Happy Monday from the home office! I hope everyone is staying healthy and positive as we all practice social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19. For many of us, this has presented a unique challenge and disruption to our daily lives as we transition to remote work. Luckily, the EverCrew has some experienced remote workers that have shared critical advice with the rest of us.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll do our best to share content and stories that will help make this time a little easier for you. What better way to kick this off than with our top 10 tips for working from home?
Not-so-surprisingly, many of these tips are focused on maintaining some type of routine and being mentally “in the office.” I hope these help ease the transition into working remotely and make this week a little easier.
Here are the EverCrew’s Top 10 Tips for Working from Home:
1. Have a defined workspace.
Longtime remote EverCrew member, PJ Gray, Senior Principal iOS Engineer, shared this pro-tip, and it is by far the most suggested strategy for working from home. Whether you live in a small apartment or a sprawling house, it is important to dedicate a specific area as your new workspace. The EverCrew has gotten pretty creative with this in the last week or so, as these photos demonstrate.
Whether you have a full office, a small desk, or you’re setting up shop on your kitchen table, try to find a space where you can set up your workspace and keep it there. If you can avoid working in your bedroom, you should!
We know that sitting on the couch with your laptop and watching Netflix for the next few weeks sounds like fun, but I promise it will get old! Not just for your productivity (and your posture), but for your morale as well. Even if it’s just down the hall, “going to work” will help put you in the right place mentally and help maintain some sense of routine.
2. Get camera-ready.
Believe it or not, this tip is not video-call related. That will come soon. Ken Keefer, SVP of Sales, shared his strategy of approaching his days working from home as if he were going into the office. Yes, this means no pajamas.
Get up and get dressed each day like you are going into the office. Don’t use working from home as an excuse to hang around in sweatpants for weeks on end. By getting dressed each morning as if you were headed into the office, you’ll be prepared for any impromptu video calls and be able to mentally “go to work” each morning ready to take on the day. Now go get ‘em!
3. Be social.
Let’s be real. One of the toughest parts of working from home for an extended period of time is missing social time with our co-workers. It’s a strange transition to go from spending at least 40 hours a week with your friends and colleagues to being stuck at home.
Luckily for us, Regan Holt, Senior Director of Product, set up a “water cooler” video chat that anyone can hop in and join when they’re feeling like a little socialization. And needless to say, our #random Slack channel has never seen so much action.
We like to start each day with a quick “good morning” to our co-workers, a tradition started by PJ, a longtime remote EverCrew member.
Working remotely can make it feel like every interaction with co-workers needs to be all business, but we’ve found that having small talk and social time like we would at the office has helped with morale and camaraderie as we all take on this unique challenge together.
4. Keep on the 9 – 5.
It’s easy to fall into one of two categories when working from home. The first is the WFH warrior that is always online and seems to be working around the clock. The second is the absentee co-worker that’s always doing other things. Trust us, you don’t want to be either of those people.
Working remotely is not a reason to work around the clock. We work ~40 hours a week when we’re in the office and working remotely should not be much different. While you might have some extra time in your day now that you aren’t commuting, this is not a reason to throw “work-life balance” out the window. Let your team know when you’re “in” for the day and when you’re “out” for the night. Then leave work in your designated workspace and enjoy the rest of your evening.
On the other end of the spectrum, working from home is not an excuse to do things around the house while your laptop sits open in another room. While you can (and should) enjoy the perks of working remotely, don’t take it as an excuse to slack off.
Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the perks of remote work without taking it to the extreme:
- Patty Boyer, a Customer Operations Manager, likes to take advantage of her kitchen at home and make a nice lunch. Get creative and make something you wouldn’t be able to pack in a Tupperware and bring to work! Our favorites are grilled cheese and seafood of any kind.
- George Rose, Principal Software Engineer, makes a point to take a walk sometime during the day! Many of us forget how much we walk on our daily commute, and getting some fresh air and exercise can help keep our energy up.
- Mike Nagel, Product and Customer Marketing Manager, suggests getting out for some human interaction at least once a day. This might look a little different during social distancing, but could be as simple as eating lunch with your family or roommates, or supporting a favorite local restaurant by ordering food or coffee to go.
- Make it your own. Whether you’re excited to be in slippers all day, throwing laundry in at lunch, using a favorite coffee mug, or working next to a four-legged friend, enjoy!
5. Give some structure to your day.
We go into the office around the same time every day, why should remote work be any different? The EverCrew’s professional remote workers try to log on (and off) around the same time each day to maintain their routines.
In addition to keeping a regular schedule of working hours, we’ve found that starting each day with a schedule and plan for what we are going to tackle that day is incredibly helpful. So is blocking off time on our calendar to work on specific tasks. (Pro-tip: Start the day with the more challenging items on your list. That way, you have the rest of the day to work on the simple stuff.)
One of the greatest challenges for many remote workers the next couple of weeks is going to be adjusting to school closures. For our colleagues with older kiddos like Senior Account Executive, Molly Hall, structure can help limit disruptions from kids as well. If your kids are old enough to entertain themselves or tackle school work independently, setting a time for snacks, lunch, or outdoor activities could help give them some of the structure they usually get at school. And maybe it will stop them from interrupting your video meetings with requests for TV or snacks. (Maybe.)
6. Get on camera.
When we’re remote, getting on video is key to productive meetings. Getting face-to-face time rather than just talking on the phone helps build and maintain strong relationships with our coworkers and customers. We frequently use Zoom and Google Hangouts to conduct meetings.
A Zoom call with some of the EverCrew.
As more and more travel is getting cancelled due to COVID-19, video conferencing is a great way to maintain and build connections with colleagues and prospective donors alike. Just make sure you have some good headphones and again – no PJ’s allowed!
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Laura Austin, EverTrue’s Creative Director shared this oft-forgotten tip. For some reason, it seems to be much easier to stay hydrated when we’re in the office. Maybe you’re in the habit of refilling your water bottle before you go into every meeting, or maybe you have a fridge in the office that’s always stocked with seltzer (just us?).
Take this as the universe telling you to go refill your water bottle! Or maybe invest in a Soda Stream. Something about those bubbles! No one likes feeling dehydrated, and drinking plenty of water will help keep your energy up while you’re focusing on making the switch to remote work.
8. Take a lunch break.
I’ve mentioned maintaining your routine a few times so far, and lunch is no exception. At EverTrue, we usually congregate in the kitchen around lunch time and eat together. Even if you’re working from home alone, be conscious of this break time.
Try to step away from your desk (or makeshift desk) for a little while. Make a nice lunch. Call a parent or grandparent. Or a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Take your dog for a walk. Play outside with your kids. Then, come back to your workstation rejuvenated and ready to take on the afternoon.
9. Background noise is key.
The expression “deafening silence” is all too real when working from home. Especially when you go from working in an open office to working remotely by yourself.
Time to flip on that radio, fire up Spotify, or just listen to this on repeat. Whatever floats your boat.
Whether you like ambient noise, instrumentals, or a specific artist or genre, having background noise can be helpful to keep focus and make working from home a little less dreary. Just don’t turn on the TV!
10. Stay positive.
While working remotely can be a challenge for us all, we’re all in this together. It’s a great time to spend some extra time with immediate family and catch up via phone or FaceTime with other loved ones. Give your elderly neighbors a call or email and make sure they’re doing okay. If you’re able, donate to your local food pantry or other organizations serving your community. Stay positive and healthy! We’re right there with you.
We’ll be sharing more helpful content about the switch to remote work over the next few weeks. In the meantime, check out these tips for managing remote gift officers and learn how to leverage digital with your gift officer program today.
And on April 8 at 2 PM ET, we’re sharing tips and tricks for using EverTrue as a remote gift officer. Sign up now.