Do’s and Don’ts of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Working from home may be hard at first, especially if #WFH is not your thing. Individual circumstances make it difficult to follow the mass-media advice, like “set up a home workspace” and “practice mindfulness,” and pompous guidance on “How To Lead Through Tumultuous Times” is meaningless at best.
Would it not be better to just do your job conscientiously? Not “lead” anybody – but take good care of people and things that depend on us, without expecting to be noticed, promoted or even praised for our “awesomeness”?
Do your best. It is not that complicated: use common sense and stay human.
If you continue doing your best during this involuntary shutdown, you’ll get a head start over the competitors after this emergency is over – soon.
This #soon is yet TBD, but I remain optimistic following these Seven Do’s and Don’ts.
1. Set your workday schedule and stick with it. Maintain appropriate business attire and looks, Zoom or no Zoom.
- Do not slack off and grow a beard. It does not help efficiency, and you’ll have to shave really quickly if you have to use the N95 mask urgently.
Disclaimer, just in case: That was supposed to be a joke. Finding humor and sharing it with your team during this involuntary self-isolation. Just do not treat the entire situation and the new necessary measures to contain the contagion. If you decide to get to your next Zoom meeting in a face mask – do it. And draw a wide smile on the mask with a red marker.
2. Leave your worries “at home.” True, we all may face quite a few problems now; make a list of your problems for the foreseen period, develop a realistic strategy, and switch to productive work.
- Do not brood over things that may or may not happen. Do not get your remote team involved into the discussion. Get back to work, “and that, too, will pass.”
I hear your “easy to say” remark. Like everything else with this involuntary self-isolation, the first days are the hardest – and the most important! If you rewire yourself properly from the beginning, you will be better off than most of the people around in a week.
Do not support fear-mongering. Better still, encourage your team to count their blessings together.
3. Use this period as an opportunity to focus on quality over quantity. Set reasonable goals, achieve them – and let yourself “finish earlier today” if you have created enough value.
- Do not put in extra hours just pretending to work. Nobody will notice your “extra mile” and acute “sense of urgency” now.
Treat this crisis as an opportunity to improve as a human being. We spent to much time pretending that we create value. Not your case? Good to hear. But make sure that you stay honest with yourself at least now when nobody is watching you.
4. Take regular breaks, stretch and walk around, get those old weights from the garage. Change the task after the break: that’ll make the task more exciting.
- Don’t “multi-task” and don’t “stay connected 24/7”: use this opportunity to kill those old workplace viruses. Sound cool, but they’ll eventually kill you, and you’ll infect more humans on the way.
Further to #3, this is a great opportunity to get back in shape. While away from the office squirrel wheel, you should be able to make time for push-ups and sit-ups. No, you don’t need a gym to stay in shape.
Change of activity helps to maintain efficiency (this is not a joke, BTW). Multi-tasking is the worst and most dangerous workplace virus supported by corporate environment. Try practicing point #4. This is your lucky chance to get out of this crisis completely virus free.
5. Use your free time at home to learn new things (e.g.: Coursera!), indulge in your hobbies, re-introduce yourself to your family – they will love it.
- Don’t binge-watch Netflix. Don’t watch news more than once a day. In the case of life-changing events, the authorities know your mobile number by heart. (You will be surprised.)
Several years ago, I discovered Coursera. You will be amazed by how much free(!!!) knowledge is available there – and on the Net in general. Now is the time to kill your time learning. Let your competitors watch Netflix and destroy themselves while you get to the next level.
About the news: this is quite serious. Humans are wired to pay more attention to negative, “dangerous” infos. Hence, journalists’ brains are wired to fish out and put together the worst possible picture. Which, in fact, is not news by the time you watch it on the TV. And in the unlikely event of a virus-related emergency, you will get a text message from your authorities before you see it on the TV, yes, they know your mobile number and know exactly where you are. You’ll be impressed.
6. Call your friends regularly. They may need your support. One day, you will need theirs. Keep your circle alive.
- Do not write email or text; use voice or video call only. Do your best to stay human.
Calling friends more often is a natural way to compensate for social deprivation. Just be aware that some of them may need support more than you do, and a simple human contact would help. Make it more human, talk to them, don’t text.
7. Call your Mom and Dad. Daily.
- Do not forget to tell that you love them.
This one is self-evident, no? And not a “trick,” just a reminder, and not just about parents, but also brothers and sisters – who we all are in this world that is especially small and vulnerable these days.
Stay home. Stay human. Stay safe.
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