Are you working from home? Here are a few tips from the Eagle team...
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has rearranged most of our lives and some of us now find ourselves finding new rhythms of working from home.
Some of our team members have worked remotely for years while others have just transitioned to working from home. All of us are working within different circumstances whether that is children playing on our office floor or exclusively organizing online meetings or just feeling the stress of so much change.
Our governor here in PA has ordered all Non-Life-Sustaining businesses to close their physical locations until further notice. That means our Gap office location is now closed, but thankfully, we're set up to support you all virtually. Business hours remain the same, and our team members are continuing their normal work hours from their home offices.
While working remotely has its challenges – it can be done very successfully! With this situation obviously extending beyond a few days, we asked our team for their best advice on working from home.
Keep a schedule. When work time bleeds into family and personal time, it can cause stress. When family and personal time bleeds into work time, it creates focus and productivity problems. Separate the two. Try to keep the same hours as you did before.
“Meet with family to explain what working from home will look and feel like to them. Give them permission to engage at certain times – breaks and lunch.” – Kristina H.
“Take what you already know about yourself and apply it. Identify the time of day you concentrate the best. Then be purposeful about planning your day around those times.“– Kris M.
Get ready for work. Take the time to get dressed, combed, and ready for work. This brings a sense of routine and allows you to be prepared for video conferencing.
Create a good working environment. Take the time to create an intentional and simple work space that you can enjoy. Do you work best without clutter? Make some empty space so that you can focus. Do you need an inspirational space? Go ahead and hang some art or photos of the people you love.
“If no separate space is available, create an office area in an existing space. This could be a corner of a bedroom or living room that is designated your office. When you are in that space, then you are working.” – Kristina H.
“Having a good space to work, that is devoted to just work – is a must! A standing desk is also ideal. ” – Janelle L
“My sister offered her professional photography backdrop so that when I am on video, I look more professional. Now the other party won’t see people moving around in my house and back-lighting with windows is a non-issue.” – Charity L.
Turn on the video. Face to face meetings helps us communicate better and help us feel more connected.
“Our team is now doing video calls instead of just audio, which is a great. Tip: Let your team know you are going to do a video call a little ahead of time.“ – Janelle L.
“It has been interesting to meet many customers online. Although online training was somewhat common, I was challenged to improve the personal interaction by enabling my video for most meetings. I have been using Zoom for group video meetings with a larger number of participants than in the past.” - Jake E.
Communicate with coworkers. They can’t see if you are in your office. Let them know when you are taking a break. Find creative ways to have “hallway conversations”. Greet your coworkers in the morning with chat software. Have a chat channel for jokes, encouragement, prayer items, etc. Be creative and put extra effort into communication.
“To work virtually, you MUST utilize instant messaging more! It is no longer just an emergency way to reach people. It is a constant form of communication because you are no longer able to walk over to someone in the office.” – Kris M.
Put work in the open. In a virtual space it is more difficult to “see” if someone is busy or focused.
“Have a 10-minute call with the team at a specific time each day. Tell your team what you did yesterday, what you plan to do today, and any challenges you are facing now. “ - Glenn E.
“You might need to make it more of a habit to look at people’s calendars and see if they are busy before you reach out to them. This means it is also important that your calendar is up to date.” – Kris M.
Get up and move.
“You have to get up and move! It is just plain bad for your health to sit all day. Stay hydrated and get up to walk around and get more to drink.” - Kris M.
“If you have back to back remote meetings, end each meeting five minutes early to allow individuals to get up and stretch before going into the next one.” - Nathaniel G.
Change it up if something isn’t working. Figure out what works best for you. Do you find that you are highly productive at certain hours and not during others? Certain positions may allow you to flex hours to work at optimal times. Perhaps you need to give yourself a little time to socialize with co-workers via a messaging group or add in a regular break to hang out with the kids.
“Instead of getting negative and complaining about things you can’t change, look for opportunities. There are plenty of them if you refocus your mind.” – Glenn E.
“Working from home is a skill and can take some time to adjust. Be patient with yourself if you find yourself distracted, getting snacks & coffee more often - It happens. By setting goals for yourself to focus deeply for short bursts – you can still have a very productive day, even with the occasional at home distraction.” – Janelle L.
And here a few of our favorite resources:
- StandDesk - Adjustable standing desks
- Microsoft Teams - Video conferencing
- Focus Keeper – Time Management App
- Noisli - Background sound to mask annoying noises:
- This book about how to create a successful virtual culture.
Our Eagle team wishes all of you success as we all work to adjust to these changing circumstances. Feel free to reach out to us if we can assist you in any way!