As a SaaS company, TaskRay was able to transition to a remote workplace fairly seamlessly. In fact, most on our team has been working from home at least a couple of days a week since our founding 10 years ago.
But, we realize that this may not be the case for some of our customers or their customers. And even though we’ve had a remote work policy, it’s never been the case that ALL of us are not in the office for an extended period of time.
Many of you, and your customers, are now at home 24/7 with only yourself to keep you company or surrounded by their significant others, pets, and/or children trying to care for everyone and manage their own work, school work and meals not to mention boredom and anxiety.
Next week, we’re going to feature a conversation with our Chief of Staff, Jamie Cole, about the steps that we’re taking to keep our team connected while working remotely. This week’s post is going to focus on how to navigate yourself, and your customers, through what may be uncharted territory.
Here are our tips for staying sane while transitioning to working from home while practicing social distancing:
1. Do everything you can to make workdays, workdays.
Create a designated space to do your work. If space is limited, select an area to serve as your workspace during the day and be intentional about setting it up at the beginning of each day and putting it all away at a set time every evening. If possible, try to set up your home office near natural light and open the window if weather/your situation permits.
Plan your workday and try to stick to it. Structure is important for keeping your sanity. It’s especially key for any kids you have at home. The reality is that your schedule now has to take everyone else in your household into consideration in a way that it didn’t a week ago. We recommend sitting down every morning to create and communicate the schedule for the day. This will be a work in progress, so the important thing is to keep doing it even when it seems like a lost cause.
Get dressed. It sounds silly, but having designated “work from home” clothes can get you into the right frame of mind. It also helps you project professionalism on video calls with clients. (On a similar note, don’t eat while on calls with customers unless you’ve both agreed to a “lunch” meeting.)
2. Go out of your way to connect.
Move to video calls if you haven’t already. If you have a call scheduled with a customer but usually keep the camera off, consider turning it on. Being able to see one another can really make a difference. Similarly, If you are out for a walk, make eye contact with the people you pass, smile and say hello and wish them a good day.
Reach out on a regular basis. If you have a client or co-worker that appears to be struggling, make the extra effort to reach out to see how they’re doing. (This is especially important for the people you know who live alone.) Schedule tasks in your calendar to check in over the coming weeks, not just in these early days.
Share. Your customers and co-workers may be struggling just as much as you are, so take the extra time with them to talk and share about what’s happening in your lives. Try to have some fun by sharing your work-at-home fails along with your tips.
3. OK, it may sound a little “woo woo”, but really, practice loving kindness.
These next weeks are going to include a lot of trial and error. We will all be learning as we go about what we take for granted, what expectations we need to throw out the window, and how we can be most productive while working from home. This makes it extra important to give yourself, and everyone else in your life—clients, co-workers, significant others, kids, relatives, dogs, strangers—a little love right now.
Schedule in breaks. Make sure to include time for lunch and try to take a 15-minute break for every 2-3 hours of work. Regular breaks will help you manage your energy and keep from getting distracted.
Stay active. Keep your endorphins up and your stress levels lower by taking advantage of the many Livestream classes and offerings. This may mean adding a yoga session before you begin your workday or ten-minute stretch breaks throughout the day. At TaskRay, we are big proponents of walking meetings. Put on your headset and do a call while taking a walk. (Normally, we would consider talking on the phone while outside walking a little obnoxious, but these are not normal times.)
Schedule in “me” time. Remember that it is NOT selfish to take time for yourself. Make sure to schedule some in every day.
Meditate while washing your hands. Instead of singing the “Happy Birthday” song two times (for the recommended 20-second handwash), try a little meditation that wishes peace, happiness and good health for yourself, your friends and family, and all living beings.
We all want to be productive, but without the daily relationships and interactions we get at the office, running errands or out interacting with friends and family, the most important thing to do right now is prioritize relationships. It takes a lot to transition to a new approach to work at any time, but this change has come on very quickly. We are all in this together, so be patient with yourself and each other.