At this point, many employees across the country are working from home for the foreseeable future.
Even as states reopen and the economy starts to wake up, many companies worldwide are requesting, encouraging, or allowing (as the case may be) their workers to stay home. Twitter kicked off the trend to allow remote work indefinitely, but all kinds of companies are following suit.
But this means that your temporary home office setup on your ironing board is not going to cut it long-term.
That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to working from home to help you make this next phase as hassle-free as possible (no promises, though — 2020 has already proven itself to be a doozy).
For the managers working from home
Congratulations! You now have to learn to manage a team of completely remote workers — while working remotely yourself!
Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, especially when you have a team of workers you can count on.
Check out Megan’s advice for managing a remote team. She explains that the ultimate goal is keeping your team productive, motivated, and happy — all while keeping your own sanity, too.
Her biggest recommendations include valuing communication, investing in automation, and encouraging downtime. But if you’ve got any other tips or stories from personal experience, we’d love to hear them!
For the parents working from home
About six weeks ago, I interviewed some moms from across the country about their best tactics for working from home with children in the mix.
Like these moms and all parents right now, you’re probably enjoying the extra time with your little ones — but also REALLY needing a break.
They told me they’ve had struggles with:
- Switching from “mom brain” to “work brain”
- Keeping the kids busy
- Dealing with the emotional toll of it all
- Having time to focus on work
- Homeschooling (!!)
But they also provided some advice they’ve been given and ways that they’ve managed to curb some of the stress of working from home with kids. You can find the entire interviews and recommendations in this blog, but some of the best pieces of advice included:
- Remembering that messes will always be there, and to go easy on yourself;
- Allowing yourself time to find the rhythm that works for your family; and
- Setting an example for your kids by expressing your moods and emotions in healthy ways
The transition to remote work can be incredibly difficult — even for those of us who chose remote work before the pandemic.
(You can read the stories of some newly remote workers around the world in this blog.)
And if you’re reading this article, you’re probably already working from home. However, it’s never too late to introduce some best practices into your routine, especially if you’re expecting to be working remotely for a while.
The Three C’s of Remote Work
(Yes, I just made that up, but yes, I’m sticking to it.)
The key to any successful long-distance relationship is communication, and that goes for a work relationship, as well. Keeping your coworkers and your supervisors up-to-date on what you’re working on, what you’ve finished, and any problems you’re encountering is the best way to ensure everyone is on the same page. Our team uses group Zoom calls once a week, as well as individual calls when necessary, and Slack for communication throughout the day.
WHOO HOO! Being at home all day means you can wear your pajamas all day! … Well, yes and no. Yes, you should definitely allow yourself to be more comfortable, but there are serious benefits to maintaining a feeling of professionalism. Set up a designated office space (i.e., not the couch), and try to wear “real” clothes as often as you can to keep your head in the game.
Working remotely definitely has its challenges. As a large portion of America’s workforce is working from home, people have been realizing how much they enjoy the watercooler chat, or grabbing a bite to eat with coworkers. It’s important to try to keep up a sense of community while working from home. You can do this through weekly calls mentioned above, group chats, or even designated relaxation times (Zoom happy hours or coffee date phone calls work nicely, even while social distancing).
You could also try virtual coworking, at least until it’s safe for coworking spaces in your area to open back up. Additionally, there’s a lot going on in the world right now. COVID-19 and racial injustice are leading to all kinds of uncertainty. Check in on your coworkers, your employees, and your friends.
What else you can do to improve your work-life balance
Get some plants! Yes, people like plants because they make your office (or any space) look good. But it’s also been proven that plants improve your mental health, increase creativity, and provide a cleaner, air-purified workspace! Our team’s personal plant expert has all the advice you need on growing your office garden in this blog.
Stay active! Whatever that means to you, do it. For some people, maintaining a regular gym / running / home workout routine is the best way to let loose some tension. For others, an evening walk around the block with Fido is all they need to get themselves moving. Whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever you have time for, give it a go. Making sure to get some movement in after sitting at your home office all day is really important to keeping your energy up. Plus — you should be trying to leave the house at least once a day, anyway!
Create a routine. Just because you don’t have a commute or a designated lunch time doesn’t mean that you should let yourself be totally free all day, either. Create a routine that works for you. That could mean waking up early to get some work in before the rest of the house wakes up, or working in pajamas until you’ve had your coffee, or taking a midday nap to recharge you for the afternoon. Seriously — whatever works best for you, just do it and stick to it!