Remote Work Guidance During COVID-19 and Beyond

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

In the spirit of giving, of keeping hope alive, and keeping spirits high, I’m sharing this article with you as I head into my second #remote work week. I’ve worked from home in many capacities for many years. Thus, I am most productive #WFH, am pretty savvy at it, and have developed some best practices over the years. There are things you don’t think about though, when you don’t have the option to go to the office or to spend time with colleagues, friends, or family after work or on the weekend. As we’re living in and adjusting to our new normal, here are some things I’ve found to be helpful over the years that are still applicable during #COVID19, and some new things I never had to consider before, but have implemented as best practice:

·Stick to a schedule- Sure, our work schedules and expectations will dictate much of the structure of our day, or the kids’ school studies, but don’t forget to schedule breaks in for lunch, to schedule your workout into the day, to build in social time and relationship building. It’s important to maintain some balance into your schedule and to try to maintain some consistency throughout the week to stay on track toward individual and #team #goals.

·Learning and development- Many organizations have required training that you may be behind on because you haven’t been able to complete it during the ordinary course of business. Leverage this time to get caught up and stay off of the out-of-compliance list. Shameless #HR plug here: If compliance and these trainings were not important, they wouldn’t exist, and many of these exist to protect your organizations from risk, so please make time for them. Use this time to develop/cross-train in new skills, or to create new partnerships or leverage existing ones to learn a different part of the business. I know I always have so many webinars I register for but end up missing at times due to conflicts popping up in my schedule. Now is also a great time to finally get that Mentoring you haven’t made or had time for!

·Check in without an “agenda”- We may be used to saying hello and having chit chat in the workplace. Now we use our Slack, Teams, Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, texts, e-mails, and other video/messaging options to stay connected. Staying connected is critical during this time of social distancing. Social distancing doesn’t mean no social interaction. We had a socially-safe conversation with the new neighbors yesterday while walking our dog and exchanged waves and verbal greetings with many other neighbors throughout the course of the walk. We all need this social interaction. If you’re a leader, recognize that people have additional things on their minds during these times beyond work. They have had to re-balance and re-prioritize, so we must be sensitive and empathetic to that. These are not easy times, so check in on your team without an agenda. Don’t make it all about the work. Please don’t begin micromanaging your team, just as you shouldn’t in the workplace. Make sure your team is good at the individual and the team level. Gather the team as a whole to keep the sense of connection. Most teams seem to really be embracing utilizing technology (more than ever) to stay connected to each other. Check in on colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family. We get nowhere alone. #togetherisbetter.

·Movement- Since many of us are sitting for a good majority of the day, don’t forget to get up and stretch at regular intervals on your scheduled breaks or when your body is telling you it needs one. This is a practice I have been better at since WFH more consistently, but am not the best at when working from the office, so I plan to implement it moving forward. Stretching is good for the body, mind, and soul, which is why I enjoy Yoga so much. Under regular circumstances, our work may have had us moving about the building from meeting to meeting, to catch up socially with colleagues and friends, traveling for work to build relationships in person, or maybe our work is physical work. Whatever your circumstance, use this time to build some good or new habits that stick. Simon Sinek shared this post, where one of the people on his team shared the different types of movement that are good for us. We’re conditioned in working out and general movement to move up and down, but horizontal movement is good for us too. I made good use of a stretch break on Friday. When you get up from a seated position, your body will often automatically adjust you to the movement it needs, as mine did on Friday. Skeletal stretching and conditioning is just as important as muscular stretching and conditioning, which was other great wisdom that was shared in Simon’s team Huddle video.

·Meals and Snacks- Many of us have a bit of extra food/snacks on hand these days, on top of families being home more often to snack than usual. It can be tempting to overeat and over-snack, but it’s still important to be mindful of calorie intake and portion control. I fell victim to over-snacking my first several days at home without even realizing it. Once I realized it, I began preparing healthy snacks like I used to do for the office. I hadn’t previously encountered this issue when I wasn’t regularly working from home and when I was going into the office. Meal prep. and planning is still important to a healthy, balanced diet, and is probably more critical to health now than it was before. Try some new recipes! With no commute, meal planning and food prep. in our household has become easier so we’ve been trying out some new recipes that we normally wouldn’t have the time or energy for. We are also capitalizing on the extra family time, since previously for me, I had an hour commute each way. Without the long commute, I’m not just arriving home at dinner time. This means that I can now help my Husband out in the kitchen so we can make our dinner together and eat together every night, since there have definitely been times where I encouraged him to go ahead and eat without me if I was working late or stuck in traffic on an already-long commute.

·Lessons learned- Let’s remember what we’ve learned and put it to good use after the crisis is over. In many ways the community and organizations have pulled together toward the greater good. We are uniquely-positioned to work from a Wish List we've created on how things would be if we had the time to plan. Use this time to plan for things you typically wouldn't have the time for. Might you have some extra time to work on drafting the Business Case for a new program or initiative or to take a deep dive into #engagement results and do some further Action Planning? Wouldn’t it be great if we could continue the best practices that have come from this? Wouldn’t it be great if we continued to plan accordingly and anchored on the lessons we’ve learned so that we’re better-prepared to recover from something like this in the future? Wouldn’t it be great if we connected more with each other always without a purpose just because we care?

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