The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has more people than ever working remotely. Something that I have always said when hiring staff, "is not for everyone." Many may be trying to work from home for the first time, or at least every day remotely, not to mention with the kids in the mix with whole school districts closed.
I started STS Media, Marketing and Consulting Agency in 2008, another time of crisis in our country when the economy took a downturn, and many people were losing their jobs. At the time, I had five young children at home, two not yet in school. Through trial and error in the beginning, I came up with these tips to help manage the struggle of staying focused while working at home:
1. Set up a comfortable and professional space in which to work. Ergonomics are especially important at home. Find a balance between not being so comfortable you take a nap and not hurting your neck, back, and head from slumping.
2. Keep as close to your regular work schedule as you can. When your workday is over, unplug and let it be genuinely over, or you will never feel "at home" or present for your family at the end of the day. Failure to shut down has more than just an impact on your work stress, but your sleep and family dynamics as well.
2. Take breaks to eat and breathe. It is better not to snack while you work, instead schedule your break and eating times.
3. When you feel you are getting distracted, don't try fighting it mentally.
4. While yes, it is an amazing pleasure to work in your pajamas, dress the way that makes you feel as professional as you are. You never know when an impromptu video conference may be called, especially during this extended time of whole teams forced to work apart.
Working with children at home
1. It is important to communicate with your children, no matter how young, that you are working. That means that when you are on your computer answering an email, or texting with colleagues or clients, you are not ignoring them, but rather in a conversation with someone for your job. Let them know you will ask them to repeat what they needed when your thoughts are complete.
2. When you take your meal breaks, don't forget to feed them too;)
3. When those phone calls and impromptu video calls do happen, that is a good time to allow them to watch a movie or play video games in another room. Mute your call when you can if the noise is hard to control, but urge your children to be quiet during that time. By withholding the technology until you really need them distracted to be quiet and entertained, it gives them a reward to look forward to as well.
4. Plan something fun to do as a family a couple times a week after you have unplugged as a reward for their cooperation.
5. Let them know you are not trying to make them feel ignored by concentrating on your work when it is necessary, but rather this is how you provide for the family. It may be an opportunity for them to see what you do and appreciate how hard you work for them every day.
Best of luck during this time of uncertainty and navigating a different way of carrying out your employment. If you are a business owner, please feel free to forward these tips to your team. If there are any business services we here at STS Media, Marketing and Consulting Agency can help you get accomplished through this stressful time, please reach out to us, we are here to help at an affordable rate. After all, this business was founded in times like these. Entrepreneurs are resilient, you can get through this. Contact Rebecca for a complimentary consulting call to brainstorm strategies to keep your business going through the uncertainty, remote staffing and economic challenges.