And Now for Something Completely Different!
Well, not entirely – the overall message is the same – being strong and being our best… no matter what! A few weeks ago I was already thinking about the ramifications of people suddenly having to work from home for the first time. Or even just the realities of a large number of people being cut off from their regular routines. It was a staggering thought and at the time I was still of the mind that “it couldn’t happen here”. Well… you all know what happened – and I was even more inspired to get rolling on a project that had the potential to help.
This past Friday I launched The Best 30 Days. It’s a free program that I’m developing to give people a positive space to interact, network, share, and continue to grow and challenge ourselves during this time of upheaval.
Today I shared my 7 Top Tips for Working at Home (I’ve made my own jobs since 1999, btw…) and I’ll share the first four below. I’d love for you to sign up to The Best 30 Days program, I have a lot of nifty stuff planned for it and the more people that participate the more it helps me figure out how to best communicate with this kind of online learning software. You can participate and share at your own comfort level too – absolutely nothing is set as “required”.
My Top Tips for Working From Home!
1. Keep a schedule
I’d offer that this first idea is one of the most important right now. While some weirdos like myself are ok with uncertainty (yes, I accept that there may be something wrong with me), most human beings like a level of predictability in every day. With this virus situation upon us there’s been more than enough change in everyday life to keep things plenty “interesting” without us going and goofing up our work hours.
This can also hold true for people who can’t work from home, but who were sent home from restaurant jobs, etc. Think about the tasks you want to achieve in a day – household and creative, and schedule them up.
If your household includes children, they’ll also appreciate some things being the same in a certain level. For whatever reason I always looked forward to breakfast, and knowing that that is coming at a particular time was a very good thing.
2. Reach Out To Others Often
If you’re used to a lot of interaction with colleagues in person, be sure to (preferably) schedule a face to face meeting or two via Facetime, Zoom, Hangouts, etc. Sure, it’s not quite the same, but as I like to say “hey, it’s not NOTHING”.
Also, since we’re going to have a lot of people who have never worked from home suddenly working from home, you may want to reach out to colleagues and make sure that they’re set up with the tools that your organization is going to use to communicate – Zoom, Slack, etc. I have a session scheduled with someone this week to make sure that she’s set up and ready to go for the long term if necessary.
Last night I reached out to everyone who had scheduled an in person website consult with me, and we either rescheduled or made plans to meet using screenshare on Zoom. Will it be as much fun? Maybe, maybe not – but since several of my IT consulting clients are in at-risk groups, I’m happy to accommodate them with Zoom meetings etc.
Something you may or may not have seen in the discussion area a day or two ago is that I have a “remote coworker” of many years. We talk daily in Whatsapp, and unless I’m in a meeting or have a client at my desk, I leave that window open. In fact I have two people who I chat with in Whatsapp every day, and it’s been this way for years! (The chat programs have changed, but the idea has remained the same.) The reason we settled on Whatsapp was we didn’t want the distraction of Facebook messenger/Facebook since we’d be leaving the chat window open during the work day.
3. Create a Designated Office Area at Home
If at all possible, even if you don’t have a spare room set up as a home office already, try to find a special nook in your living space. This way you can “leave work there” during breaks and at the end of your work day. Congrats on your new 5-20 foot commute!
A real pro tip I learned the hard way is that it’s best to have a door between your office area and the kitchen – or the snacking may really get out of hand. Like I said… hard earned tip here!
4. Remember to take breaks and MOVE!
I am not sure if he’s the inventor of the phrase “Exercise Snacks” but John Du Cane of Dragon Door (fitness book place and kettlebell training…) is the first person I’d heard describe it. I’ve been at conferences with him where he’ll sneak off around a corner and drop down for 10 pushups or a piece of a tai chi form.
No matter where you are in your fitness journey, there’s a lot you can do! People just getting started might want to do a few squats or partial squats with support from a door frame, wall or countertop push-ups, walking lunges with no weight etc. More advanced folks may want to pop a pullup bar into a door frame and knock out 3-10 reps every time they go past that door! I’ve started doing a handful of handstand pushups during the day even. The real message is however, be sure to stand up from time to time and move around! If you have an Apple Watch, Fitbit, etc. the standing goals etc. can be very useful, especially since a lot of our normal activities have been upended! Which brings me to… (HEY GO SIGNUP ALREADY! It’s Free!)