The day has finally arrived, you are working from home full-time! Are you out of your pajamas yet? Have you at least brushed your teeth, eaten breakfast, fed the cat? You may respond by saying you don’t have any video calls, so it doesn’t matter if you have combed hair or fresh breath, and the kitchen is within arm’s reach so it doesn’t matter if you eat regular meals or have now moved onto snacking throughout the day and sharing your food with the cat. Well, for your own well-being, go take a shower, feed the cat, and then come back to reading this article…
…don’t you feel better and ready for the day?
Working from home sounds great, but it takes discipline and practice for the transition to be successful. Below are a few tips from the Lake Effect team on working remotely.
- Set Up A Workspace. If you don’t have a designated home office, create a separate place that is considered your “workplace” with minimal disruptions, even if it is temporary and used for other things later in the day. If the space is used for other things or even visible later in the day, try to pack up or tidy the area to transition back to home life. Jenn likes to be extra tidy and hides her phone charger in a secret hiding place, so her son doesn’t “mistakenly” think it’s his!To minimize distractions from family members, consider creating and communicating your schedule or times that you will be available to them. Leann and her husband tag team parenting and working from home. When one is WFH, the other is the main parent contact for the kids.
If you don’t have the background noise and miss the noise of an office, try finding music that you can work to. Hannah finds it easier to focus to upbeat instrumental hip hop playlist when working from home.
- Create A Routine. Start your day as if you were commuting to work – pick up the house, prep healthy snacks for your workday, shower and eat breakfast away from your workspace. Make a realistic schedule for your day so when you are ready to begin the day you have a plan – those distractions will be minimized if you have a plan. Be compassionate with yourself if at first those distractions win and you don’t stick to your schedule. Sometimes, the list looks more manageable the night before or early in the morning than when the day actually rolls out.Remember to step away from work during the day to stretch, get some fresh air and to give your eyes a break from the computer screen. When Tricia works from home, she tends to create a list and tackles at least a certain number of tasks or works for a certain amount of time and then will move around the house to switch laundry, eat lunch or empty the dishwasher.
Without a commute, you may have an additional hour in your day. How can you use this time to create a healthy habit? Can you convert the “drying rack” back to a treadmill and start walking 30 minutes every day, read business related books, or add a morning yoga/meditation routine? Jane and Sheila exercise with their kids and dogs to burn some energy and take a break from emails and virtual classes. This may also be a great way to end your day and flip the switch from work to home.
- Communicate Your Schedule/Availability to Your Coworkers. Working with and being available to your team is still essential when working remotely. If you are using tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack to collaborate, make sure you are logged in and available to your coworkers while you are working. When the Lake Effect team sees each other online in the morning, we send a quick ‘good morning’ message to each other just like if we were arriving in the office. Of course, as Peggy will tell you, our texts start much earlier. If you aren’t proficient in using these tools, believe us, it gets easier each time!If you have “left the office” for the day, honor your time away from work. When work is just a few steps away, it is easy to take a minute, which can turn into an hour, to respond to an email. Balancing time with yourself, your family and friends is essential during this time.
- Pick Up the Phone or Initiate a Video Chat with Your Coworkers. Texting and email are efficient ways to communicate a direct message but calling or initiating a video chat with your coworker may be a more effective approach to discuss and solve more complicated issues. It also provides an opportunity for a social interaction, all while practicing social distancing, and your coworker may even have a Netflix or book recommendation for you! At Lake Effect, we have an ongoing list of book, movie and TV show recommendations in Teams.
- Put Down the Cookies and Get Moving. You know this has happened already, especially if you are working close to the kitchen! By prepping your snacks and meals at the beginning of the week or day, just as you would if you went to the office, the cookies and chips will be less tempting – okay, probably not less tempting but you have set yourself up for successful, healthy habits! Also take time to work out and decompress each day. If the sun is shining, go soak it up!!!
We are all wired differently when it comes to our preferred work styles and what works for us when working remotely. Knowing how you work best can help in your success to work remotely or in the office. If you have taken your Everything DiSC Workplace, pull out your profile or log in to www.myeverythingdisc.com and review your Motivators/Stressors. For those of you who need a refresher or may not be familiar with DiSC (a personal assessment tool to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication), here is one motivator of each style: (D) multi-tasking, (i) teamwork, (S) steady pace, (C) clear guidelines. Using these motivators as an example, a person with a preferred style of i may want to consider scheduling time throughout the day to work with other team members. As we are all navigating our new WFH situation, make sure you are asking your coworkers and your supervisor for what you need to be successful in the workplace.
Stay well, be kind, and grant each other grace. If you see a coworker struggling with working from home, reach out and share your best practices.
The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to assist and advise if you have questions related to engaging your remote team or learning more about DiSC. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-844-333-5253.