Start: Dogs, Cats and Kids, Oh My!
When Everyone Works from Home, Does Anyone?
Unprecedented. It's hard to find another word than that to describe what our work and personal lives have become in the last few weeks.
Even for those that worked from home before, everything is different.
For some, the Zoom meeting and webinar platform was already a familiar tool. ABLE Tech began to use it a couple of years ago as our staff are scattered around Oklahoma. On the accessibility side, we have used it for training and technical assistance for more than 2 years.
The rest of the world didn't seem to know it existed before March.
Now we use Zoom for all kinds of things:
- Social life
- And more
Every remote employee at ABLE Tech signs a form that says that they will ensure that communication from the home office is professional. That includes things like not having screaming kids or barking dogs in the background during calls.
This is not possible. And you know what? Meetings and trainings still work!
If you have kids, especially younger ones, then your work life and home life are blended like never before. The boundary between work and school and life always moves. And for many the combination of responsibilities starts as soon as they wake up and might end an hour before they fall asleep on sofa.
What to Do?
A few people have asked, "what tips do you have for working from home?" And even now there are some things that can make it easier.
Dedicate Space, Even if it's Not an Office
Having a place to call home for work will help to set up something like a routine. It can be part of a sofa or the dining table during work hours. If you have an unused room and can set up an office there, even better.
Give Yourself and Others a Break
This is what happens when we all run at about 70% capacity, at most. It is a really good time to cut people some slack. And that should include cutting yourself some slack. Things aren't coming as easily as they were in February. It's OK. Manage expectations, even the ones you have for yourself.
Take Screen Breaks
Especially for those that are on a device during work it is important to remove your face from your screen(s) from time to time. Move some. Go outside. Stare vacantly into the sky or a wall. Admit that it's hard to focus for more than about 30 minutes. Give your brain breaks during the day.
Manage the News
The news is consistent and everyone has an angle. The sensational stories are the ones that come through loudest right now. Don't fall out of touch with things changing as quickly as they are right now. Don't glue yourself to a news stream all day and all night either.
The chart below shows some lines:
Manage Your Energy
This sounds metaphysical. Hear me out. We only have so much energy. Right now our batteries are low literally from the time we wake up. Be mindful about what you put energy into and how much it takes to do things. Keep up with responsibilities in work and personal life. Recognize that some things are gonna have to wait.
Catch up on a Project or 10
If you have spare time then use it to do something. Fix something that's been broken for a while. Cut your own hair. Cut your cat's hair. Make your website accessible. At this point anything constructive or at least not harmful will do!
Keep a Schedule Handy
It's spinning plates while juggling knives and balancing on a balance beam. Keeping a schedule handy where everyone can see it can help everyone stay that much more organized. And that much less stressed. Below is an example of a schedule for the work week.
|M 10 IEP||R 11 Mtg||K1 Friend Zoom||M 9 Mtg||M 11 Mtg|
|R 10:30 Mtg||K1 12 School||R 2 Mtg||R 11 Mtg||R 11 Mtg|
|K1 11 Soccer||K2 3 Soccer||M 2 Mtg||K2 2 Friend Zoom||K1 11 School|
|K2 3 School||M 3:30 Mtg||K1 5 Guitar||K1 3 Soccer||K2 11 School|
Don't Send a Message after About 2 Without Thinking About It
We're all at or near stress level maximum a lot more than we're used to. If your stress rises during the day and your patience drops during the day then don't hit Send on that email without re-reading. And reconsidering.
This is a great time to create and recreate connections. Phone calls and letters are things that we have time for. Even if we don't maintaining our connections and forging new ones is important while we stay 6 feet apart from the world.
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