Working from Home: How do you do it?!
This blog series is aimed at helping educators with online learning in a time of uncertainty and challenge.
I got a text today from a good friend and colleague in Chicago who NEVER works from home. The text read, “Tell me how you do it!!! How do you work from home? Please send tips.”
CT3 started as a virtual workshop because team members live all over the country. So, unlike many of you, when we aren’t traveling to serve our partners, we have had to figure out how to work from home – maintaining productivity while also re-socializing to the fact that our colleagues aren’t in the next classroom or office.
With so many educators finding themselves working from home for the first time in their professional lives, I thought I would provide a few tips. This is a transition – don’t be too hard on yourself! With a little discipline and organization, you can find productivity sooner than I did. Below are just a few gems that I have found helpful.
Tip 1: Create a workspace that you are excited to be in.
Even though many of you will only be working from home for the next 4-8 weeks, create a makeshift home office that you find inviting. This might be an actual desk, or it might be the dining room table that you never use. Whatever this space is, make it so your power cords are easy to plug in, be sure it has good light, hang a picture that you can glance at of your favorite people, and easy access to files and supplies you may need – paper, pencils, printer, headphones (for virtual meetings), etc. If you don’t make your workspace user friendly, you will not be as productive as you would like to be.
Tip 2: Create and stick to your schedule.
Every evening I look at my calendar for the next day. I then groom and massage it to ensure I am prepping for future work AND attending to the Zoom meetings that are scheduled for the next day. Then, I do my best to stick to this schedule.
Tip 3: Take breaks.
My schedule includes time to exercise each day and a few 15-minute breaks to move around the house and allow for a brain break and/or grab something to eat. For those of you working from home with kids in the house, make these breaks a bit longer and make this time to visit and check-in with your kiddos on the schedules you created for them.
Tip 4: Get up and walk around.
You can schedule this time, but you can also do this while working in the virtual setting. I think best when I am moving, so I keep wireless headphones in my workspace so while I am being generative on a call, I can get up and walk around.
Tip 5: Schedule virtual meetings via video conferencing.
At CT3 we have learned to be extremely productive – and social – using Zoom web conferencing. There are also similar tech platforms like Google hangouts and WebEx to name a couple. These virtual conferencing applications allow you to be in touch with colleagues and students in a way that is the next best thing to sharing space. When scheduling these meetings, set clear agendas, objectives, and finish meetings by reviewing deliverables and timelines. Don’t forget to start each meeting with a check in on how everyone doing – physically and emotionally. Relationships are key!
Tip 6: Make a handwritten list and check things off.
Feeling productive in a virtual setting can be challenging. I keep myself motivated by keeping a handwritten list of things I need to do. When I finish something, I check it off. It might be a small win but checking something off a list is rewarding and a great feeling!
In the end, give yourself some grace as you move into this new virtual world that has you working from home. You will get used to it, you just need to evaluate from time to time what helps you to stay engaged and productive.
We’ll be sending along more tips to help us all through these challenging times.
Yours in this (unexpected) work,
By Kristyn Klei Borrero, CT3’s CEO and Co-Founder