Tips for Your WFH Transition

One of the luxuries of reporting to an office every day is that you can, for the most part, separate your home life from your work life. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced everyone to be home without much time to prepare. Many organizations had no choice but to implement a system of video calls and digital messaging. Successfully protecting your brand requires that you keep a level of professionalism. That might seem completely impossible with everyone at home all day. But here are a few practices that might help you balance life at home and work at home.

  • Don’t deviate much from your usual daily routine: Wake up at the same time as if you were going into the office. Let the kids sleep in just a little, giving you some extra time to prepare for your family’s new routine. Incorporating a morning workout will help keep stress levels down. Once everyone is awake, have breakfast as a family. Discuss how to set the tone for a productive day. Also, make sure your pets are taken care of ahead of time. At the end of the day, adhere to the regularly scheduled bedtime. It’s tempting to let the children stay up later than usual. But a tired kid will be cranky and less likely to go with the flow the next day.
  • Get dressed for work: Staying in your warm & fuzzy PJ’s sounds nice, but your colleagues would probably prefer you didn’t. If you must stay in your favorite sweats, make sure that you are “video” meeting appropriate from the waist up. Dress shirts, maybe sans the tie, and blouses are the best option. Comb your hair and ladies, still put on your makeup. Remember, you want your coworkers and colleagues to see you as they always have. Video meetings are a great branding opportunity for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Dress up your company t-shirt with a blazer or a cardigan. Or wear a branded lapel pin. Take advantage of the amount of focus on you that there will be.
  • Create dedicated workspaces: Designate areas for the children to do their schoolwork & activities and for the adults to work; even that means simply a specific seat at the table. Keep supplies nearby. Minimize the overflow of noise if you can by putting some distance between everyone. But, if everyone is in the same room, use headphones and be mindful of your speaking volume. Try to stay close to electrical outlets. You’ll need to keep laptops, phones, and other devices fully charged. Also, make sure that everyone has enough light to work comfortably.
  • Schedule work and family activities: Decide when you will start and end your workday. Use your digital calendar or planner to organize the deliverables, tasks, and meetings. Get in the habit of taking a lunch break. And, make sure to include a morning and an afternoon break as well. Use these times to check in with school-age children. Taking breaks to spend time with your children will help minimize interruptions when you need quiet time the most. Side note: infants and toddlers usually set your schedule for you. If you have younger children, try scheduling meetings during their nap time. Avoid distractions from pets by having their favorite toy or treat handy – something that might occupy them for 15-30 minutes. 
  • Get everyone on board: Communicate your schedule needs to all of your stakeholders – family, roommates, etc. Alternate call and meeting times so that you aren’t drowning each other out. Share duties related to kids and pets. One of you does a morning with the kids and the dog, and the other takes the evening. Include the kids in conversations about your work responsibilities and their role in that. Children are usually eager to help. On the other hand, set the expectations of your business stakeholders and ask for time and flexibility when you need it.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings when you are in video meetings and on conference calls: Make sure the camera view is clean and clear of clutter. Messy beds and laundry baskets are a no-no. If possible, set yourself up with a clean wall or a piece of art as your background. Avoid having your back to a sunny window or a bright light, as the reflection may interfere with the video. If your environment is just not conducive, substitute the video with a nice picture of yourself. Again, as much as you can, keep background noise levels to a minimum. Give the kids headphones to watch a movie or to play educational games. If you can, go into another room. And be sure to mute yourself when you are not presenting or speaking to avoid exposing your colleagues to any unexpected giggles, cries, or even the occasional bark. 
  • Coexist with consideration: Like it or not, we are getting more than our fair share of togetherness. We are all stressed and stretched outside of our comfort zones. So, don’t lose the personal side of life. Have patience with your loved ones and your colleagues. Step outside and enjoy the fresh air frequently. Share lighthearted messages and jokes with your network. Take in news cycles in small doses and focus more on the things that make you smile. 

We encourage you to continue to live and work by faith and make decisions with wisdom, not fear. In spite what things look like, make today AMAZING!

In Service,