Many of us have worked from home, at least periodically, for many years. However, this time there are added complexities: namely everyone else is home at the same time. While we love our kids, spouses and pets, we’re not used to sharing working and study spaces. Our sales & marketing team put together some tips to help you be your most productive during the shelter in place directives as we all do our part to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus.
- Set up your workspace.
Get the technology set up so you can work effectively and as ergonomically as possible. That might mean putting your laptop on a stack of books, so the monitor is at the right height, using a separate keyboard and mouse, or adding a noise canceling headphones for phone and video calls, and the household background noise. It could mean making sure the TV is moved to another room so your kids can take a break without interrupting you.
- Remove distractions.
If you’re distracted by messy counters take an extra 30 minutes in the morning to put everything away. Close the door if you have one. Shut the blinds so you can’t count the number of walks (FIVE!) your neighbor takes with their dog during the day.
- Treat it like a real workday.
Set a schedule, take a shower, put on real clothes, start your day with a task list. The more organized you are the more you’ll accomplish. Don’t forget to schedule breaks and make sure to incorporate a bit of exercise or stretching. We recommend a 10-minute break every two-hours, and at least 30 minutes for lunch. I have been using the extra breaks to teach my dogs a new trick – this has the added benefit of making them tired and less likely to interrupt me. I also downloaded a workout app with 7-minute workouts so I can take a break between meetings or at lunch. One colleague set a timer to reminder her to walk five minutes on the treadmill every hour. Another set up a cool walking desk with a platform for her laptop on the arms of the treadmill. (You know who you are!)
- Establish boundaries.
Share your schedule with your family so they know when you’ve got your head down working, and when you have breaks. Work with your family to prepare tasks they can do to occupy themselves while you’re busy. This is especially important before a phone or video conference call. Let the kids “earn” extra screen time. Then schedule it during your important meetings. Tip: Make them feel like they negotiated you into the extra time. Set up a basket with snacks so your kids and spouse can self-serve. I always have a frozen peanut butter stuffed Kong on hand for my dogs for those important calls.
- Stay in touch.
It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re used to working as part of a team. Make sure to check in with your teammates to offer support or just to bounce ideas off each other. Some of my most productive time in the past week has been the brainstorming sessions with colleagues. Thanks team!
- Be creative.
Take advantage of the extra time with your loved ones. Could you move some of your work to after the kids are in bed? Take an extra hour to work on a project with them during the day? Have lunch with the family? Or take a walk – with the proper social distance? You shouldn’t feel guilty moving some of your workday away from normal work hours. You might find 9-10 PM is your most productive hour. Use it to work on the forecast, plan tomorrow’s action items, or write an article for the company blog.
- Augment your skills.
Take an online class to brush up on skills or learn something new. I’ve seen offers from lots of organizations and universities, offering online training – many are offering free courses while we’re sheltering in place. Share tips with your colleagues and friends.
Don’t forget to end your workday. One of the great benefits of working from home is the 30-second commute. Take advantage of the extra time by scheduling some fun activities with your family. Play a game, create a lego challenge, watch old sitcoms, post a video of the dog’s new trick, make dinner together, call your neighbors and family to check in.
We’d love to hear how you are coping with the extra time at home. Send your tips to us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.
Kimarie Wolf, Director of Global Marketing