Many Jewish nonprofits are among the countless workplaces shifting to remote work during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five quick tips to help you adapt to a sudden shift to working from home, if you’re used to working in an office.
1. Set up your space
Put in the time and the effort to set up a real office for yourself, as much as possible given your situation. This includes making sure that your computer, mouse, keyboard, and internet are functioning. It might mean having headphones easily accessible, buying a small plant, displaying a family photo, or making sure all of your notebooks and pens are where you need them. Try to keep your work-related things contained in one space so that you can get away from “the office” as needed. As long as your environment puts you at ease and allows you to focus on work, then you’re ready to go.
Think about how many times you see your colleagues in the hall on a normal work day. Since that isn’t happening, prioritize finding other ways to connect and ensure that your team sets expectations for how to speak virtually. Daily check-ins, Zoom meetings, slack conversations, or g-chats are all good options, as long as people know how to get in touch with each other. One suggestion is to have a group Zoom call each morning for the team to chat, while individual check-ins should still be scheduled once a week to discuss progress. In general, don’t worry about bothering people with too many emails or messages. Your colleagues will be excited to hear from you and it doesn’t hurt to over-communicate.
3. Stick to a Schedule
The temptation might be that when we are not at the office, we can be flexible with time. As long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter when we do it, right? This is true, but most of us are more productive and efficient when we structure our time, assuming that the circumstances allow for it. This doesn’t have to be the normal 9-5 work day, but find a schedule that works for you. Try to prepare yourself for the day as you normally would if you had to travel to the office. If you find yourself energized and ready to tackle your most challenging projects after a 30 minute walk, then make that part of your daily routine.
4. Enjoy the perks
Working from home or remotely is not everyone’s preference and the loneliness can be real, but try to enjoy the benefits. You have more flexibility than you do in a traditional office so take advantage of this when you can. Listen to your favorite music without headphones (if there’s nobody else around and it doesn’t distract from your work), cook something delicious for lunch, or throw in a load of laundry as a quick break. If you make the effort to consciously think about these perks as you are enjoying them, you are more likely to stay positive about your remote work situation.
5. Stay connected
In these tough times, we need our family and friends more than ever. Remember to take the time to reach out to loved ones to see how they are doing, and don’t hesitate to take a 5-10 minute break to speak on the phone. If you have a friend or family member close by, see if you feel comfortable meeting for lunch or for a walk. We all need real human interactions to maintain our happiness and mental health. You will be calmer and more productive if you have checked in with those that you care about.
David Goott is Program Manager at Leading Edge.
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