Photo appears courtesy of University of the Fraser Valley. Millions of people have now found themselves working remotely due to the recent global pandemic. For companies like GraceBlood LLC and the EDI Alliance, this cloud-based, work-from-home model is just business as usual. Often when I tell people that I "work from home" they get this dreamy look in their eyes and say something like, "Wow - you're so lucky." Yes, it does have its perks, but there are some learning curves, too. Read on to learn some best practices and how you can succeed during this unprecedented time.
First of all, it's important to have a routine and stick to it. I tend to get my coffee and spend about 30 minutes reading my email. I get Smart Briefs every day for my industry that are very informative and provide a valuable source of insight. I spend this time sharing them on social media or forwarding to colleagues. This is also when I answer any urgent emails. I try to not schedule any meetings in the first hour of my day so that I am properly caffeinated - but admittedly in our global economy, sometimes I have to be flexible on that. Recently I have spoken to prospects in both France and Costa Rica! Setting that routine also means taking breaks. Get up and go for a quick walk at least twice a day. You'll be better able to focus by clearing the clutter from your brain with a change in scenery and fresh air.
The other important thing when working from home is to minimize distractions. When I am working on an important proposal or presentation, I forewarn my family that I need to be focused for the next hour and don't want to be disturbed. After a decade of working remotely, my kids are pretty used to me being unavailable at home. If you have an office or designated work space, even better. For those with young kids, another trick is to keep a special activity set aside for those times you need an hour - a Playdoh set, a new coloring book or a new DVD. Bribery is underrated. I was just telling this very thing to Tauni MacLean, Vice President at CoEnterprise, who we are partnered with to offer their Syncrofy EDI visibility tool. She offered this advice, "Having worked from home for 10+ years, a good way to feel connected and productive at work is to have a schedule that is a good mix of time set aside to get specific tasks done, conference calls that provide a pulse on your team/company and ad-hoc check-ins with key people. My days generally go by very quickly with a feeling of having a productive day at the office!"
Lastly, working from home can be lonely. I definitely miss the camaraderie of chitchat and going to lunch with coworkers. It's important to maintain connections when you are remote. I am active with a local book club and a mom's group for parents of multiples just for this reason. So although I cannot go to lunch with my teammates, I do go to happy hours and book club meetings and get to have that adult conversation missing from my work-life. Of course, these events are now virtual because of Covid-19, but they are not any less important to my mental health, especially now with so much uncertainty in our lives. It's also worth noting, even though I don't get to see my teammates very often "in real life," we do make an effort to stay in touch. I have weekly meetings with my manager and we all have instant access to each other via Teams. So even though I am "alone," I am always connected. It's quietly reassuring.
Hopefully these nuggets of wisdom were helpful to someone, whether you're new to being remote or like me you have been for 10 years. Change is hard but with change always comes opportunity for personal growth. How much personal growth we will be expected to do is a moving target at this point, but we're all in this together, right? Stay safe.
While you're working remotely, please join us next week for a free live webinar on how to maximize your EDI to the fullest extent and get your entire organization on the same page once and for all. Register here.