The Art of Fruitful Labor: From Office to Working Remotely
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, ordered a state-wide shelter in place as the threat of the Coronavirus continues to devastate the nation. Working from home can bring many challenges, especially for those who have never worked from home before. There are a lot of accommodations to consider, whether you are a single person in a small studio or a family with little ones at home. What is the best course of action in these arduous times?
Even if you've worked from home before, there may still be some challenges to keeping a productive work schedule. Your spouse may now be required to work from home, as well. Do you have family or friends to help with the children when you need to be on a conference call or zoom into a meeting with your colleagues? What about the older youth who are more independent, such as your high schooler or college student who was sent home and now have to be taught remotely? Consider where you and your spouse will work from and where each child can study and do homework during this season? Is there an office? Can you share the kitchen table?
When meeting with my clients, our sessions center on:
What is the goal?
What are the challenges?
What are the next steps?
In other words, what is it that you want to accomplish? What obstacles or distractions do you anticipate so that you can create a plan and be better prepared to be successful? Finally, create an action plan to help you accomplish your goal; your projects and meetings. Now, consider the best space where you can be most productive, the distractions that you will need to overcome, and the course of action to be most effective while working from home.
Here are some key ideas to help you thrive in your remote setting.
Create a professional work environment or at least an effective work space where you can be most productive in tackling your workload.
Create a schedule, not only for yourself, but for the family. Creating a routine will help establish structure and sets expectations for everyone at home.
Having office hours will help set boundaries and avert interruptions.
Let your family know when you have a conference call or zoom meeting to prevent disruptions. Consider having a plan in place for the kids to understand when they can and cannot interrupt, such as when the office door is closed, that means I am working on a project and need to stay focused or I will be in an online meeting and can't be disturbed.
Prioritize your work day, just like you would at the office, checking e-mail for updates and communication from your boss and coworkers, referring to your calendar for any meetings, and the projects that need to be done first.
If possible, enlist family and friends to help with the kids, so that you can get work done. If children are old enough, communicate, at their age level, that you need to work from home right now. Communication is key in any relationship.
Is your schedule flexible? Are you able to work first thing in the morning, before the kids get out of bed and the house is quiet? No neighbors mowing the lawn yet or kids playing in the backyard. Some people are most productive first thing in the morning or late at night. Which one are you?
Mental breaks are essential to our well-being. Take a break and walk the dog around the neighborhood or play with the kids. Have lunch with the family or a lunch date with your spouse.
Finally, let's not forget our furry friends who have been used to having the run of the house. Don't let those puppy eyes and wagging tails distract you from your work. Those furry companions will also wrestle for your attention. Be strong. Don't looks into their beckoning eyes or you'll concede. Make sure they have their own place and that their water bowl is full. Remember, be strong.
There are somethings that could be fun to do together, such as working in a common area, while the kids read or do their homework. At the end of the workday, consider clearing your workstation and have a set location where you will keep your computer and work projects, so that they don't get spilled on or misplaced.
How are you staying organized in your remote work environment?
What are you doing to stay focused and boost productivity?
How are you making life with family fresh each day during the coronavirus?
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23