more about “me time”. We’ll go for a walk in the neighborhood around our office or curl up in our library with a favorite read. At home, you can still go for that neighborhood walk, head out to your porch for a few restorative breaths, or put your feet in the grass outside (science is in favor of this one). You can even take after our VP of Sales & Marketing and jump on a mini-trampoline in your living room. Anywhere you can go to get a little clarity and movement.

There they are, the 5 work modes, curated for your WFH success.

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