(A man sitting in a chair on a computer in his house)
These are unprecedented times. I don’t think anyone could have imagined this. We are all nervous and anxious about the future.
One of the things that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far is remote work. Social distancing has become a new norm. Because of what is going on, many companies have told their employees to work from home.
What does it mean when you work remotely?
Remote work simply means to work outside of a traditional office environment. Instead of commuting to an office each day you are forced to work from home.
If you are not used to working out of your home, the transition could be a difficult one. As a person who works out of my home, I can give you some tips that work for me and I believe can help you.
The first is to maintain regular hours. This is so important. If you need to work an 8-hour shift, make sure you set your alarm early enough to take care of yourself so you can begin working right at 8 AM.
Maintain a work routine. Set alarms at different times of the day to ensure you are completing all the objectives that you are tasked for.
Set ground rules with your spouse, children, or whomever you live with. Working remotely is not a party, you cannot do 50 things at once. You need to stay focused on your work. You can only see others in your home at breaks and lunchtime.
Schedule breaks. Maintain the same break schedule at home that you had at work. This is important. Everyone needs to regroup during the day.
Make sure you get some fresh air. Open the windows, go in your back yard or in front of your house for a couple of minutes during your break and lunch.
Create a designated space for yourself if you have the room. This is important as it will give you the separation of home and work.
Designate a phone number that your employer or colleagues can reach you at. It can be your cell or your home number (if you still have one). During work hours, other than your employer or colleagues, do no use your phone except on your breaks or lunch.
Stay positive. We as a society will get through this pandemic. There are a couple of important things you need to maintain. The first of course is your health, the second is your relationships and the third is your job.
Have an end of the day routine. For example, if your routine was going to the gym after work then fire up a Youtube exercise video after work and exercise. If you went grocery shopping, then do that. Keeping your routine as much as possible will help you get through all of this.
What Tools would you need to work at home?
Obviously, you need a computer and a good Internet connection. You may need to sign up for Google Docs, Slack, Stack Overflow for Teams, Trello, Hangouts, and Zoom.
What do you do if you have kids and you are now working remotely?
That changes a lot of what I wrote, doesn’t it! Maybe not. You still need to maintain your regular work hours. Employers will be empathetic towards you but the work still needs to be done. You need to figure that out.
Your work routine needs to be created at home with your children’s needs, doesn’t it? Do your best to engage your children more on your breaks. If both spouses are working remotely you can stagger your breaks and lunchtimes so at least one of you can focus on your children.
With children, it is much more difficult to designate a workspace for yourself. This is especially true if both you and your spouse are working remotely. Simply, you need to find whatever space you can and work.
If your job entails phone calls, people will understand if your children are speaking or even screaming in the background with the dog barking or cat meowing. Do not get upset about it. Simply inform the person or people you are speaking with that they may hear your children in the background.
Finally, take a deep breath. We all will get through this. We do not know what it will look like at the end of this tunnel. The only thing we know is that we are all going through this together. Try to stay as positive as you can. Stay home unless you need food or for a Dr.’s appointment. When you go out even for a short walk, please make sure to practice social distancing. The only thing that is going to stop this virus at this point is us keeping away from each other.