When I wrote the first article about working from home due to Coronavirus, it was still optional. For many companies in many cities, working from home due to COVID-19 is now mandatory.
For those of us who have worked from home for years or are regulars at remote work, some of the things may seem, well, duh. But just like we may not be able to immediately fit into an in-office culture, we need to consider that others don't know how to immediately be productive from home, have good habits, or even be prepared with technology.
And in the end, this is not normal. Not for anyone. Even those who work from home now have our spouse around, not recognizing that yes, we do have a routine, and now you are harshing it!
Our kids do not understand that Dad or Mom at home doesn't mean it's dinner time or a weekday. Our teenager who is going to school virtually doesn't have the discipline to sit at the computer all day without being watched to make sure she isn't surfing.
I had so much positive feedback and responses from that article, I thought a bonus part two was in order. Here are six more tips for working from home effectively during the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation.
Three Technology Tips for Productive Leaders of a Remote Workforce
- Embrace tech, but not too much. Deciding on the fly to implement a Slack channel, Google Chat, Skype messaging, or some other service can quickly turn into instant message hell. As stated in my first article, over-communication is very common and can feel even more disruptive. I received several emails from my clients last week about how their inbox, text, and IM is blowing up. Use an IM channel, but have boundaries. Agree on hours it will be used (like office hours), and that people can be on Do Not Disturb or offline at specific points during the day, depending on their role.
- Use video. You are beautiful. Gorgeous even. Yes, you. I'm talking to you. I'm not talking to that black box on the screen because you don't want me to see your face on video. I see your face at the office, how much different can it be? Do you suddenly go home and turn into an ogre with giant warts and rotted teeth? Use your video unless you are doing it as a walking meeting and want to get fresh air. I prefer Zoom conferencing because it's super easy, inexpensive, has enterprise-level software, and allows me to share screens and take control if I need to.
3. Make good use of your 1:1s. Test out All Elements 1:1 service to make your meetings consistently human and productive. They are offering a free 14-day trial and are extending grace due to the pandemic. They wrote an excellent article on How to do your Best Work Remotely: Tips for Managers, Contributors and HR in their library.
Three Tips for Working From Home for Anyone
- Move your body. If you track your movement on a wearable, you may notice that you went from rabbit to snail in two days. That 82 step walk to the bathroom is now 12 steps. That 256 step walk to the cafeteria is now four steps because you're set up in your kitchen. Set a timer (Focusbooster is my timer of choice for many reasons. Use code Marcey2019 for 30% off any plan) and get up every 50 minutes, 90 max, to prevent glute amnesia.
- Standing Desk. A couple of my clients have gotten creative at home because they are used to their standing desks. I have used a standing desk for at least a decade (when I had to google medical cart to find one). An ironing board or table or books on top of a table can work in a pinch. Since this is going to be a longer time than just a couple of days, invest in something that will be more ergonomic.
If you need to move around your house because you are dodging spouses working from home and kids playing, use a FitDesk portable desk, sit-to-stand desk, or go all out and get a FitBike! I've reviewed the FitBike and desk mats here.
3. Learn a new habit. Use this time to do what you don't make time to do. Take the course, get your continuing education credits up to speed, and read the book you never have time for. I give CPEs for CPAs through two online platforms. I have one scheduled next week with CPA Academy and I expect it to fill up, not just because people may have time, but because it's about how to work remotely! I had two people email me last week about my online Work Well. Play More! Masterclass starting in April. I'm not postponing it because now is the time to start healthy and productive habits.
There you have it. A few more ideas to help you work productive and healthy from home. My business has shifted. I'm being requested for virtual webinars and am focusing on helping my coaching and corporate clients move into an all-remote world for now. The masterclass will be launching in April. My free, virtual Focus90 sessions are up for March and April to help people GSD as a virtual community. I don't have on the catastrophe glasses because it won't help me mentally, and I am limiting my news so I don't go into overload with information. I'm smart but not obsessed. It's a challenging time that is changing day to day. May you all be safe, healthy, and secure as the next few weeks unfold.
No High Fives, No Fist Bumps, but lots of virtual hugs.