Episode 32: Working from home


March 17th, 2020

33 mins 24 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

This week, we talk about working from home. A lot of people are suddenly working from home because of the current coronavirus pandemic. A lot of teams are suddenly 100% remote in cultures where this wasn't a normal pratice, and a lot of managers are suddenly trying to manage those teams.

We're also sending our thoughts to those who are feeling displaced, uncertain, underemployed, or even unemployed. Keeping things together and at home is going to help all of us.

Both Liz and Kat have worked from home for many years. We have some things we've learnwed along the way. Some of these may be obvious, and some may not work for you and your work style. As Kat says for most advice, "Take what you like and leave the rest."

With all of this, remember to give yourself and others some grace. This is not a normal work from home situation. It's stressful, both work and home processes are new and changing, you're improvising, and you're doing your best.

Kat’s top Work From Home Tips: 1. Establish a schedule that includes self care, and set up boundaries for yourself. 2. Shower and dress for work: you’re probably going to be on video! 3. Be available during work hours and share your calendar to show what you’re doing (and when those work hours are!) 3. Stay connected.

Liz’s top WFH Tips: 1. Shower and get dressed. 2. Get out of the house at least once a day; make sure to get your steps in! 3. Have “busy” signals for your co-habitants - the other people in your house. 3. Try to eat and drink healthy to feel more like yourself.

Other tips:

Make a stop time that ends your traditional work day. Maybe make a schedule with decisive breaks and routine. Don't forget to stand up, stretch, and eat!

With these uncertain and stressful times, try to be positive and a calming influence on your team and your family. We can’t control what we can’t control, but what you can do is to keep yourself grounded and positive.

We have whole teams suddenly finding themselves at home. Our #1 tip? Be face-to-face as much as possible. Turn the video on to feel connected. The more you can engage, the better.

Communication is key! Overcommunicate, if necessary, to make sure you have the clarity of what you are expected and what you’re expected to do. Talk things through and try to make those cubicle conversations happen.

Those 1:1 meetings with team members are CRITICAL for making people feel connected and giving them space to ask plenty of questions. Follow up meetings with notes that recap what you discussed, both as a boss and as a team member. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Establish new team norms, such as recording team calls. And make fun happen, whether it’s on Slack or in meetings. Keep people communicating and laughing, and managers should join in, too! When managers join in, the team is encouraged to keep going.

Remember that everybody is trying to adapt to this new environment. Be kind and give your team some slack.

Even when you're social distancing or sheltering in place, getting out of the house is important (if it's safe for you to do so.) Go for a walk! Get in the sunshine! There's science behind getting sunshine, for vitamin D and other benefits, and for getting into nature if possible.

Working from home can get lonely. Be social in any way that works. Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with. Use this time to reach out to friends and family.

We both work at home with our spouses. It’s so important to have separate spaces when working from home. Set up separate spaces when at all possible. This might be temporary right now, but be creative - one of you can take over a different room, or even a hallway or closet. The ergonomics of improvising a desk out of an ironing board or a side table may not be great, but for many jobs, sharing an office won't work.

And then have FUN together when your work days are done.

Find yourself and your kids home without your normal childcare? It’s so hard. Try to take shifts, use TV, and try to use your quarantine village when you have to. (And don't worry about the TV or iPad for now - you'll figure out better systems if this goes on for a long time.)

The news getting you down? Offset the news with something funny! Maybe it’s I Love Lucy re-runs or finding a new comedy. Try to laugh; it’s good for the soul. And, if something like Twitter is getting you down, put down the phone!

ake care of yourselves, and if we can help, please reach out to us at realjobtalk@gmail.com.