6 Tips for Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

These days, we’re dealing with new challenges every day. A new one for many: working from home.

If you’re like many people during this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, you may have the option to telework. For those who can’t, especially people working paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet, we hope our lawmakers quickly provide extensive relief and protections for workers’ health and financial well-beings.

But if you can work from home, we know that it’s not always easy, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are the regular distractions like the pile of laundry or managing child care. There can also be problems with staying productive and keeping your motivation. 

Here are 6 tips to make your working from home a little easier during these times.

To get dressed or not? 

Oft-repeated advice from the work-from-home crowd is to get dressed for the day when you telework. The argument goes like this: Putting on clothes similar to what you’d normally wear to the office sets the tone for the day, helps keep you focused and connects you to your work.

On the other hand, these are stressful times. Your mental health is important. Wearing your favorite sweats or leggings can be comforting, and your boss will probably never know. But it might be a good idea to put on a good top if you have a video conference. Some of us here at CREDO enjoy a “casual Friday” feel for our work-from-home outfits. It helps us stay in control of our daily routine while still remaining comfortable.

Keep a morning routine

We think there’s a lot of benefit to keeping your morning routine as we transition to a new and uncertain lifestyle. Take a shower, brush your teeth, have breakfast and your morning coffee or tea. Taking time to take care of yourself can help you feel better and more productive for the day.

Designate a separate work space

Trust us, it will be tempting to stay in bed with your laptop all day. But don’t fall into the trap. You’re bound to be less productive.

Just like getting ready for the day, having a dedicated space for your work day will help keep your home and work lives a little more separate. You don’t need a whole room; a dedicated space in a small apartment works just fine. If you have a desk, you’re already there. If not, a table or another surface works great. If you can’t find a quiet space, try sitting in your car to do some work.

Treat your work space the way you might treat your space in your physical office. Ensure that your family members or roommates are aware of your working area and should respect it.

Keep regular hours

When you’re working from home, having structure in your day is important, and that includes the working hours you keep. 

If you normally had regular office hours, try to keep them. Again, remind the people you live with that when you’re working, you’re “on,” and that you’ll let them know, pending emergencies, when you’re “off.”

Balancing family care

If you have children or other family members that you care for, many of the tips above may not apply. Many child care facilities are closed. Districts across the country have shuttered schools for the foreseeable future. Yet, some schools still require distance learning, and you may need time during the day to homeschool. If you care for a loved one with a disability or health issue, you may not have additional home care help at this time.

We understand this is going to be a difficult time. Be upfront with your employer, human resources department and your coworkers about your situation. Likely you’re not the only employee confronted with this circumstance. Get creative with your schedule as much as you can. If you have a partner or others at home, try to work out a split schedule to balance the family care needs. Here are some additional tips from The Muse.

Remember to take breaks

This is a stressful time. It’s important for your mental health to schedule breaks during the day, if you are able to. Take your lunch away from your work space. Walk outside for some fresh air, if it’s safe, and practice social distancing. Use this time to connect with friends and family on your phone via FaceTime or other cross-platform app. This TechCrunch article offers some advice on the best video chat apps.

CREDO Grantee Americans for Tax Fairness Is Fighting for an Economy That Works for Everyone

Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) is a coalition of more than 400 national and state endorsing organizations focused on creating an economy that works for all of us by making sure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. 

Like the rest of the world, ATF has seen its work upended by the coronavirus pandemic. It has been fighting to ensure the federal government’s response to the economic emergency delivers timely and sufficient aid directly to workers, families and communities and doesn’t get hijacked by corporate special interests. The goal is to prevent a repeat of what happened during the financial crisis of 2008, when Wall Street banks, auto companies and other corporations were bailed out, while homeowners, workers and other innocent victims of the crisis were left to fend for themselves.

Specifically, ATF has fought against tax cuts as a remedy, because they are slow, inefficient and tend to reward most those who need help least: the wealthy and big corporations. ATF was a leader of the successful effort to reject President Trump’s proposed payroll tax cut, which would have given almost two-thirds of the benefits to the highest-earning 20% of workers and been no help at all to the unemployed. After this bad idea was shelved, attention turned to the much more effective answer of sending immediate and substantial cash payments to all but the wealthiest families.

ATF has also been a leading voice demanding that corporations that benefited so much from the 2017 Trump-GOP tax law not be rewarded again with a no-strings-attached coronavirus bailout. It has insisted that financial assistance to impacted industries be in the form of loans, not tax cuts, and that they come with conditions such as reduced executive pay, no stock buybacks and dividend payouts that benefit wealthy shareholders, and protections for workers. ATF has also demanded that aid not come in the form of tax cuts, given the huge giveaway to corporations from the Trump-GOP tax cuts.

Most of these conditions were met in legislation proposed in the House, and some in the Senate bill, which are being negotiated as this blog was being posted.

When the immediate crisis has passed, ATF will turn back to its top goal of getting the U.S. Congress to raise trillions of dollars in new revenue to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and to make major new investments in healthcare, education, housing, childcare, renewable energy, rebuilding public infrastructure, and more.

Even against the concerted efforts of much better financed opponents, ATF has been succeeding. It continues to successfully prosecute the case against the destructive Trump-GOP tax law, which will cost nearly $2 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years and mostly benefits the wealthy and corporations. On the law’s second anniversary last December, ATF mobilized its allies to highlight its eight worst broken promises.

But ATF isn’t just playing defense. It’s been building support for progressive tax reforms that could raise up to $10 trillion over 10 years to create an economy that works for all of us.

On Tax Day last year, ATF released a major report outlining the best options for creating what it calls a “fair share tax system” as a blueprint for Congress, candidates and activists.

Many of ATF’s progressive tax proposals wound up in the tax plans of leading Democratic presidential candidates. The group’s op-ed in the Des Moines Register shortly before the Iowa caucuses celebrated the surge of progressive tax policy in the presidential campaign. ATF rightly takes some of the credit for making mainstream what were once considered “extreme” tax-and-spending plans.

ATF has also launched several progressive tax proposals with key members of Congress, including the Millionaires Surtax, which would slap a 10% surtax on the income of married couples that exceeds $2 million a year—the richest 0.2%! It would raise $635 billion over 10 years and has been endorsed by 72 national groups.

Finally, ATF has continued to lead the progressive community’s demand that President Trump release his tax returns, as explained in this USA Today op-ed.

Tax fairness is tough to achieve, but it’s what our economy needs, the American people demand, and our democracy cannot survive without. Once our society has survived the present crisis, and backed by supporters like CREDO and its members, ATF will return to pushing for a tax system that truly works for working families.

Minimize risks to the most vulnerable in your community. Take the social distancing pledge today.

We at CREDO Mobile have been reeling from the Coronavirus, like everyone else in the country and world. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this dangerous and deadly virus.

We are also dismayed that some of our leaders have not taken the very real threats of this pandemic seriously. They are spreading disinformation, causing confusion and ignoring the warnings by public health officials to take precautions to protect themselves, their families and their communities.

Scientists and leaders in the public health community stress the importance of “social distancing” to minimize the spread of this virus, especially to protect at-risk people, like seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions. But we also know that many people — like low wage and hourly workers, those whose employers are not providing paid time off, and people experiencing homelessness — do not have the freedom to limit their interactions or distance from others, which puts these people at extremely high risk, too. That’s why for those of us who have the privilege to practice social distancing, we must immediately limit our interactions to protect our most vulnerable communities.

We’re asking you today to sign our pledge and commit to minimizing your public interactions now. Then, we urge you to share this pledge with your family and friends to spread the word to help protect our nation’s most vulnerable.

We are social distancing — and, if you have the means to, we urge you to join us.

Take the Pledge

The survey results are in. Bernie vs Biden: Who did CREDO members choose?

Now, more than ever, bold and serious leadership is critically important, especially during a national crisis.

That’s why last week we asked CREDO members to weigh in on their preference for president in November’s election: Do you support Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, and which political issues matter to you the most?

Thousands of CREDO members filled out our survey — for each response we’ll plant a tree — and here are the results.

Out of the 7,000 responses that we received – that’s 7,000 trees we’ll plant! – the choice for president was clear: Bernie Sanders received 54% of the vote. Joe Biden came in second with 43%, and Tulsi Gabbard rounded out third place with 1%.

We then asked our members which two political issues were most important to them right now. While all progressive issues are important, of course, CREDO members overwhelmingly chose “combating climate change” and “income and wealth inequality.”

Lastly, we asked our members whether or not they knew CREDO donated $150,000 every month to progressive organizations.

Approximately 20% of respondents didn’t know that we are able to donate nearly $2 million each year to groups working on women’s rights, climate change, LGBTQ equality and more because of our members who use their CREDO Mobile devices and service every day.

Because of our customers, we’ve been able to donate more than $88 million in total to groups like Color of Change, Planned Parenthood, Rainforest Action Network and March for Our Lives.

This month, three amazing groups — Americans for Tax Fairness, Friends of the Earth and NARAL Pro-Choice America — are eligible to receive a portion of our $150,000 grant, powered by our members. Click here to learn more and help us decide how to distribute this month’s donation between these three groups.

5 great apps to help you manage stress and anxiety

Right now, many of us are feeling pretty uneasy and anxious. A spreading pandemic, an uncertain economy, a heightened political climate — and we’re all concerned about the health and well being of our family and friends.

During these challenging times, let’s remember to step back, take a break and manage our own stress and anxiety levels. We’ll be the first to admit that there’s a benefit to unplugging, picking up a book or enjoying an old hobby. But if you decide to stay connected, there are some good apps to help manage your stress.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite apps on iOS and Android to help all of us consider our mental health, de-stress and become a bit more mindful.

Headspace

Headspace is one of our favorite apps to help you cope with the stresses of work, family and life in general (that’s why we included it in our top apps to help keep your New Year’s resolutions). Headspace teaches you the basics of meditation and offers a library of courses and single session meditations that you can take anywhere. The company boasts a 40 million person user base and offers scientific claims (and an in-house science department) that its app can reduce stress, increase focus and improve sleep.

Headspace offers a two-week free trial, before a $69.99 yearly subscription, available on both Android and iOS.

Daily Yoga

If you’re looking to combine mindfulness and body movement, Daily Yoga may be a good choice for you. Designed for the beginner to the advanced, this “freemium” app (free to access many of its features, but includes in-app purchases) includes 200 yoga routines, 500 yoga poses and asanas, lots of guided meditation tracks and more.

Available in the App Store and Google Play.

MindShift

Designed by the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia, MindShift is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and helps track anxiety disorders primarily for adolescents and young adults, but the app can be useful for everyone to learn coping strategies for anxiety, worry and panic. The app features a section called “chill out” that includes relaxation exercises and mindfulness strategies. 

Available in the App Store and Google Play.

Happify

Billed as the “single destination for effective, evidence-based solutions for better mental health to overcome negative thoughts, stress, and life’s challenges,” Happify uses evidence-based exercises and games developed by experts to help users take better control of their thoughts and feelings. The company claims 86% of frequent users get happier in two months, but we urge you to try it out for yourself.

The app is free to download but charges a fee to unlock additional features. Available in the App Store and Google Play.

7-Minute Workout from the New York Times

If working out is your stress-reliever — but your gym is currently closed and you’re practicing social distancing (which we recommend) — there are a lot of workout apps available for your mobile device. While some apps require equipment and others charge a fee, the New York Times’ 7-minute workout “app” is free, scientifically proven and only needs you and common items in your home to take advantage of a short, but intense workout. 

The app offers step-by-step instructions, illustrations of each body-weight exercise and a timer to guide you through one of two routines: the Scientific 7-Minute Workout and an Advanced 7-Minute Workout. The app is browser-based, so you can access it from virtually any device or desktop. Check them both out here.

Note: There’s no replacement for a health professional, for both your physical and mental health. If you feel you’re in need of help, please contact your mental health provider or your primary care physician.

CREDO Tip: Easy ways to clean, organize and update your technology this Spring

Spring is almost upon us and that means it’s time for spring cleaning! You might have plans to store your winter clothes, deep clean your appliances and organize your closets.

But now is also a great time to clean, update, disinfect and organize your digital lives, including your computers, devices and workstation areas. Here are some easy spring cleaning tips for your technology.

Physically clean your devices.

It’s always good to practice proper device hygiene, but with Coronavirus spreading across the country, now is probably the best time to start a cleaning routine. 

For your handheld devices, use a good, lint-free microfiber or lens cleaning cloth to remove oil and fingerprints. If your phone case is waterproof, wash it thoroughly with soap and water. To disinfect your devices, Apple suggests using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (which may be in short supply in your area), but avoid bleach and don’t submerge your phone in liquids. Android Central has some additional tips on cleaning and disinfecting your Android phone, including phone cleaning kits and disinfectant wipes.

For your laptop and computer workstation, that microfiber cloth comes in handy to clean the smudges from your monitor. Use a can of compressed air on your keyboard to remove crumbs. Apply disinfectant wipes or a cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean your keyboard and mouse/trackpad. If you have a desktop-style computer and you’ve never cleaned the inside of the machine, shutdown and unplug your workstation. Open the case and use the compressed air to remove dust from the fan and internal components. Here are some additional tips from CNet.

Note: As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) spreads, so has the misinformation regarding the virus. To ensure you’re receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information to keep you and your family safe, please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus website or the WHO’s Coronavirus website.

Update your software and operating systems. 

If you’re anything like us, you ignore those daily notifications to update your phone’s OS or computer applications. But keeping your software and operating systems up to date is important to the health and security of your technology. 

If you’ve been putting it off for a while, consider setting aside an hour or two on a weekend, especially if you need to update your computer’s OS. Be sure to update your antivirus software, too! If you don’t have automatic updates turned on, you might want to consider it to save you time and hassle in the future. Here are some tips from Wired.

Backup your data.

Are you backing up your data in case your computer or devices break or are lost? If not, you should! If you are backing up your data, have you checked recently to ensure your backups are scheduled and running properly?

For your phone or tablet, an online or cloud solution is the easiest way to backup your photos, messages and other data. For Apple devices, you can use iCloud, which is built into your devices. For Android, you can use Google Drive. Check your settings to make sure that these services are turned on and working properly.

For your computer, you have a number of options, in addition to iCloud and Google Drive, like manual backups, external hard drives and automatic online services. Here are good tutorials from Wirecutter (with external storage suggestions) and PC World. And, for reference, here are the official tutorials to backup and restore your computer from Microsoft and Apple.

Organize your laptop or desktop.

Are your desktop and folders cluttered with useless files and junk? Do you feel like your computer may be a little sluggish? Here are a few quick steps to declutter and speed things up.

After you’ve updated your system software, delete unused applications, search for and delete large and unwanted files that are taking up lots of space (here are some tips from Lifehacker.) Then download and install a system optimizer like OnyX or CCleaner that can run routine cleaning and optimizing tasks to free up disk space, delete system and application cache, rebuild databases and generally get rid of clutter.

Organize and clean up your inbox.

Do you have thousands of unread emails that you swear you’ll read at some point? Is your inbox keeping you in a constant state of anxiety? It’s probably time to do a little email housekeeping.

Depending on your email provider or the application you use, the steps may be different, but the concepts are the same: 

  • Set up filters, labels, folders or categories to organize your incoming mail
  • Use those labels or filters to divert spam
  • Unsubscribe from lists you no longer read or find useful
  • Mass delete old emails you’ll never read (or read again)
  • Delete messages taking up a lot of space

Here are some detailed tips from Thrillist (if you use Gmail) and PC World (if you use Outlook). 

How our buying choices actually change the world

Does making better consumer choices really help save the world?

We get that question a lot, and, of course we think so! For more than 30 years, CREDO’s mission has been to give consumers the opportunity to create positive social change with everyday acts of commerce.

Maeve Higgins, host of the great podcast Mothers of Invention (a podcast we highly recommend!), recently  asked that same question in the New York Times after she closed her Chase bank account because Chase and other big banks continue to fund dirty fossil fuel companies that contribute to the climate crisis.

But does one person’s action make an impact? Of course, because there’s power in numbers. As Higgins puts it, “The actions I’m taking are small, but I hope they’re building up….If everybody took action — I mean every single one of us — we would be plain sailing.”

So what can you do to help save the world? Sure, you too can close your big bank account. But you can also drop your current mobile phone company — a company that might be funding the Trump administration and other right-wing causes — and switch to CREDO, the carrier with a conscience that donates nearly $2 million a year to the causes we all care about.

AT&T, for example, has a long history of fighting against our progressive values. The company has proven to be a staunch supporter of corporate greed, Republican politicians and right-wing interests. They’ve donated millions to Donald Trump, contributed to anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion politicians, laid off workers after receiving massive tax cuts and even helped re-elect a white supremacist to office. (Here are 8 reasons to drop AT&T.)

Likewise, T-Mobile not only hired Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, it copied pages from the corporate playbook to curry favor with Trump: Book some rooms at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. After announcing a $26 billion mega-merger that needed approval by the Trump administration, T-Mobile executives, including its outspoken CEO John Legere, booked at least 38 nights and spent at least $195,000 at Trump’s hotel.

Other mobile carriers may be putting profits above values, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Here at CREDO, we would never attempt to curry favor with Trump or fund right-wing causes. Just the opposite. Every month, we donate $150,000 to three great progressive nonprofits — groups that are fighting for climate justice, civil rights, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ and women’s rights, economic equality and more.

So yes, you too can make a difference, create progress and do your part to help save the world. Learn more and join us today at CREDOMobile.com

CREDO Tip: How workers can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Today marks Employee Appreciation Day, an unofficial holiday for companies and workplaces to recognize the hard work and dedication of their employees.

Here at CREDO, we’re fortunate to have a team who lives our values everyday and appreciates our work with good pay and morale-building throughout the year, like employee rewards and recognition, company outings and our favorite Cheese Wednesdays and Bagel Fridays.

But for many, especially minimum or sub-minimum wage workers and immigrant and undocumented workers, Employee Appreciation Day is a class privilege and hollow gesture. Wages have stagnated. Labor union membership is declining. Workplace harassment still exists, despite the #MeToo movement. Immigrants live in fear of ICE raids and deportations.

On this Employee Appreciation Day, we’d like to share a couple tips on how you can build a better workplace for you and your co-workers and stand in solidarity with workers who deserve better working conditions.

Be an ethical home employer

Do you hire workers in your home, like house cleaners, home attendants or childcare providers? Be sure to hire and treat your employees ethically by creating a mutually beneficial and supportive work relationship that includes fair pay, clear expectations, paid time off and a safe workplace.

Our allies and grant recipients at the National Domestic Workers Alliance run “Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network” where you can learn more about how to be an ethical employer at home.

Resist racist deportation policies

All immigrants deserve protection, dignity and respect, yet our current administration and its cruel policies are forcing the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country to live in constant fear of arrest and deportation. DREAMers, who have been eligible for work and deserve a path to citizenship, are constant targets of Donald Trump, who has promised to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and whose ICE agency threatens to deport them.

Support organizations who fight the Trump administration’s cruel and racist deportation regime and for more just immigration policies, including CREDO grantees Movimiento Cosecha, United We Dream, Detention Watch Network and Mijente

Support a living wage and better workplace policies

Nearly 2 million workers are earning wages at or below the minimum wage — which has been stuck at $7.25 per hour for more than a decade. That’s hardly a living wage. In fact, adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is worth 17% less than it was 10 years ago.

What’s more, many of these workers endure discrimination based on gender, race and family status. Millions of women — especially those in tipped jobs — experience sexual harassment at a high rate and have unpredictable and unfair work schedules and little or no access to child care. 

Stand with these workers and support policies and lawmakers who want to raise wages, improve working conditions, end harassment, fight for racial equity and more. Learn how you can help from our ally and grantee ROC United.

Our February grantees thank you for your support

Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups fighting for climate justice, peace and women’s rights. In February, over 40,000 CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to 350.org, Peace Action and UltraViolet.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our February grant recipients thank you.

350.org
$62,195

“Thank you for supporting 350.org! Passionate CREDO members like you help us stop fossil fuel projects and build a 100% renewable energy future that is just, prosperous, and equitable for all.” – May Boeve, Executive Director

To learn more, visit 350.org

 

Peace Action
$36,491

“On behalf of Peace Action, our deepest gratitude for the partnership and support of CREDO members for our organization and for your confidence in our work for a more peaceful and just future. Thank you!” – Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund

To learn more, visit peaceaction.org.

 

UltraViolet
$51,314

“We couldn’t do this without you. CREDO members like you make it possible for UltraViolet to build a diverse feminist community online by creating compelling stories and offering ways to take action to advance gender justice and equity. Thank you!” – Shaunna Thomas, Co-Founder and Executive Director

To learn more, visit weareultraviolet.org.

Now check out the three groups we are funding in March, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.

Vote for Americans for Tax Fairness, Friends of the Earth and NARAL Pro-Choice America this March

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This March, you can support groups fighting for economic justice, the environment and climate justice and women’s rights and reproductive freedom by voting to fund Americans for Tax Fairness, Friends of the Earth and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Americans for Tax Fairness

ATF mobilizes public support for progressive tax reform, so we have the revenue to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and to make new investments in education, housing, infrastructure, and more to create an economy that works for all. 

A grant from CREDO would cover expenses for ATF’s part-time writer, who provides the backbone of the content generation that so many groups depend on, and a chunk of ATF’s email consultant, who makes ATF’s online activism program successful.

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth defends the environment and champions a more healthy and just world. The organization works at the nexus of environmental protection, economic policy and social justice to fundamentally transform the way people and the environment are valued.

Support from CREDO will help Friends of the Earth protect our environment from Trump and his efforts to dismantle essential protections for clean air, water and a healthy climate, uniting with our international federation of partners in 75 countries.

NARAL Pro-Choice America

NARAL is powered by its 2.5 million members in all 50 states. The group represents the 7 in 10 Americans who support reproductive freedom and believe every person should be able to make personal decisions about pregnancy free from political interference. 

A CREDO grant would allow NARAL to expand its impact, working to protect and expand abortion access across the country, while mobilizing the organization’s members with a comprehensive strategy to drive voter turnout in states critical to 2020.

Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by March 31.

CREDO members who use our products and services everyday are the reason we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.