Over the course of the last four weeks, millions of Americans have found themselves working from home. If you or your team is new to working from home, you might agree that it’s been a bumpy transition from work office to home office. It may be weeks or months before we’re back in our usual work spaces again, so we asked our staff members—from totally new to highly seasoned at the “work from home” experience—to share some of their best telework tips to help you make sense of your new work from home routine.
- Be flexible and gentle with yourself when plans change. Give yourself time and patience. We’re all adapting. A designated home work area is different from your usual office space. You might be missing monitors, printers, and other amenities that your office might typically provide. Make do with what you have and eliminate tasks that aren’t urgent.
- Create a comfortable work area, and do your best to keep it separate from home distractions. It’s important to establish a space in your home that you’d be comfortable working from for a majority of the day. If you have the space to set up a room as an office, that’s great. If your space is small, consider smaller shifts, like making sure your work and leisure computer use happens in separate chairs. This will help you be clear about when you’re “on the clock” versus “off.”
- Develop a weekly workplan. Know what you will be focusing on and share it with your team members. Make sure to balance your goals and intentions with adaptability in these rapidly-changing times.
- Plan breaks. Establish a work routine just as you would if going into the office. Plan lunch breaks and other daily activities around your schedule. Get up and stretch when you notice that you’ve been in front of your screen for a long time.
- Create a daily to-do list. Block out chunks of time for concentrated work, follow ups, check-ins or collaborative work. Scheduling time to focus on a complex task that demands concentration is a great strategy to move a project forward. Being flexible with the schedules of others and tasks that were not anticipated are also good considerations.
- Schedule active time. It can be challenging to separate home and work life. Set aside intentional time that you can step away from your work space and cut down your screen time.
- Maintain your work email calendar. Does your team use Outlook, Gmail, or other online calendars? Consider sharing staff calendars to make for easy video conference scheduling. Don’t forget to block out times that you will be busy or away from your work area.
- Communication is key. Connect with your manager and team often. Use video conference, email, or schedule a phone meeting. As a faster way to connect, consider if texting is an appropriate tool for your office culture.
- Maintain office morale. Schedule a virtual happy hour, morning staff huddles, and other informal time for team members to connect—but don’t make it mandatory. You want to give opportunities, not create obligations.
- Embrace whole personhood – Folks are navigating child care schedules, helping kids with e-learning, taking care of sick loved ones, and trying to get outside and get some fresh air. Offer yourself and others empathy, and don’t get lost in only thinking about productivity. We are whole people. Adapting takes time and looks different for everyone.
Looking for More Telework Resources? Check out some of our go tos:
- The Complete Remote Work Playbook from LifeLabs Learning
- Crowdsourced National Remote Work Strategies
- Remote Working Video
- Remote Work Quickstart from Move Minneapolis
- Employers Policy Example
- Telework Statistics
Whether you’re a telework professional, or you’re just getting the hang of this today, we hope you found these tips helpful, and incorporate some new things into your daily routine. Keep the conversation going! Share with us which tips worked for you, and offer your own recommendations on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.