Written by Marsha Hystead
For so many of us, working from home is a new experience. I’ve gone to the office every day for almost forty years. I love going to the office! As an extreme extrovert, feeding off others’ energy is a real thing for me.
Beginning this new adventure last Tuesday stretched my concentration and productivity muscles further than I could have imagined. In fact, day one was a real struggle. By 3 p.m. that day, I was crawling the walls and determined to make the next day a better experience. And, it has been better. Every day gets easier.
So, even after just one week, I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful to those of you who are just beginning this new journey. I hope they help you.
Things I’ve learned working from home for a week.
1. Dress like you’re going to the office—or like your coworkers are coming over. For me, that means putting on makeup, lipstick, and earrings. The first day or two, I dressed for home and it made me act more like I was at home than at work. These daily rituals are important in this time of crazy changes.
2. Set up a regular spot in your home or apartment designated as “the office.” Work from here and steer clear from it when the workday is over. If you have certain things near you at the office, bring them into this workspace as well. Hand lotion, tissues, coffee (of course), a water bottle, a blanket or shawl, a music source (if that helps you) and anything else that makes you feel comfortable.
3. Establish an online way to connect with your coworkers. At Hailey Sault, we use Google Hangouts. I know Zoom, Skype and others can also be effective.
4. Designate a time each morning to hold an all-team video check-in. We meet every morning at 9 a.m. and share what we’re all up to each day. Folks reach out if they need help and, in turn, others offer it up. Continue video meetings all day—seeing each other’s faces and hearing each other’s voices will keep us sane. I promise.
5. Make a list of what you want to accomplish each day. This helps me stay focused and have a feeling of accomplishment when I get to check things off the list.
6. Schedule a video check-in with at least two coworkers, just because. Connecting for five minutes does wonders for my mental health, and even makes me more productive. Extrovert or introvert, this works for everyone.
7. Get up and walk around every half hour or so. We all do this at the office and we need to be intentional about it now. It’s easy to forget that our bodies need to move around or our muscles get tight and our joints get achy. Also, look out a window regularly, if you can. Our pupils need to be flexible and staring at our screens all day isn’t good.
8. Do a short workout, if you can break away for 15–30 minutes. Take a walk outside or try my favorite at-home workout, Yoga with Adrienne. You will find these videos on YouTube (she has over 500) and they come in every length, ability, and need you can imagine. She’s focused more on stress reduction lately.
9. Whatever you do, don’t put a jigsaw puzzle or board game on the same table you’re using as a desk. I made this mistake last week and it is a HUGE distraction.
10. Finally, schedule a final all-team check-in late Friday afternoon. Toast each other for surviving the week. Celebrate accomplishments and share weekend plans. It really is a sweet way to show gratitude that everyone is safe and that someday the world will right itself again.
I’d be interested in knowing what is working for you. It sounds like we may be doing this for a while, so let’s share best practices.