If COVID-19 has relocated you from the office to your kitchen table for the time being, you’re not alone. Many employers are mandating that employees work remotely as the outbreak of Corona Virus spreads.  Before you resign yourself to elastic-wasted pants and Netflix binges for the foreseeable future, LIFT’s Executive Director of Client Services, Amber Moore has put together some tips to boost your productivity and your mental well-being during this challenging time.

You just got the call.

You’ll be working from home until further notice.

Don’t panic!

Here are 5 tips to make your virtual work experience, work for you:

  1. Find your space. Our homes are full of distractions.  There’s the pile of laundry, the news on TV, the dishes in the sink, the spouse who just wants to ask one little question, 12 times a day.  And of course, if you have kids, they’re famous for ignoring boundaries. Here’s what you do:
    • Create a space where you feel comfortable working
    • Somewhere other than a room with lots of foot traffic
    • Your space needs good lighting and solitude

WARNING:  Avoid trying to work from your bed or in front of the TV – you’ll think you can do it, but at the end of the day, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get anything done!

  1. Plan for the camera. Video conferences are a part of the virtual office experience and help people stay focused and connected. When it’s your time to shine on camera, wear clothes that resemble your office vibe (avoid the grungy, slept in tee shirt look) and make sure your background doesn’t steal the scene! If dirty laundry and cleaning supplies are part of your set, think more about production values.
  2. Follow a schedule. For most of us, getting and staying on a schedule virtually is tough. So, for your own sanity, and your family’s, share a schedule so that everyone knows when you’re on and when you are off the clock.  Have a family/roommate meeting, explain that you aren’t on vacation and share your plan. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if people stop by, ask for help or just chat. Your schedule should also include time for meals and breaks.  Go get some fresh air and take Fido for a walk.
  3. Don’t forget to collaborate! These are tough times, made harder by the very thing that’s supposed to save us – social isolation. Because you are working on your own when working on your own – don’t let this happen to you. Become a digital connector and be the one that gets people collaborating virtually.  Schedule daily or weekly check-in meetings to ensure everyone’s voices are heard and use collaboration to digitally bridge the social distance you’ve been asked to physically maintain.
  4. Get your family involved. Working from home is challenging for all involved, you and those around you. If you live with family members or roommate, they’ll be doing a lot of adjusting too and you’ll need their help to be successful. For example, during times you’ll be on a virtual meeting, discourage others in your home from doing high-bandwidth activities that may impact your audio and video quality.

As the only worker in your virtual office, you are a virtual lock for employee of the month (every month).

So, set an example by helping others whenever you can.

We’re all in this together and together we can get past this!

Oh, and put on some pants… seriously.