Answered By: APUS Course Materials
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2020     Views: 184

 

 

Springshare has put together a list of tips to help create a more successful work from home experience.

 

Communication

 

  • Stay in touch in real time with chat, online meetings (with or without video), and/or phone calls.
  • Always assume good intentions from others. Text conversations don't have the same social cues as in-person; it's best to stay positive and clarify meaning when needed.
  • Keep your chat status updated to let folks know whether or not you're available, or if you are working on multiple things at once, to help set expectations for response times.
  • Set up "random / water cooler" and/or other non-work, topic-based channels (like recipes, crafts, funny memes) in whatever chat service you use, so there's a dedicated spot for non-work conversations.
  • Use online meetings for occasional social meet ups, too, like you might have in the staff room for coffee or lunch. Turn your cameras on for these. Seeing faces helps with feeling connected!
  • Look for tools that allow you to work together asynchronously, like Google Docs, Office 365, etc.

 

Define your space

 

  • Have a dedicated work space in your home, if at all possible. If not, find a way to let others at home know you are in work mode.
    • Visual cues help let others know if it's okay - or not - to interrupt you: actual signs, headphones, or even hanging a curtain in a hallway.
    • If you and a partner / roommate are both home, consider sharing a dedicated workspace in shifts, so you each have some "office time."
  • Stick to your normal start and end times, if possible. If not, set a regular schedule that works with your household.
  • Good posture and ergonomically sound work spaces are key for both working and self-care. Look for tips online to help you adjust current home or office furniture to make it work for you.
  • Separate work vs. personal computer settings. If you're currently using the same computer for both work and personal life, set up different browser accounts, so you're not mingling work and personal settings / accounts. That way you'll have fewer distractions at work and less work intrusion when away for the day.
  • Put work away at the end of your scheduled day. Whether you close an office door, put a laptop in a case, or simply put away your headphones, having a way to symbolically declare you are "done" is helpful. Then walk out of the room, even if it's just for a few minutes.

 

Self care

 

  • Stick to a routine. Keep your bedtime / wake time consistent; if you always showered and made coffee before going to work, stick to that.
  • Get dressed, but take advantage of being comfortable by wearing cozy clothes and comfy slippers / socks. It's also great to have "working in pjs" time, but getting dressed goes a long way toward feeling more normal.
  • Eat healthy foods and at regular times to keep your energy up!
  • Get up and move around! Get outside if you can. Set alarms or use apps to remind you, if need be. It's easy to lose track of time when working from home!
  • Consider a standing desk, whether you work that way all day or as a break from sitting.
  • Drink water! Fill a large water bottle or bring a pitcher & glass with you to your work space.
  • Find your stress reducers. Whether it's petting your dog or cat, going out for a walk, taking some time for yoga, or doing a crossword puzzle, find things you like to do to reduce your stress throughout the day.

 

Working with distractions

 

Pets, kids, partners, and roommates are all things you're used to working without. Since they are now part of your daily work day, here are some ideas to help get everyone through!

Regardless of the type of distraction, the biggest tips we can share are: work with it and be kind to yourself. Distractions are going to happen. All we can do is find ways to reduce the associated stress when they happen.

Pets: Create a play space for your pets. Use what you have to create activities for them, like creating a snuffle mat to search for treats, digging out toys they haven't used for a while, or creating a DIY cat tower.

Partners / Roommates:

  • Work together on a schedule to figure out work & meeting times.
  • Plan for meals you will be sure to eat together.
  • Be mindful of cleaning up after yourselves.
  • Take breaks together.
  • Don't keep the news on all day.

Children:
Kids are home and are going to distract your work time no matter how many closed doors or signs there are. It's okay. This is hard for them, too!

  • Step away for a few minutes to see what they're doing or give them a hug. It makes a huge difference...for both of you!
  • Create a (flexible) schedule; use a rewards system for sticking to it, if that works for you / your kids.
  • Have some "parent and me" time set up throughout the day. Let them know when it is, they're sure to look forward to it!
  • For younger kids, do an hourly hug or high five; they're less likely to understand why you can't just be with them all day.
  • Eat meals & snacks together.
  • Set up virtual play dates with friends.
  • If you have an important call or meeting, try to plan for your partner to be with them / take them for a walk. If that's not an option, let the people you are on with know. These are unique times and people will understand.

 

Taking the lead

 

  • Provide encouragement and assurance, communicate regularly, and try to stay positive for the benefit of the team.
  • Talk with your staff and let them know you understand their unique situation. Work together to come up with a plan that works for everyone.
  • Be flexible. This is new territory for everyone, so it's important:
    • to know that workflows you set up initially may need to change somewhat, as you all figure out how to do things remotely;
    • that your colleagues feel that it is okay to deal with the inevitable interruptions (kids, pets, more cooking than you'd normally need to do, etc.). You are very likely dealing with interruptions, too!
  • Encourage feedback & ideas from your staff around how to stay connected and work more effectively in this environment. This helps build trust, confidence, and buy-in around new processes.
  • Create a central location for documents, logins, tools, etc., your staff will need to be successful.
  • If you are using a chat tool, set up custom statuses (if that's an option).
  • Consider a fun online team exercise or discussion to help everyone feel connected. Around here we love to do "2 Truths and a Lie" quizzes about our colleagues, periodically share pictures of our workspaces, and hold regular AMA (ask me anything) chats where we get to know each Springy a little better.

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