How in the world am I going to work from home without losing my mind?
Or, if you're a leader...How am I going to help my team work from home without slowly losing their minds, hating their work, resenting me, and wanting to leave the organization?
Some among us are beginning to work remotely for the first time, while others may have worked from home before; but now there's the added — how shall we say this — factor of the kiddos being there with us.
With everything swirling around, complete serenity might be wishful thinking; but at the same time, you can work from home without losing your mind. Here's how.
WORK FROM HOME WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND BY DESIGNING YOUR WORKSPACE
Depending on how sudden of a shift this has been for you, coupled with how often you've worked from home previously, you may or may not have a lot to work with; and that's just fine. Whether you have a workspace already there at home or not, there are a couple things you can do workspace-wise to set yourself up for success working remotely.
Get comfortable in the workspace. Think through what's going to make you comfortable while you work, as well as what's going to provide you the proper cushioning and back support. If you can get a hold of a good chair, that will go a long way. I'd also highly recommend a hands-free headset or earbuds for calls.
Make the workspace yours. I know some of you are likely hoping you don't have to be there long-term, but you'll still enjoy the space — and working in it — a lot more if it feels like it's actually, you know, your workspace. So add some photos or art that you like. Plants are always good too. Bonus points for natural light.
COMMUNICATE ABOUT YOUR WORK
If you have kiddos or other family at home like so many of us do, communicate openly and regularly about what's going on, what you have going on, if there is an area that's going to be serving as your workspace, if there are any "ground rules," and especially if there are particular parts of the day when you're going to need it to be relatively quiet.
Also, good luck with that last one. Take a deep breath and realize that pretty much everyone is in the same boat. Guess what — at some point, some small human (or furry creature) is going to bound into the room in the middle of your very, super-duper important meeting.
It's ok. We're all in this together. And we're all laughing at with you. We're all laughing with you.
WORK FROM HOME WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND BY DESIGNING YOUR DAY
You thought you got a lot of emails before?.
Your inbox is going to be going bananas now, so you need a plan of attack for handling them, along with the dozens of other potential distractions that will be coming your way throughout the day.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="359"]
You thought email was bananas before? You just wait.[/caption]
The key here is to be intentional. Be intentional about prioritizing your work, be intentional about your communication, and be intentional about not letting your day be dictated by every single inbox ping.
Additionally, know when to turn work off. This may end up being harder to do than you think.
[bctt tweet="One key to #WorkFromHome success is being intentional. You thought there were distractions before? Try having work AND school in the same place. #wfh #futureofwork #companyculture #creditunions #creditunion" username="mattmonge"]
WORK FROM HOME WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND BY ESTABLISHING COMMUNICATION NORMS
How will you and your team communicate? Phone? Email? Text? Google Meet? Skype? Zoom? Carrier pigeon?
It should probably be a mix of things, and be sure to include at least one reliable means of communication in there somewhere. I'd also highly recommend video conferencing/meeting. It's a far more human experience.
WORK FROM HOME, BUT DON'T FORGET CULTURE
Whatever your organization's culture was before, it's still that now; so you need to find ways to continue living that out.
If one of your values is to make work fun, well, by gosh you're going to need find ways to do that now too.
[bctt tweet="When working from home, organizations can't forget culture. #wfh #companyculture #creditunion #creditunions #leadership" username="mattmonge"]
WORK FROM HOME WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND BY STAYING HUMAN
This is going to be a big deal, especially with everything that's going on, and especially with so many folks making perhaps their first foray into remote working.
Individuals and teams need to continue to take strides toward being more fully human.
[bctt tweet="Business may be more virtual right now, but that just means it's even more important for teams to find ways to be human. #wfh #behuman #companyculture #creditunions #futureofwork " username="mattmonge"]
GET UP WHILE YOU'RE WORKING FROM HOME
You need to regularly get up and move around.
Take a lap around the house.
Say hi to the kid hanging from the chandelier. (Hi, Loui.)
Not only is it healthy for you physically, it's also good for your mind.
KNOW WHEN YOU'RE MOST PRODUCTIVE WHILE YOU WORK FROM HOME
Do your most mentally-challenging things then.
For my teammate and our CEO, Mark Arnold, that's the first part of the day; so he packs certain types of things into portions of the first half the day.
For me (Matt), it actually varies, and I'll have times throughout the day (and night) where I'll have bursts of creativity and productivity.
The point is that this won't be the same for everyone, and that's just fine. Just know when your sweet spot is, and plan accordingly.
If it's first thing in the morning, get that good jump start on the day. If you know you hit your stride a little later on, then plan for that as well.
LISTEN TO MUSIC. OR DON'T.
Music helps some people focus. It distracts others.
A wise philosopher once said, "Know thyself."
It may have been Tupac.
(Yes, I realize it's been attributed to several different ancient philosophers and a temple wall.)
The point is this. If it helps you relax, focus, and get more done; then by all means, listen to music. If it doesn't, then, well, perhaps it's best to save it for when you need to drown out youngling noise.
WORK FROM HOME WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND BY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF COLLABORATION TOOLS
Google Docs, Drive, Meet, and Duo
Spotify (ok, fine — that's just for music and podcasts)
YOU CAN BE THE TEAMMATE YOUR TEAM NEEDS RIGHT NOW
It's true. Right now, teams across the country need people like you to step up in big and unexpected ways to make things happen.
As we all settle into this new normal, you can find your bearings and do just that.
WHAT'S WORKING FOR YOU?
What's working for you as you work from home? Got any funny stories to share? Let us know in the comments below!