Are you one of the many of our workforce in the United States that have been sent “home” to work? What you are facing could include:
- both parents having to work from home
- having children out of school doing on-line classes
- managing college students away from home
- having elderly parents that you may or may not be able to physically see
This can make life seem overwhelming, impossible and fearful, can’t it?
Welcome to this new world that a tiny virus has caused in such a short time with no advance warning; and also having to realize there are some things that are just out of your control………period!
How do you cope? Where do you start? What will really work for you and your family?
To begin: relax, breathe, and focus first on keeping a positive attitude and a sense of humor! That will help you do what needs to be done NOW!
Dale Carnegie said:
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit and think about it. Get busy.”
Before the virus there were already approximately 3.7 million people working successfully from home, so you are not alone! They now refer to themselves as “remotely located” rather than “working from home.” Do you see how that can change your perspective about what you are about to experience?
From the millions, including myself, here are some tips for you before you just dive in!
- Secure from your employer an overall plan of what is required and expected from you now that you are “remotely located.” They may not have it all thought out either, but at least you are starting the conversation so both of you can have clarity of what you need to be focused on doing.
- Communicate frequently with your company to stay connected and to make sure you are on target with their expectations and day by day changes that are occuring. Make this the best possible experience for your employer and for yourself too.
- Access to the right equipment to be productive. Don’t be afraid to let your company know of your set-up and what you need. This was a quick move and so you need to make sure you are fully equipped to meet their expectations.
Once these guidelines have been discussed you are ready to create a “remotely located” workplace, and plan for the other functions your “remote location” will have to provide.
In setting up your plan make sure it involves each of the household members and the outside extended family obligations you have. It must be explained and communicated well and allow for flexibility! Remember that sense of humor too!
This is a great quote from branding expert, Nyght Falcon https://www.nyghtfalcon.com/ “If you are not clear and concise in communicating who you are and what you do, they will invent it!”
You don’t want your family to assume or invent anything in the days ahead.
Step back and create on paper a plan instead of just wandering though the coming days hoping it will all work out! Some who are “remotely located” designate a mantra for their days, as well as name their location. Get creative just like you do in your workplace in building highly productive and fun teams! Create an environment to do the functions that are not normally done in your home!
Remember this is not the same as having a snow storm where you are issolated for a few days until the roads are clear, you play and have fun, then you resume your normal schedule! This is not like you bringing work home to do often, or helping your children with their homework. This is actually putting in place both physically and mentally all that has been done outside the home, to now being done in and from your home!
Think about this could be for perhaps two or more months, and that everything you normally do outside your home has either been cancelled or rescheduled. You are starting from scratch and going into a new lifestyle with massive changes for everyone you care about and love.
Keep this simple! You have to realize there are many distractions when you are working and doing everything from home; many of which you have not encountered before. That is why a daily plan is so essential to safeguarding your valuable time and keeping your sanity!
Sounds like a lot of preparation, but you will find it is so worth it to make sure you get off on the right path and not have to keep revising things over and over again!
It will take some organization at first, but that is why everyone in the home needs to be involved. No one person alone creates this plan, (unless you are alone), and no one person alone can keep it going; it takes everyone being involved, even your pets!
You have to create:
- A designated office space for one or both of you who are having to work “remotely.” This is key as you cannot be productive having your work spread all over your home. You will probably have to attend conferences and meetings on line, and you want to be and look the professional that you are at your normal workplace.
- A designated place for your children to go to school. Again this is key because you do not want all the things they need scattered all over your home.
- A daily routine and schedule. If you don’t do this and keep it consistent, your
day will be set for you and nothing will be accomplished.
This includes the basics:
When you begin and end the day- definite times
Work hours- definite times– and make sure you don’t allow yourself to work in your sweats or pajamas with no shoes on! Studies show those who keep a routine of getting up and dressing just as you normally would, are far more productive at working from home! Did I suggest you had to wear a suit and tie or high heels? You just need to be prepared to have video conferences and look professional. I have a friend who is “remotely located” and once she is ready for work, she physically goes out and gets in her car, drives around the block, and then enters her office with the mindset of being at work! You will find what works for you and your family!
School hours- definite times– this means the children need to be dressed as they would be at school normally, and know what is expected of them.
Meals- definite times with everyone helping. Avoid having an “open” kitchen where everyone can eat and drink at all times instead of at meals and break times. You don’t want to break your budget or gain weight!
Breaks- definite times
Recreation time– after work is done with all involved setting what you will do. Do some fun and creative things you have always wanted to do. Spring is on the way so that could help you get your yard looking great!
TV time– designated times allowed for everyone- do not get in the habit of having the TV on all the time and hearing all the updates that can allow negative thoughts and fears to take over.
Cell phone- designated times for just friend chats- use when needed for business, but plan other communications so that you are not distracted from getting done what you must each day.
Social Media– designated times allowed for everyone- this can become a major distraction, chose wisely the time you spend there.
Family Meeting Time– a short time every day to get the feelings, frustrations, and voice questions and concerns of all the family so you can reassure each other you can do this, and that it will pass at some time!
Bedtime– definite time for everyone to follow- everyone needs their rest and sleep away from technology and the cares of the day. Don’t get in the habit of staying up late and expect to be productive the next day!
- Once you have the basic routine daily schedule in place then you also have to plan on shopping time, cleaning time, daily chores for everyone, keeping in touch with your college age children and your elderly parents. Again no one person can do this alone, it takes everyone working together to get through this!
- Set times you keep up with the daily news. This can be a time robber unless you make the choices of when this comes into your daily life. I suggest you turn off phone alerts as they can be very distracting.
These times are uniquely different than what we have ever been through in our lives. I think back and imagine what it must have been like before we became an industralized nation. The home was the place for work, school, play, and fun. AND families and individuals back then did not have the modern conveniences we have now. So as hard as it seems, laying out a simple routine and creating a lifestyle you are not accustomed to can be a life-changing experience! And who knows, you just might like being “remotely located!”
Sue Falcone is the Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau. As an Award-winning recognized visionary expert in the industry, combined with her strengths of being positive, bringing solutions for every need, and excellent customer service, Sue loves the honor of “earning your business” when you are looking to book a speaker or music artist for your next event. The headquarters of her company is remotely located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Contact her today at 888-766-3155.