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Adapting to Working From Home

Adapting to Working From Home

March 23, 2020
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With changes coming at us faster than we can adapt, many people are currently working remotely from home in order to continue operating and not allow this crazy virus business to get the best of us. While working from home is a great way to stay productive in theory, it can also be extremely challenging if you are not in control of your time. Being at home, in your comfort zone can be very distracting! So, while we are also working remotely, our team wanted to share some of our favorite work from home tips to help keep you on point!

Here are some that may work for you while adapting to the current situation in your home.  

YOUR WORK AREA:

  • DO NOT SIT ON THE COUCH TO WORK! Have a designated work area. If you have an office, GREAT! If not, you don’t need to add an addition on the house. Your work area does not have to be fancy; it just needs to be away from the tv and any other distractions you have at home that might draw your attention away from work.
  • Don’t let work at home office envy be a thing. Sure, it would be nice if you can do a Pinterest perfect home office. Do you really need it to accomplish the work at hand? No! Make it work for now and worry about perfection when you return to your office at work.
  • Have the essentials you need nearby – computer, phone, calendar, planner. Whatever it is that makes you effective and efficient during your “usual” day at work in your office.
  • Set up your computer as close to what you use at work as possible. If you use dual monitors at work, try to do that at home. Familiarity will help you be more comfortable in getting the work done.
  • Set a time to “go to work” and dress accordingly. Being dressed helps your brain shift gears and focus.
  • Put a clock where you will see it to remind you when the workday is over. Use timers and reminders for important time-limited tasks so deadlines and meetings are not missed.

 

YOUR HEALTH:

  • Take regular breaks, schedule them and take them even if you must set an alarm or timer.
  • Be sure you are drinking water, track it with a container, checklist or your health app to be sure you are.
  • Get up and move. Regularly throughout the day. Drinking water and taking those breaks will help with this. Having needy pets at home will help with this. Don’t lock yourself into an office space and forget what time it is. Move every hour at least a little (see pants section below).
  • Just because you are home does not mean you are available 24/7. Set a schedule and stick to it.
  • At the end of the day, when you are done working, “go home”. Change into comfy clothes and stay out of the work area. 

 

VIRTUAL MEETINGS:

  • Having a specified work area also helps with those video conference meetings.
  • Remember to check your surroundings or use the “blur background” option if you have that available. No one wants to see your pile of dirty laundry or the stack of dishes on the counter.
  • Remember the mute button! We don’t need to know that Fido needs to go potty mid-meeting. Although we appreciate it.
  • Others on your call or video conference also don’t need to know if you need to go potty so turn off the camera and mute yourself if you need to step away. Don’t take the computer/phone/tablet to the restroom with you, please. Just step away or use Bluetooth headphones so you can still listen in.

 

YOUR TEAM:

  • Call coworkers to check-in, not just conference calls, but chat and check on everyone to see how they are doing. Breaks are a great time for this as you can set a time limit, just like a coffee break at work.
  • If working with kids and partners at home, ask for what you need! Seriously, speak the words! No one is a mind reader. Tell your kids that you have a huge conference call, so you will need quiet from x time to x time. Ask the kids what they need. Ask your partner and then try to meet everyone’s needs.
  • Praise everyone! Give all the positive feedback you can. Yes, kids can be needy little creatures with tapeworms. But did they let you get through your call while snacking before the screams started? Praise them and thank them for helping you do your work.
  • Plan to make things easy for everyone in the family. Keep the meals easy and plan ahead. Keep the boredom snacking to a minimum by packing or having a designated place with snacks/food for everyone. Set the limit so that kids know, when it is gone, it is gone. (This works for adults too!)
  • Parents, make a game of cleaning up, see who can tidy the fastest. The winner gets an extra 10 minutes of screen time.
  • Plan positive rewards. Bake brownies for your amazing support team and make them thank you notes. Sure, it’s your partner and kids, but without their cooperation, you’ll have screaming as background music and tension instead of love at home.
  • Please give yourself grace about cooking from scratch and having all the laundry done. Sure, those are great goals, and maybe you can toss a load in while on a break or throw something in the crockpot. Ultimately you still are working and if you wouldn’t run home from work to do it, you probably won’t at home.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS:

  • This is a stressful time. Many are working from home for the first time and juggling kids and partners doing the same. This is not the time to reimagine your morning routine or to expect perfection in your habits. Trying to maintain the norms may be more than some can handle.
  • Be kind to yourself and your families. Try to work through any conflicts with a mentality of “how can we make this work”.
  • Get an invisible roommate/coworker who you can blame the random irritations on. “Cheryl keeps leaving her water glasses in every single room!” Pets work for this as well. “Miss Mim is back at the water fountain again. That Millie is wandering through the halls talking over everyone today!”
  • Try to laugh at least once a day... more is better. 
  • And ultimately, love each other. Feed each other with kind words, praise, and gratitude. You got this. 💜

 

AND FINALLY – WEARING PANTS IS A THING!

  • It helps so your pants will still fit! If you fail to wear those jeans, they may not fit after 2 weeks of eating quarantine snacks.
  • It helps if something spills on you, or you just need to get up to let the dog out and you jump up during that conference call. Yes, you can be seen on video calls! You've been warned!

 

We are all in this together. Social isolation can be difficult and working from home can be very isolating if you are used to working with a team or talking to clients or customers all day. Reach out to your support network. Don’t stop talking to your people.

We know that this is not a forever change but as we work through this new way of working temporarily. What can we learn from this process?

Let us know what your challenges are, what are you learning?

What can we take back to our teams and our “normal workday” to improve our effectiveness and efficiency?

We believe that from this we will see social change occur. What would you like to see happen that is a positive change for your life balance going forward?

Contributed by Kat Lovell Pejic and Karen Ness