Well we’re in it now. All the news outlets are reporting that everything is being shut down. Social Distancing is the rule, and that means a lot of you might be telecommuting full-time for the first time. As a matter of fact, Mrs. E. is right this instant in an online meeting training to use webinar software so that she can teach classes for the next two weeks at least.
Working from home is the norm for me and I’d like to pass along a few tips for keeping yourself on track, especially if you, like me, are just returning from spring vacation.
It’s easy to treat working at home as an extended vacation. It’s not. And as you can guess from the title of this post, my number one trick to keeping yourself productive is:
1. Dress accordingly.
We’ve all seen the posts about the gaffes made by people stepping out of a shower to answer a client call that is factetimed, the workers showing up to a broadcast meeting in their pyjamas, or with a drink. Remember, if it’s not ok at work, it’s not ok in your home office.
Don’t panic, I don’t advocate being suited and booted (unless that’s your thing. When I first began working from home, I wore a tie and dress shirt at least. It reminded me that I am a professional and that I charge accordingly. I’ve relaxed since then, but imitating G. Bruce Boyer’s at home wear, I also wear a dress shirt and khakis or clean jeans, sometimes a sweater. Wear your slippers or a beat up old pair of loafers if you like. Don’t sacrifice comfort. In fact, if you’re sitting at a desk a lot, working from home is a great time to break out your pleated, full-cut khakis! And, as a corollary, this is a great time to try out something new. Always wanted to wear a neckerchief? Try it for a day or two. Wacky socks? No socks? Absolutely.
Which brings us to:
2. Groom yourself as you would to venture out into the world.
Shower, shave if you shave, comb your hair. That teleconference could come at any time. The ritual, that you complete before a normal work day, will help get you into the right frame of mind.
3. Get up, stand up!
It’s really important to get away from your screen at several times during the day. Stand and stretch. Get outside and take a walk. Go to another room for lunch.
4. Wrap it up!
If you’re headed outside consider wearing a scarf or carrying a bandana, either can function as a makeshift mask leaving the respirators and disposable masks for the sick and first-responders.