4 Essential Coronavirus Tips for Working From Home

I know you’re receiving messages and emails by the minute regarding the risks, status, and unknown’s of the Coronavirus.  These times may feel uncertain and bring up fear of the future so I am wishing you health, safety, and the peace of taking each day one at a time. By now you may be required to work from home full time for the health and safety of you and your colleagues.  If your organization has not yet addressed this please feel free to ask to work from home if you don’t feel comfortable traveling!

I want to support you in feeling confident in your job and your ability to work during this time.  Many organizations have work from home policies that you can reference for best practices but to be honest there are many industries, CEO’s, businesses and roles that don’t allow for typical work from home.

So, if you’re wondering how to ensure you’re able to be productive, manage your commitments, feel safe in your job, and actually get work done being at home full time (especially with children) here are 4 helpful tips.

  1. Set working hours
    Despite fears some managers have that people who work from home are snoozing on the couch and scrolling through Instagram, most people work more effectively and longer hours when working from home.  Allow yourself to create a work day at home – hours you’ll accept calls, respond to emails, take breaks/lunch etc.  This will help you set healthy boundaries for yourself, your family, and your future.Notice if you have a fear that you’ll be labeled as unproductive if you’re not “always on” and be clear with your manager when you plan to be working, while at home.  The better boundaries you set while working from home (i.e. not always working!) the easier it will be for you to transition back to the office and not resume the longer hours to keep pace.
  2. Talk to your boss, family and/or roommates
    If you’ll be working from home more regularly than in the past, now is the time to ask your boss for a weekly check in call or suggest sending an end of week “recap” email in regards to project updates, deadlines, challenges, questions etc.  Engage your boss and ask them what works best – team calls, video Zoom meetings, emails, or Slack? It’s important you’re in regular communication with your boss – not to prove you are working- but to ensure you get your questions answered, avoid potential conflict, make decisions, and be proactive.  If you feel you’ll fall behind on a project or commitment let them know in advance!If you’ll be working at home with family members and/or roommates present, be sure to ask them for what you need – quiet time, private space, or help making lunch. Remember to be kind and patient with each other.  When all else fails take a walk outside! Your colleagues will forgive a barking dog or crying baby for the next few weeks.
  3. Track your work
    If this is not already a regular practice of yours, now is the time!  Business moves fast and it’s easy to forget what you’ve worked on, what client you saved from canceling a contract, or how much time it actually took you to get something approved.  Be your own advocate by tracking your work, the roadblocks, your wins, and your open items. Take credit for what you accomplish. Ask for support when needed. Call your colleague to get a response to your question and be sure you can speak to all of the open items on your desk.  Speak up when you raise your hand and take on more responsibility. It’s great to be a team player but at the end of the day you have to be your biggest advocate. You’ll thank yourself when the time comes for performance reviews!
  4. Talk about your fears
    If working from home feels isolating and demoralizing for you because you enjoy social interaction or because you fear you won’t get the job done, talk about it.  Reach out to your co-workers, your friends, your partner, or your boss and share how this transition time is making you feel. Ask questions – what does success look like while your team works from home? How will you be reviewed based on real ramifications of not having access to colleagues, systems, or travel during this time? What message should you be giving to customers/clients? And lastly, ask your employer how and if potential revenue loss due to Coronavirus will impact your job/organization.

These best practices are important not only during this time, but throughout your entire career.  No matter the amount of facetime you have with your coworkers, it’s up to you to own your contribution, communicate effectively, resolve issues creatively, and be the leader that you are. Being comfortable and confident in your work and your ability to get the job done will make room for new opportunities in the future, as you weather what life brings your way each day.

Sending positivity, health, and resilience to you and your family during this time.  If you’d like to continue this conversation and support each other within the OYW community please join us on Slack!