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9 Tips To Consider While Working At Home During COVID-19

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Eric Charette's picture
Senior Vice President & Executive Consultant GridBright

Mr. Eric J. Charette currently serves as a Senior Vice President and Executive Consultant for GridBright.  Previously, Eric was part of the Hexagon leadership team in the role of...

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  • Apr 13, 2020
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These are unprecedented times.

A little over a month ago I was traveling for work. We were shaking hands with colleagues. Kids were in school and restaurants were open for sit down business. And then our world flipped upside down as the reality of COVID-19 set in.

Since then, most states have issued stay at home orders and closed all non-essential businesses. Planes have stopped flying. Hotels, navy ships and sports stadiums have been converted to medical facilities. Hospitals are at max capacity with COVID-19 patients as we are still not yet at the top of the curve in the United States. First responders don masks and personal protective equipment and put their lives on the line to keep us safe as America is afraid to leave our homes.

Amidst this unbelievable series of events, businesses are trying to remain afloat with some sense of normalcy. Those who can work from home, are doing so. This poses its own challenges for those who have never worked from home, or who have young children who need care while conference calls are taking place.

Having worked from home for several years, the stay at home order was not as life changing to me as it has been to others. But I thought I would take the time to provide some advice for those who may be struggling with the working from home as the new normal.

  1. Create a routine and stick to it. For some people, this means taking a shower, getting dressed and commuting into your home office with a cup of coffee. When everyday feels like a Tuesday, it is important to having a routine that works for you that simulates being in the office. This will help you to be most productive.
  2. Start each day with list. Before you check a single email, create a plan for the day. Having a list that you can check off tasks as you complete them will help to feel productive and focus on the most important work only.
  3. Minimize distractions. Working from home is not an excuse to binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix while you check you emails. Certainly it is OK to make time for certain household chores like throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, but constant disruptions will hurt your focus.  Working from a dedicated space will help to minimize distractions.
  4. Treat your spouse like a co-worker. You don’t want to be know as the social butterfly in the office who comes in and sits down, so don’t do that at home. Respect that your spouse may also be working from home and has his/her own schedule of meetings. Knock first!
  5. Get some fresh air. It is OK to take a casual meeting out on the back patio. Listen to a Webinar or a UDEMY course while walking around the neighborhood. If you were in the office you might take a break to talk around the lake, so why not do the same from home? It may actually spark your creative juices or simply rejuvenate you for the rest of the day.
  6. Be understanding of others. For some people, working from home is brand new. There is going to be a brief period where productively is lower while people get used to working from home. Be understanding during these times and lenient on deadlines.   And if a dog barks in the background or a baby is crying, try to overlook it.
  7. Close your office door at the end of the day. Working hours can have a blurry start and end time when you have a home office. It is so easy to take just one more call or respond to just one more email.  Just as you have a routine, try to set regular working hours and when the day is over, close the door – either literally or figuratively. 
  8. Communicate like never before. Most office communication is either via email or instant messages. But now that people are working from home, they no longer have the social interaction that comes with the in-person conference room meeting. Pick up the phone and call someone who you would normally send a text message. Focus on building new relationships with people with video chats. For someone who might be struggling to work from home, a phone call just might be what they need to get thru a tough day.
  9. Understand your limitations. Working home is not for everyone. Be sure to talk to your boss regularly so they know what you are able to get done and were you may be struggling. 

This will not last forever. Soon restrictions will ease, and we will return to the grocery story and eventually to the office. But until then, remember that we are all in this together, separately. Be kind and patient. 

Eric Charette's picture
Thank Eric for the Post!
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