We are in uncertain and stressful times. As the world focuses on slowing the spread of COVID-19, life at home doesn’t stop; and in many cases, is even more challenging than ever as we prioritize the health of our families, care for children home from school, co-work with spouses, remotely engage with colleagues and care for communities on the edge.
While we can’t speak to the overwhelming unrest and anxiety this pandemic is bringing into our lives, we can hopefully help in a small way, by sharing tips on how to work home. Collectively, our team has worked remotely for 20+ years and found the following concepts to be helpful. We encourage you to read below, rest up, stay healthy and care for one another.
Sarah, Grant, Jessica & Jeremy
- Make a schedule and stick to it. In normal circumstances, we’re big fans of using our calendars to block meetings, calls, work-time, and personal appointments. When at home, especially when it’s not the norm, it’s even more important to build a routine and follow-it. Plan out when you’ll review the quarterly report, check-in with a colleague and take a break for lunch. Distractions are everywhere (suggestion: turn off social media notifications), so be purposeful in spending your time “at work”.
- Start strong. Spending the day working remotely is not the same as that one magical snow day you had in 3rd grade. It can be difficult to differentiate “work-days” from other days when all are spent at home. The solution, set an alarm for the same time each day, take a shower, get dressed and “go to work”. No, you don’t need to throw on that power suit, but avoid wearing your fluffy bunny PJs on a conference call with your boss. How you dress and structure your morning can put you in the right mindset to have a productive day. Similarly, be intentional to log off at the end of the day. While we can check email on our phones, it’s healthy and important to disconnect–allow yourself to fully be present with family, call a friend, dive into a good book or binge watch a trashy tv show.
- Create space. If possible, designate a space for work that you can consistently return to, and then equally important, avoid during non-work time. This is hard for those of us in cramped spaces (hello NYC friends!), but even designating a slice of your dining room table to “work” can help create physical and emotional space between work and the rest of your life. Treat your space like you would your desk at work; keep your favorite snacks or hand lotion in the drawer, put a plant on the surface.
- Stay out of the kitchen. You’re not hungry, you’re bored. Trying having a glass of water.
- Take breaks. If you’re used to working in an office, you may not realize how often you get up, move, and walk during the day. Trips to the water cooler, meetings in conference rooms, and lunches at the corner deli all give you a mental and physical break. Without those natural touchpoints, working from home can lead to long hours in one spot. Not only is this rough on the body, your brain needs chances to reset. Add to your calendar or set a timer reminding you to stand up frequently and take breaks from screens. Try a free Pomodoro system app to remind you to take short breaks. Go for a walk, water the plants, complete a 5 minute workout routine, have a dance party, play with the dog, mediate–whatever you need to recharge.
- Communicate your schedule. Even if this is not your first foray into working from home, it may be the first time there are others in the house while you do so. If others are around (partner, kids, etc.) make sure that they know when you’re available to them, and when you’re not. Something as simple as door open, I’m available, door closed, I’m not. This can help minimize distractions