As if you didn’t have enough to worry about with COVID-19, you suddenly find yourself working from home. That means carving out space for an office, troubleshooting Zoom meetings, and trying to stay connected with your team and your membership…not to mention actually getting some work done! For many, this new reality can be overwhelming.
If teleworking has you flustered, here are 5 best practices to help you preserve your sanity and improve productivity.
1. Rise and shine
Trading your commute for a brief jaunt down the hall might leave you feeling lost in the mornings. It’s a good idea to maintain your regular morning rituals, such as setting your alarm clock and getting out of your pajamas. Enjoy coffee or breakfast with your spouse, kids, or roommates for social interaction and to ease into your day. Without a drive, you might even have extra time for exercise, meditation or chores. Avoid heading directly from your bed to your computer, which can blur the lines between your personal and professional lives.
2. Get some space
If work is staring you in the face day and night, you’re likely to feel stressed and stretched thin. Create a dedicated office space that you can leave behind at the end of the day—even if it means closing your laptop and moving it off the kitchen table. Let your family know that they should respect your office space during the day. Put up a sign if necessary (ex: Shhh! Mary’s Working 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) To help you focus, avoid cluttering your home office with food, toys, laundry, or other distractions.
3. Keep a set schedule
The best way to be successful while working from home is to have a set schedule. Determine when you will start each morning, when to break for lunch, and when to call it a day in the evening. Begin each day by reviewing any upcoming meetings or project deadlines. Consider holding a daily morning huddle with your team to check in, stay connected, and help everyone stay on track.
4. Establish boundaries
When your work and home are one in the same, you might feel pressured to be available 24/7. That will lead to burnout in a hurry. Once you have a set schedule, share it with colleagues so they have realistic expectations about your availability and responsiveness. Don’t forget to keep your members and industry partners informed about your operating hours as well. At the end of the day, sign off any chat programs and silence your phone so notifications don’t intrude into your personal time. Avoid responding to communications after hours or on weekends.
5. Stay connected
The isolation of teleworking can take a toll on morale, and productivity can suffer as a result. Use technology tools, such as video conferencing, to maintain human connections. Try a phone call instead of an email for more in-depth conversations. Check in with members and industry partners. Consider launching a brief daily e-newsletter to share positive news. Your association is united by a common cause. Reminding everyone of that cause can lift spirits and rally your team to keep moving forward despite these difficult times.
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