Work from Home Gifts To Level Up Their Workspace

Welcome to Go West Alex’s Work from Home (WFH) gift guide!  

Chances are you or some of your loved ones are working from home. Working from home has become the norm for many of us, but creating a functional, comfortable workspace we love in our homes often falls to the waysides because, well, life! 

If you’re looking to brighten up your favorite teleworker’s home workspace or even your own, this guide of curated gift ideas for all tastes and budgets is here to help. 

  1. Dreamegg White Noise and Sound Machine – $39.99  

Blocking out distractions at home can be challenging. Dreamegg blocks out sounds to help boost productivity, boasts 24 built-in white noise, fan, and nature sounds.  

  1. Clip-on LED Ring Light – $25  

Help them power through that 5 p.m. Zoom meeting with more lighting.  

  1. Desk Vacuum Cleaner – $11.98  

Something you didn’t know you needed that you definitely need. “The small handheld vacuum is about the size of your palm, so it can easily be moved around any surface to suck up bits of dust, paper, crumbs, and more”.  

  1. THE COMFY Blanket Hoodie – $44 

Typing wrapped in a blanket can be annoying. THE COMFY blanket hoodie is the solution! 

  1. AboveTEK Laptop Desk – $38.99  

Switching up work locations is great but tough to do if you lack a desk. Make it possible with a portable laptop desk.  

  1. Personalized Mouse Pad – $16  

A personalized leather mouse pad is practical, decorative, and thoughtful. All rolled into one gift. 

  1. Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – $49.99 

A perk of working from home is privacy. Help them blast their favorite tunes in the comfort of their home office with a wireless Bluetooth speaker.  

  1. Do Not Disturb Door Hanger – $19.99  

This handy dry erase door hanger is perfect for letting other people or family know to steer clear of barging in.  

  1. Purple Portable Seat Cushion – $39 

Purple’s Portable Seat Cushion turns any chair into a comfortable seat to work for the day.  

  1. Stress Ball – $13.95  

Let’s face it – work can be stressful! A stress ball can come in handy to help calm the anxious mind.  

Best tips to staying active all winter long

As we make our way through November and into the winter months, it’s no surprise that getting outside becomes more challenging. Between the shorter days and cooler temperatures, winter weather often makes you want to avoid that trip into the cold altogether. But at the end of the day, we all have places to be, so we’re here to help you get to where you need to be, as quickly and safely as possible.

Our team has you covered with the best tips and tricks for staying warm and active all winter long.

Light It Up 

This tip is essential! With daylight savings in full swing, walking or biking outside after the sun goes down can be a safety hazard without proper visibility. Make yourself visible to vehicles and other pedestrians by adding lights or reflectors to your bike, person, or dog if you have a four-legged friend. 

Plan Ahead

Finding your best running, walking, or biking route ahead of time is helpful, especially when it’s dark out. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can help you do this. Under Armour’s MapMyRunMapMyWalk, and MapMyRide apps are great whether you are mapping your everyday commute to work or discovering a new route for your next leisurely bike ride. 

Stay Hydrated 

Plenty of water/fluids is just as important in cold weather as in the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Dehydration happens quickly in the winter from sweating and the drying power of the stronger winds. Don’t forget your water! 

Layer It On 

Wonder why your hands, feet, head, and ears get so cold in the winter? When your body gets cold, blood flow concentrates at your body’s core, leaving your extremities vulnerable to feeling cold. Depending on the temperatures, be sure to grab a hat, gloves, scarf, and thick socks before you head outdoors. Here are some recommended items for those outdoor adventures this season. 

We hope these tips help you stay warm, safe, and active this winter! If you have any questions or need help planning your best walking or biking route around Tysons, be sure to reach out to the Go West Alex team at Info@gowestalex.com.

5 Ways Walking Benefits Your Wellbeing

Happy October, also known as Walktober! October is a great time to begin walking more – between the crisp fall air and colorful foliage, you can’t go wrong no matter where you choose to walk.

Here’s why getting outside and walking should be at the top of your to-list:

1.         Contributes to good health

Need we say more? As Steven Adler puts it, you can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.

Commit to getting outside for just 20 minutes a day. Whether that be a round-trip walk to work, riding your bike to the store, or taking a walk during your lunch break. Make your walk work for you, and do what you can with the time you have. Just be sure to dedicate a window of time every day to getting outside. Your body will thank you!

2.         Restores your mental energy

Brain fog and fatigue can easily creep in by lunchtime, causing your productivity to suffer. Can you relate to the afternoon slump? According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, one thing that can help boost your mind is exposing your body to stimulating environments – aka the great outdoors.

3.         Helps to relieve stress and anxiety

Many studies show that even just 20 minutes per day spent outside can lower stress hormone levels, boost morale, and improve your mood.

4.         Switches your mindset from “doing” to “being”

The difference between “doing” and “being” may not sound monumental, but the distinction is an important one to remember.  Getting outside and going on a walk or bike ride switches your mindset from “doing” to simply being present and enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, and experiences of being outside that you can’t get sitting on the sofa.

5.         Enhances creativity

Struggling with writer’s block? Can’t seem to get started on that new project? You may want to start by putting your computer aside and opt for some outdoor time. Many studies have shown that a dose of fresh air can work wonders for pulling out your inner creativity.

As you enjoy Walktober outside, our team can’t wait to see you in the community enjoying fresh fall air and sunshine. If you need help planning your best walking, biking, or the best route to work or around your community, be sure to reach out to the Go West Alex team at Info@GoWestAlex.com.

How to Save Money By Ditching Your Car

Did you know, on average, you can save $5960 every year by not owning a car? Start by going car-free for just one day on Car Free Day, Wednesday, September 22! Take Commuter Connections Car Free Day pledge to leave your car at home for the chance to win several great prizes, including grocery store gift cards, a Samsung Galaxy Tab, restaurant gift cards, and much more!  

Benefits of going car-free on Car Free Day: 

  1. Helps the environment 

Did you know that transportation accounts for 29% of greenhouse gases in the United States? Like the Metro and bus, public transportation produces 76% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to cars. Best of all, when you work from home or walk to work, your greenhouse gas emission contributions are cut down to zero.

  • Reduces your expenses

Owning a car is costly. Aside from the cost of the vehicle itself, gas, insurance, maintenance, depreciation, parking, and tolls quickly add up. On the bright side, walking, biking, or working from home are entirely free ways to get around and can save thousands of dollars each year.

  • Saves time 

It’s no secret that driving in the D.C. Metro area can be a challenge. Getting out from behind the wheel allows you to enjoy repurposing your time that would otherwise be spent battling traffic on the road. Finally, read that book, catch up on emails, catch up on personal items, etc.

  • Avoids unnecessary stress

Traveling to work is unpredictable – traffic can easily add 30 minutes to your trip. Not driving allows you to focus on more important things in your life and avoid added stress.

  • Less driving = more exercise 

One of the best ways to fit more exercise into your day is to walk or bike more, rather than driving. Giving up your car (even for just one trip!) allows you to spend more time moving your body, even if you’re only walking for a few minutes down the road.

So, what are you waiting for? Take the pledge to go car free and save time, money, and the environment on September 22! Interested in going car free but not sure where to start? Get in touch with the Go West Alex team at Info@GoWestAlex.com.

Lower Fares, Later Service Starting Labor Day Weekend

Starting September 5, Metro is making changes to make riding easier, more affordable, and more convenient than ever.

Savings

  • Free bus transfers – If you connect between rail and bus, your bus ride will now be free for all routes except Express service.  
  • Lower rail fares on weekends – Weekend fares on Metrorail will be $2 for a one-way trip.
  • Lower prices for 7-day Regional Bus Pass – Customers will now pay $12 for a 7-day Regional Bus Pass, $6 for seniors/disabled customers. 

Metrorail

  • Extended Hours – The Metro will run until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Reduced Wait Times – Customers can expect to wait no more than 3-6 minutes for a train on weekdays at any station served by multiple lines all day until 9:30 p.m.
  • Late-night service – More trains every hour after 9:30 p.m., every 5-8 minutes at any station served by multiple lines, and every 10 minutes on the Red Line. 

Metrobus

  • Reduced Wait Times – Wait times of 12 minutes or less on the busiest bus lines. Waits of no more than 20 minutes on 16 other lines.
  • Additional Routes – An additional 64 bus routes, added either through restoration or addition.

For more information, visit WMATA’s website to learn more. If you have any questions or would like assistance with your trip on the Metro or Metrobus, reach out to our team at Info@GoWestAlex.com! We’d be happy to help. 

Spring Break Out Wrap Up

From May 20 – June 18, our community participated in Spring Break Out, a fun contest designed to encourage outdoor activity which discovering our awesome community.

Participants shared their outdoor activities each day to earn points towards prizes: $75 Adidas gift card, $50 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card, and an Apple AirTag. Congrats to all our prize winners!

Riding the Metro Instead of Driving Can Reduce Your Carbon Emissions by 46%

Did you know driving a car is the single largest household contributor of greenhouse gases? Recently, the focus worldwide is on slowing climate change. As our lifestyles keep us on the go more and more, carbon emissions have increased dramatically, cars being one of the greatest offenders. Driving a car accounts for as much as 55-65% of emissions per household.

Switching to riding Metro, even for just one day a week or month, can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. 

Why Your Carbon Footprint Matters

We’re all dependent on our environment. People, animals, and plants all need fresh air, clean water, and reliable weather patterns to live healthy lives. But as our emissions increase, toxins pollute it all.

Heading out on a solo drive may seem efficient in the moment, but each trip out does more damage than you’re probably aware of. Driving to work, the store, or to a restaurant to meet a friend contributes 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon of gas burned.

In fact, half of all CO2 transportation-related emissions in the United States come from passenger cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. If you opt to leave your car behind for even one trip per week, you’ll be making a BIG difference.

This Earth Day is a great time to make a conscious commitment to reducing your carbon footprint and living just a little lighter on our shared environment. Switching from driving a car to riding Metro is the single biggest action you can take to immediately decrease your impact on our planet.

Driving vs Riding Metro

On average, a single car generates six to nine tons of carbon dioxide in a calendar year when driven regularly. Switching your weekday commute to a ride on Metro can reduce your annual carbon footprint by about 4,800 pounds. You’ll also be able to reduce or even eliminate your dependency on gas.

Driving an electric vehicle is a much cleaner option than a gas-powered or hybrid car, but even electric cars contribute emissions when creating and using electricity to run.

The Metro is engineered to generate fewer emissions, decreasing an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions by 46% per mile traveled. As scientists continue to improve our production and usage of clean energy, the environmental impact of riding the Metro will continue to decrease.

Since Metro runs on a schedule, regardless of occupancy, the more people that share a ride on Metro, the more we can collectively reduce our emissions in the D.C. Metro region.

Riding Metro Can Help Improve Your Self Care

How much time do you currently spend looking at traffic updates before you get in the car, driving and sitting in traffic, and then driving around some more while you search for parking?

While a Metro ride may take a few minutes more than driving door to door, you don’t need to worry about traffic or parking at all. Moreover, that time can be used for other more enjoyable activities.

Things to Do While Riding Metro:

  • Read
  • Work
  • Take a nap
  • Crochet/Knit
  • Write/Journal
  • Watch a TV show
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Chat with other riders
  • Catch up on your texts
  • Plan your next vacation
  • Follow a guided meditation
  • Play a game on your phone

Riding Metro Will Help You Live More Sustainably

If you’re interested in making sustainable change in your life, switching from driving to riding Metro is one of the easiest and most impactful changes you can make.

While other changes like giving up using straws, composting, or shopping for produce at a farmers market make a small impact, taking Metro instead of your car makes a big difference. Even better, it doesn’t require any extra equipment or preparation.

Ready to hop on the Metro? Go West Alex can help plan your trip! The Go West Alex team, West Alex’s on-site travel and commute planning assistants, can help you get to the places you need to go. Whether that is getting to work on the Metro, teleworking, or simply sharing the best walking or biking routes in the area, our team is here to help! Simply reach out to our team at Info@GoWestAlex.com. We look forward to chatting with you soon.

Winter Walking Tips: Best Tips for Staying Safe

It’s no surprise that getting outside in the winter months becomes more challenging. Between the shorter days, the potential for bad weather, and cooler temperatures, cold weather often makes us want to curl up and stay in our warm homes, avoiding that trip outside altogether. But that’s not to say getting outside has to be a chore – staying safe and getting your steps in is still possible in the winter. 

Try these tips for getting around safely this winter to stay warm and motivated while outdoors.  

If you venture outside in the dark, don’t forget light.  

This is important! With daylight savings in full swing, walking or biking outside after the sun goes down can be a safety hazard without proper visibility. Make yourself visible to vehicles and other pedestrians by adding lights or reflectors to your bike or body. 

• Stay in well-lit areas if possible 

• Wear lightly colored or reflective clothing 

• Deck out your bike with bike lights 

Pick your best route ahead of time. 

Finding the running, walking, or biking route you wish to tackle ahead of time is helpful, especially when it’s dark out. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can help you do this. Under Armor’s MapMyRunMapMyWalk, and MapMyRide apps are great whether you are mapping your everyday commute to work or discovering a new route for your long run days. The apps can help you plan out your distance and route ahead of time and help ensure you stay on safe and well-light streets and trails. 

Find what clothing and accessories work best for you!  

If you exercise outside often, walk, or bike to work, you likely know what your perfect winter set-up is already. Do you run hot or cold? Do you like layers or as little laying as possible? The best way to stay warm, dry, and comfortable during cold-weather exercise is to learn how to properly outfit yourself for the weather conditions and type of exercise. When you step outside to begin walking or biking, you should feel chilly, but not cold. During your workout, you want to feel warm, not hot, and sweaty. 

Don’t forget your fluids.  

Plenty of water/fluids is just as important in the cold weather as in the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout, even if you’re not thirsty. Dehydration happens quickly in the winter from sweating and the drying power of the stronger winds, leaving your skin parched and body dehydrated. Don’t forget your water!  

Protect your extremities.  

Wonder why your hands, feet, head, and ears get so cold in the winter? When your body gets cold, blood flow concentrates at your body’s core, leaving your extremities vulnerable to feeling cold. Depending on the temperatures, be sure to grab a hat, gloves, scarf, and thick socks before you head outdoors. Here are items you need for those outdoor adventures this season. 

We hope you stay warm and active this winter! If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to the Go West Alex team.  

Ergonomics Checklist for Your Home Office

We want you to stop what you’re doing and evaluate your level of comfort! Feeling any neck pain? Wrist pain? Achy back pain? We know it’s easy to brush off pain during your workday – after all, we know many times that your to-do list is miles long, and there is no time to waste getting comfortable! Especially when you’re working from home.
Whether you’re working from home due to COVID or you’ve been a remote worker for years, our team has you covered with a checklist for tips to put into action in your office to ensure you have an ergonomically inclined desk, because back pain and feeling uncomfortable while sitting is no fun and can actually cause your productivity and focus to suffer!
So, what exactly are ergonomics? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ergonomics means fitting a workspace to the end user’s needs. To put it simply, ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort… aka muscle fatigue, lower back problems, neck pain, etc.


We have a checklist for you to evaluate and see if you have an ergonomically inclined workspace, whether you’re in the office or at home!


How many ergonomic tips can you check-off and/or put into action at your desk?


– Sit with your feet flat on the floor
– Ensure your knees are at about a 90-degree angle
– Ensure your hips are at about a 90-degree angle
– Keep your elbows at about a 90-degree angle when typing and using a mouse
– Raise your monitor or laptop so that your line of sight is in the top 1/3 of the screen; invest in a riser if needed
– Take breaks to stretch every hour
– Give your eyes a break from the screen when you start to feel fatigued or invest in a pair of blue light glasses


For more ergonomic tips for your office, be sure to check-out Very Well Health’s blog post.

And as always, we are here for you! Did you know that our team members are Telework Certified? Meaning our team can give you tips on setting up a home office, provide tools for setting up a telework program for your company, and much more! Be sure to reach out to us at if you have any questions regarding your commute or working from home. Thank you for staying connected with us!

Transit Appreciation Month

Do you take transit to work or hoping to do so soon? In celebration of October being Transit Appreciation month, we have you covered with tips and updates on everything you need to know before taking transit in the D.C Metro area.  

Whether you ride the bus or take the Metro on occasion, we want to keep you informed on new safety standards and rules in response to COVID-19 by providing you with transit information and tips to best inform your trip.   

Metro   

Your commute on the Metro has changed, and WMATA is taking action to keep you safer on-board. Visit WMATA’s website for more information and updates on service offerings.  

Bus   

Most bus services in the area are operating at reduced schedules and service capacities, and your typical bus route may not be in service. Be sure to visit your preferred bus service’s website below for up to date service changes and advisories.  

Metrobus   

Fairfax Connector  

OmniRide   

VRE   

ART  

DASH  

Tips for Commuting on Transit  

  • Familiarize Yourself with the New Schedules  

Visit your preferred transit service’s website to determine any changes to your typical route or schedule. Due to increased regulations, your commute may take longer than usual.   

  • Be Aware of New Regulations and Rules   

Be aware of new rules and social distancing standards on vehicles aimed at keeping you safe when riding.    

  • Limit Nonessential Touching of the Vehicle  

Limit non-essential touching of handles, seatbacks, straps, etc., and keep hand sanitizer handy.  

Helpful Transit Apps + Tools 

DC Metro and Bus App: App Store or Google Play  

Fairfax Connector BusTracker  

OmniRide: App Store or Google Play  

VRE Mobile   

ART RealTime Arrivals   

DASH Mobile App  

SmarTrip Card Information