Working Effectively From Home?

Shawnee Love   •   April 2, 2020

This blog is for those able to work from home during Covid-19. Those people rather unceremoniously banned from the office and all the tools, resources and information at their fingertips and having to figure out how to be productive at home amidst children, pets, concerned friends and neighbours, social media, and the looming fear of whether their jobs are safe in the long run.

These are crazy stressful times and while the ability to work from home is something to be grateful for (many more are laid off and have no work to distract them), learning how to work amidst the chaos and stress of the current situation is very challenging for many workers.

Here are some practical tips we hope will help you shine at remote working:

  1. Get up at a regular time each workday.
  2. Have a morning routine for getting ready for work. I like to do yoga or meditate, shower, get dressed (ready for video or phone conferences) and eat breakfast.
  3. Set a work (and break) schedule and follow it. Here’s one of mine as an example:
    1. 8:30-9:00 Check and respond to email as well as have your daily huddle (could be with a client, colleagues or boss)
    2. 9:00 -10:00  Project work
    3. 10:00-10:30 Break by walking the dog (but can also read a book or magazine article, stretch, snack, hop on a bike, prepare supper, clean the kitchen, etc.)
    4. 10:30- 11:00 Return calls
    5. 11:00-12:00 Project work
    6. 12:00-12:30  Lunch (time for food and maybe a walk around the block)
    7. 12:30-1:00 Check and respond to email and social media
    8. 1:00-2:15 Project work
    9. 2:15-2:30 Break (time to get out of my head with a funny video or calling a family member or friend)
    10. 2:30-2:45 Respond to email and calls (ideally pick up the phone or video conference to keep connected with colleagues)
    11. 2:45-4:00 Project work
    12. 4:00-5:00 Prepare list of priorities for tomorrow, return calls, final review of social media and emails to ensure loose ends are closed for the day.
  4. Leverage time tracking and to do lists to help maintain focus on what needs to be done during your work day. Never underestimate the boost of checking off a completed task.
  5. Communicate with your manager and/or clients regarding your schedule, questions about the work or obstacles you may have as well as any remote work needs you may have technology wise.

Finally, the current stresses are taking their toll, as evidenced by the inquiries about resources for mental health and conflict resolution. Please remember we all need a bit of grace. To that end, I encourage everyone to:

  • Assume most respectful intent. I.e., if someone doesn’t get back to you or seems a bit curt, remember messages don’t always convey the full meaning. Assume they are doing their best and merely circle back.
  • Avoid social media.  Not only is it a larger time suck than you know, but in these challenging times, there is so much misinformation that can distract and create fear where it isn’t necessary. If your job involves social media, set time frames around using it to help manage your mental health as well as priorities.
  • Take care of yourself outside of work. Do the things that enable you to be healthy and well.  If you need extra help, here are a couple good online resources:

If you need further assistance with working remotely including remote work agreements, policies, tools or strategies, please let us know.