Are you and your agency staff grappling with maintaining productivity while working from home? If it’s a new experience for you, your new environment may pose many challenges and distractions. Renaissance Alliance Senior Vice President of Agency Recruitment Leanne Ross has worked at home for nearly a decade. She shares what’s she’s learned over the years, offering four concrete tips for maintaining productivity. Check out and share her video. We’ve also included a transcript below.
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Hi, I’m Leanne Ross with Renaissance Alliance.
Today I want to share some best practice tips for being productive while working from home. I’m going to focus on 4 main categories – setting up a designated workspace, creating a routine, staying connected, and focusing on what you can control.
Working from home is likely a new environment for you, with your workplace partially or totaling closing during this pandemic. Our Renaissance office is temporarily closed, with all of us currently working remotely and still fully supporting our members. Like you, it’s so important to still be able to support our customers. Luckily the transition has been pretty simple for me as I have worked from home part- or full-time for the last 9 years in different roles. I’ve had a lot of friends who suddenly find themselves working remotely for the first time asking me for tips, and thought I’d share with you what has worked well for me too.
Know that for most of us, right now is not traditional work from home conditions. You might have multiple people all home together at one time, jostling for the best desk space, and the inability to leave and get a change of scenery or work at Starbucks for a few hours. I know it might be hard, but we’re all in this together – so let’s make the best of it and take it one day at a time.
First, make sure you have a designated workspace that is comfortable. If you can, try to replicate your office environment as much as possible for productivity. That likely means setting yourself up at a desk or table. I find it most productive to still use two screens. Somewhere with a door that closes is ideal but not always possible. Since right now you might have multiple adults and/or kids all trying to work in the same living space, be flexible. That might mean using the dining room or kitchen table or island. I know some people who have set up a card table or desk in a bedroom or basement area for some privacy. If you have to be in an open space around others, try to make a sign that shows if you can be interrupted or not – maybe something like this. Headphones or a headset of some kind can also be really helpful when you are on calls to block out background noise, and make sure those you are on with can hear you well. And don’t forget to mute if you’re not talking! If you can, add something that makes you happy – a favorite picture, a plant, some flowers, or a motivational quote.
Second, create a routine. Try to stay as consistent with your regular routine as you can. I still get up and work out each morning, then shower and get dressed for the day – usually it’s yoga pants or jeans, but at least I’m not still in my pajamas. Create goals and priority lists. Then, on a daily basis, plan out your calendar to make sure that you can reach your goals. Schedule meetings in advance and block off time in your calendar for high priority tasks. Build in time for other things like going for a walk, taking care of family or other priorities you need to handle right now too. These are unprecedented times, and I know we’re all doing the best we can.
Third, stay connected. It can feel so isolating right now working from home alone, even if you are surrounded by family. This is a hard transition when you’re used to being surrounded by colleagues most days. While it might not always seem like it, we are fortunate to live in a time where technology has never been more available. Be intentional about connecting with co-workers, clients and friends. I love using video – specifically through Zoom and Facetime. There’s something about seeing someone’s face that makes it seem like you really are together. If video isn’t appropriate, then I find chatting on the phone to feel like a better connection with others than email, messaging, or texting – though those all have their place too. One fun idea is scheduling video chats during lunch or happy hour as a way to still keep up your social connection with others. I also like sending funny photos or jokes to add some levity during the day.
Finally, focus on what you can control. We might not be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our attitude and reaction to them. Some days will be better than others. On those bad days, don’t dwell on them – find something that you know will lift your spirits and keep going. For me, listening to music or getting some fresh air outside can really boost my mood. Flexibility, patience and a positive attitude are so important right now. Our 2-year-old daughter is home from day care. Needless to say, that significantly complicates things while still working full-time. You might be in the same boat, or have a sick loved one, or a dog that loves to bark and interrupt your calls. Whatever it is, take a deep breath and take things one day at a time.
I hope these tips help you as you settle into this new, hopefully very temporary, normal. Check out some of the other great tips and resources that Michael Freilich, Dave Dawson and others from our team have, and will continue to share. Know that we are 100% here to support you during this challenging time. Please reach out if there’s anything we can do. Our best wishes to stay healthy and safe.
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