Working From Home: A Survival Guide
On March 10 Gov. Andy Beshear started encouraging all Kentucky businesses to allow their employees to work from home to promote social distancing. Immediately and nationwide we began experiencing massive shifts in how we communicate (hello Zoom!) and various industries started pivoting to take their services online. Case in point: Senate Bill 150 now allows legal documents to be executed remotely via video. Anyone need a notary? Lexington Creatives has one!
Determining how to best serve your customers during a global pandemic was probably never part of your company’s emergency response protocol before, right? Add to that the importance of making sure employees have the right equipment to do their jobs from home, factoring in how best to communicate with colleagues and customers, and keeping business running smoothly, and you’ve got quite a tall order!
For better or worse, the way we do business will look drastically different in a post-Coronavirus world. Until that glorious day comes, thousands of Kentuckians will be working remotely to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’re here to help you survive and THRIVE along the way.
STAYING SAFE ONLINE
- Don’t overlook cybersecurity. Protecting your data and equipment from cybercrime is more important now than ever! Ask your IT department about encryption technologies and virtual private networks (VPNs), which provide secure connections to an organization’s network. Don’t have an IT department? Call our friends at IT Network Consultants (and tell them Lexington Creatives sent you!).
- Be wary of unsolicited emails with subject lines, attachments, or hyperlinks related to COVID-19; the same goes for social media, blogs, texts, and calls. Cybercriminals will stop at nothing to gain access to your sensitive information.
- Exercise caution and do your research before making charitable donations to individual ‘victims’ or unauthorized organizations, taking advice on unproven treatments, or purchasing sanitation supplies from irreputable sellers.
- Log out of your business systems at the end of the workday. If using your own personal devices, be sure to enable PIN passcodes and fingerprint or facial ID mechanisms.
- Set realistic expectations about what you can accomplish and how long it will take. Don’t overcommit or bite off more than you can chew. Need some help? The team at Lexington Creatives is more than happy to provide consultation for all your digital marketing and social media needs.
- Take advantage of online file-sharing platforms such as DropBox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. Entry-level accounts are free, and they can be accessed remotely, allowing for collaboration among coworkers.
- Make use of remote working tools like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, but be careful only to invite the intended participants
- Keep time zones in mind. Are you and your staff working in different parts of the country or world? What about the customers you communicate with on a daily basis? Take time differences into consideration when planning calls and meetings, lest you risk waking someone up super early or cutting into family time at night.
GETTING IT ALL DONE
- Above all: Create a routine! This is the new normal, so there’s no pressure to adhere to your previous schedule or way of life. Having a routine in place will lend structure to your day and assure that it doesn’t get away from you. Bonus points if you can squeeze in some work before your children get up and while they nap, if you’re lucky enough to have children who nap.
- No commute, no problem! Take the time you would normally have spent in traffic to whip up a healthy breakfast and really savor that cup of coffee, but don’t indulge in too many cups or else you’ll be up all night. Thus, the vicious cycle begins.
- Missing that morning podcast or phone call? Plug in and take a walk around the neighborhood to stay informed and in touch. Want to start a podcast? There’s no time like the present! Talk to our friend and partner Jennifer at Bourbon Barrel Podcasting!
- Designate a space where you can isolate yourself and still have access to the internet. Bonus points if you have a workspace with a great view or lots of sunlight!
- If you’re caring for an infant or small children, create a workspace in a common area where you can keep eyes on them, but know that when you’re stationed in that spot, you mean business. Remember, children are not attended to and entertained all day every day at school or daycare – independent play is essential and during these unprecedented times, #nojudgement if they’re logging a bit more screen time than usual.
- Is your significant other also working from home? Compare calendars each evening before closing up shop or first thing in the morning to see who has important calls at what times. This allows you to either work around each other’s schedules, take an early/late lunch, or plan a well-deserved break.
- Speaking of breaks: Get up. Walk around. Stretch, and pay special attention to your neck and back after all that hunching over a keyboard. Talk to another human. Set reminders on your phone to STOP WORKING from time-to-time. Remember that nature is quarantine therapy; here are some ideas on getting fresh air while social distancing. Bonus points if you can squeeze in an extra walk with your 4-legged friend!
- Dress for how you want to feel. The thought of wearing PJ’s all day may seem appealing, but it’s probably not best for your mental health. Instead, dress for your day. If there’s lots of activity sprinkled throughout, wear those leggings, hoodies, jeans, and yoga pants. We’re all doing it! If you have an important phone call or meeting, dress up a little, at least on top where the webcam can see. 😉
- While on the subject of webcams, make sure that whatever is in the background is professional, tidy, and not distracting. Stationary devices like laptops or tablets are most conducive to a professional meeting and provide the best picture quality to the rest of the participants. If you find your internet throttling during every meeting or you’re on the go, try calling instead (and opting out of video). If you’re not feeling 100% or video meetings aren’t your thing, simply opt out and use the built-in microphone on your computer as if you’d called in. Problem solved! Remember that your virtual meeting platform has handy features like mute (if the darn dog won’t stop barking), chat (to provide hyperlinks or additional notes), Q&A, and hand-raising, so there’s no reason why it can’t closely mimic an in-person meeting.
- When you’re done working for the day, reset your workspace with your to-do list for the next day easily accessible. Try not to revisit that space when the workday is through, or risk feeling like you can’t escape work AND home.
- If all else fails, give the Pomodoro Technique a spin! The what, you’re asking? Here’s how it works: spend 25 minutes on a single task, take a 5 minute break, repeat until you’ve logged 100 productive minutes (one pomodoro), then take a 20 minute break. You’ll stay focused on the tasks at hand and balance how your mental energy is being allocated.
Two final thoughts, which cannot be emphasized enough:
- Make your physical and mental health a priority. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Call your friends and loved ones. Read a book. Play virtual trivia (thank you, Local Trivia Action!). Write a letter to someone you miss. Tackle a project you’ve been putting off. Take your kids on a virtual tour of museums, historic sites, theme parks, and more!
- Take a break from social media (it’s not going anywhere) and don’t overexpose yourself to too much information. Stay informed using official government websites: