Tips for Working from Home
As many people adjust to working from home, I want to offer some tips that I have learned over 17 years of doing so. These are things that have worked for me; everyone will have to find their own groove. Good luck!
- After a few days of catch up sleep, get up at the same time every day.
- Exercise or schedule when you can during the day.
- Shower and get dressed every day. Look professional from at least the waist up.
- Make a schedule. Set your work hours and communicate them to your colleagues and clients. Set boundaries. When your work is done, close your computer or office door.
- Do not work in the kitchen. It is the central gathering place in most houses and will have the most distractions. It’s also good to have distance between you and the snacks. #Snackdistancing
- Sign up for FreeConferenceCall.com, Zoom, WebEx and/or Go To Meeting if your employer doesn’t provide conference and video conference services.
- Use the phone to dial in to video conferences as it is more dependable than the audio connection by computer.
- Get a comfortable chair.
- Buy a headset for all the calls you are about to be on. The audio is so much better.
- If you have a laptop, consider ordering a large monitor.
- Consider investing in a ring light. You will look best brightly front-lit, not back-lit.
- Make sure the background that people see when you are on video conferencing looks clean and presentable.
- Pay attention to the speakers on your calls and don’t multi-task. People can tell when you are looking at your phone and not the screen. Be animated when you talk and actively listen. It makes a huge difference.
- If you are preparing to share content, cut down the length as much as possible and try to make it interactive with planned pauses for questions and consider using break out rooms.
- Only invite the necessary people to any virtual meetings. The smaller the group the easier to have active participation.
- Send handouts before any meeting you lead and consider using a visual that you show by sharing your screen. These help keep people engaged.
- Ask a colleague to manage the technology of comments, un-muting etc. when you are presenting virtually.
- Eat lunch away from your computer.
- Take breaks to be social throughout the day. Use social media as your “water cooler.” Pick up the phone. Walk around the block.
- If your kids are home too, share your schedule with them and let them know what times you will be available during the day. If your kids are younger, consider staggering your schedule with your partner if possible.
- With the time you are saving by not commuting, make a personal development plan. Set goals for what you will you do to advance your career with that extra time.
- And finally, order lots of coffee.
Nanette Fridman, MPP, JD, is a strategist and coach for values-driven organizations and leaders. She is the President of Fridman Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in governance, fundraising, strategic planning, and leadership and team development. Nanette speaks nationally and is the author of On Board: What Current and Aspiring Board Members Must Know About Nonprofits & Board Service and Holding the Gavel: What Nonprofit Board Chairs Need to Know. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.