Many of us are now required to transition from working in an office that is structured to scrambling to figure out how to work remotely. The idea is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. This can be an easy transition if you set yourself up for success. There are several things you need to consider before you begin.
First, let’s gain some perspective. When you first hear, “you need to work from home,” what do you picture in your mind? Some think of it as a Saturday morning – wearing PJs, stretched out on the couch, in front of the TV, drinking a cup of coffee, juggling your household duties, texting your friends, curling up with your pets, talking to your spouse and checking your work email from your laptop all at the same time. You can choose to do this, but it is not sustainable. You will ultimately stretch yourself too thin.
Instead, change your mindset to treat this opportunity the same way you would when you get a new job. As you leave your professional co-workers behind, you will transition to working with your family in the background. Children are home from school which may be loud and cause distractions or interruptions. Your family usually can have your attention when you are home. They need to learn how to be considerate during work hours. To get your work done as you did in your office, you will need to navigate these waters carefully to establish some ground rules for working at home. This is your new reality!
I am not going to lie; this can be very challenging. I was in your shoes ten years ago and have learned a lot along the way. The most important thing to understand is that you can get your work done and present yourself in a professional manner to your clients, while still showing your family love at the same time. This is the true definition of work/life balance.
Here are some tips for some success:
SETUP A PRODUCTIVE WORKSPACE
The first thing you need to do is to set up a workspace where you can feel productive. Keep your work papers as organized as you can. Invest in comfort as much as you can afford. Consider a stand-up desk. Find an ideal space is where you can close the door to shut out the noise from the rest of the house.
When you set up your computer, pay attention to the lighting, set up a nice-looking background considering what it will look like when you get on video. You will be amazed at how you can transform a space to look great from the camera. Test it out with your family and friends. Keep it clutter-free, clean, and professional looking.
Decide if you want to release your cell phone to your customers. There are ways you can transfer your work phone to your cell and visa versa. Keep this in mind when you return calls so that your customers do not have access to you 24/7.
VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOLS
Leverage the power of technology so you can work remotely. There are many options. We prefer Zoom as we find it easy to use. Zoom offers a free account that gives you up to 40-minute meetings. The paid version is also affordable. While we are practicing social distancing, this helps you feel connected to your team.
KEEP UP YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE
Realistically putting in an 8 hour day can be one of your biggest challenges. Map out your workday, providing time for breaks and lunch. Stick to what works for you, whether it be a to-do list, or a calendar, or a time tracking device. Be accountable for getting your work complete. One of the benefits of sticking to your routine is you will find that you won’t have to make up so often. This means working late into the night, getting up early in the morning or working on weekends or holidays to finish up your work if you are constantly interrupted by your family. Your quality of work will be better, and your family will appreciate you more.
When you have your spouse, young kids, pets at home, this can very challenging. Make it clear that just because you are home, this is a workday, not a play day. Give them something to occupy their time so you can focus. Establish rules so your family does not interrupt you while on a video conference or phone call with a client. It is embarrassing when you get unwelcome guest appearances on a video call. We have had funny and embarrassing moments over the years. It will take some adjustment, but it is possible.
Do not wear PJs to work. Force yourself to get dressed, shower, wear makeup, keep your routine the same as though you are going to a meeting. This will help you be in the right mindset, and you will be prepared to attend professional virtual meetings on camera.
Don’t let stress overwhelm you. Take care of yourself by taking a break. Go for a walk outdoors to get some fresh air and stretch. Take a lunch break, recharge your batteries, and check-in with your family.
To stay focused, I found that I needed to turn the TV off. Occasionally when I need to really focus, I will listen to classical music. Also, as hard as it is, I hold off on personal chores, phone calls, personal texts during the workday whenever possible.
LAST but not least, it takes time to adjust to working from home. Be flexible and give yourself some grace. With our unprecedented circumstances and uncertain future, it’s very important that you still perform at your best. Create a schedule, remove distractions, and teach your friends & family to respect your workspace as well as your workday.
One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to be flexible! This allows you to spend precious time with your family, but to juggle it all, you need to be willing to make up your work. Presenting yourself as a professional, getting your work done, and being there for your family will make you a successful work from home ROCKSTAR!
Team CBG sends our gratitude for our community and encourages all to be strong for each other. Your family and clients need your support now more than ever. Continue good hygiene, social distancing, and stay healthy. We are here to support you if you have questions on how to work remotely. Contact our team.