Saying goodbye to summer typically means saying hello to familiar routines, like spending more time in the office or heading back to school. But since 2020 itself has been anything but familiar, it’s little surprise that the start to fall is no exception. With many of us slated to work from home for the foreseeable future, and kids of all ages (along with their parents) learning that in-person education may not be in the cards this year, we’re all coming to terms with a vastly different day to day. And while we may not be able to control the chaos that’s unfurling around us, we can certainly control our response to it. So, in the spirit of fighting uncertainty with productivity, we’ve curated a list of tips for making the most of your time at home—whether you’re an employee, parent, student, or all of the above.
Telecommuting Tips and Tricks:
1. The early bird gets the worm:
While one silver lining to working from home is the ability to cut out your commute, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should start your morning later than you normally would. In fact, many pro work-from-homers suggest that the earlier you dive into your work, the less chance you have to procrastinate.
2. Act like you’re going into the office:
Try to mimic your once typical morning routine to set yourself up for success, whether that means waking up at a certain time, exercising, making coffee, or even dressing the part.
3. Designate a workspace and set your hours:
For many, going into the office signifies an essential distinction between work and play. And although that physical separation may now be missing in action, there’s no reason you can’t bring the office to you. Even if you live in a small apartment, try to carve out your own workspace—ideally one with a comfortable chair and good natural light—that you can enter at the beginning of the day and leave at the end of it. Equally as important is outlining your work hours—and sticking to them. Just because you’re always technically in your office these days, you shouldn’t always be online.
Virtual Learning Lessons:
1. Hold yourself accountable:
Whether you’re in high school, college, or grad school, remote learning means doing so without the watchful eye of a teacher or professor to keep you in check. That means it’s all on you to show up (figuratively, of course) every day by doing your reading, preparing for class, and dialing in on time.
2. Use your words:
In a world where social media reigns, many of us actually prefer to communicate through technology. However, with learning now a part of the virtual landscape, it may be time to adapt your writing style accordingly. Remember: most of your interactions with instructors and classmates will require you to compose emails, give written feedback, and participate in chat board messages. Long story short? Proper grammar and a professional tone can make all the difference.
3. Design a work environment tailor-made for you:
Just because you now have the freedom to take your classes from anywhere, that doesn’t mean you should. Identify the factors that you know are central to your own productivity and build a space that caters to them while cutting out distractions. After all, everyone works differently, and your habits are the only ones that matter in this equation.
If you’re among the parents charged with facilitating your child’s education in between work meetings and pitches, in our book, you’re basically a modern-day superhero. But sometimes, even the very best multitaskers need a little help to get by. Read on for some tried-and-true tips and handy reminders for navigating your new routine with confidence and the results to show for it.
1. Honesty is always the best policy:
Here’s the thing: these aren’t just unprecedented circumstances, these are unprecedented circumstances over which you had no say. Your new status as a stay-at-home super-parent wasn’t the product of a personal choice; it’s the result of a jarring worldwide crisis. In short, you should feel more than comfortable being upfront with your boss (or employees) about the demands of your new reality, while proposing solutions that help everyone get on the same page.
2. Get creative with shifts:
If you have another adult at home with you, it might be wise to implement a split approach, where one parent at a time is “on-point”, and more accessible to the kid(s) as they go about their day. And if your on-point duties leave you feeling short of a full workday? Not to fear—there’s always the next shift to switch roles and make up for lost time.
3. It’s all in the routine:
The antidote to uncertainty? Structure. Implementing and sticking to a routine will help everyone in the family—including you—to stay focused and manage some of the anxiety caused by this sizable change. On that note, a well-thought-out schedule is your new best friend. Try scheduling designated times for the kids to wake up and eat breakfast, log on, break for lunch, decompress, and complete homework.