I’ve been thinking about what I want to do and how I want to respond to this world and the new normal we live in as things shift so quickly. We are living in ambiguity.
There are professions that have never before been able to work from home that are now being asked to conduct business as usual, like teachers or anchoring national news. As a former HR professional, I find it fascinating how we are getting creative with reasonable accommodations to allow people to conduct some part of their daily lives.
During a Facetime call with my cousin, a teacher, we walked through some of the nuances of working from home and how to be successful. To me, they seem so commonplace, so second nature, but this new world, we have to have a beginner’s mindset.
While most of my content is about food, yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine, I wanted to dig into the annals from both my corporate experience and solopreneurial endeavors and share what I’ve learned. I feel a bit like Lewis and Clark, I’ve worked from home or distributed from my peers for a number of years. I’ve helped forge the way. I’ve worked at the forefront of tech since 1997. I’m an alum of Yahoo!, eBay, Google and Twitter. The companies that made it easier to search and consume information, communicate with one another and shop. I then transitioned to being a solopreneur who works primarily from home, so I have a lot of experience with both tech and working from home
We are human beings and hardwired for connection. As someone who has worked as a solo person, distributed across the nation from her team, it was imperative that I seek out the connection. I didn’t have the luxury of the hallway chats with my direct peers who were performing the same or similar job functions. I was with wonderful people, fulfilling their core job duties, being the HR presence, but having to seek counsel and guidance from someone who didn’t fully have the context of my reality.
Now we have professions who, while are very smart, are not equipped to navigate this world, and the circumstances dictate that we throw them into the deep end. They are educating our children and our public.
- Done is better than perfect — Think Minimum viable product. I realize that may be new phrasing to many, but it means, what can we do that meets the very basic necessities, where we can learn about the students/proces and iterate from that. Right now, we are in the first iteration of this new world and we are real time learning. It’s hard not to want to revert into “what we did in the classroom” or “what we did in the normal course of business” We’ve had to pivot fast. Things will fall by the wayside. Be okay with that, it will course correct and you will learn and change. This is a new way of doing things, a beginner’s mindset.
- Create breaks and boundaries with your work — It’s so easy to get consumed/work when you live and work in the same place and we’re ever connected. Create boundaries, shut down at a certain time each night. Block time on your calendar for “commute” time, use that time to do something like making a healthy breakfast and dinner for yourself, meditate, go for a walk, recharge your battery. This is the time for you to plug in, just like you need to charge your device, you will need it too.
- Shower and get dressed as if you have somewhere to go everyday. At least from the waist up. You can keep those elastic waisted pants on. Trust me on this one. It’s easy to let some things slide as you’re not seeing anyone in real life. It will keep you feeling human and create that sense of purpose.
- Keep a Google,Word doc or Notes open on your desktop/laptop/ipad — At the beginning and end of each day, write down the time you’re starting/stopping work. At the end of each day, write a few bullets of what you did/accomplished. This will help you not only reflect on the day by doing a brain dump, but when things do resume some sense of normalcy, you will be able to quantify what you’ve done and you;’re creating a record.
- Set aside time to just GSD — Get Sh*t Done and Keep Organized — Use folders and labels in your email. You’ll be getting a lot more emails. Create a folder/label for “parent communication”, “school/administration communication”. Spend some time at the beginning and end of each week making sure your desktop and workspace are neat and tidy. A tidy desktop and workspace will create a more harmonious environment and better output.
- Create a dedicated workspace — It’s easy to sit on your couch on your laptop, but creating a dedicated workspace, will help you separate work and home. It also provides a more professional mindset when at work.
- Communication — Over communicate with your team! Not only are we extremely lucky to be living in an age where we can connect virtually using video technology, but we have text and instant messaging. Ask how people are doing, set aside time at the beginning or end of each meeting to do something as a group whether it’s take a few deep breaths to share something he/she/they are grateful for or something funny. Being distributed can be hard, but we’re learning what it means to build culture and community in a digital world. Community was one of the 9 things related to Blue Zones, the areas where there are the largest populations of octogenarians, those who live to over 100 years old.
- Don’t schedule a full day of back to back meetings — it’s hard to shift gears, especially when it’s back to back meetings and sitting in front of your computer. Try to schedule meetings that are 25 or 55 minutes long, and take the 5 minutes to get up, use the bathroom or just to step away from your computer. Schedule breaks.
I posted a video to YouTube and I talk through 4 of the tips provided below. How are you handling this new normal? Have you ever worked from home? Reply and let me know!