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By Debbie Gregory.

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Currently you might be working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are a few more tips to help you get into the swing of working at home, help you be productive from your new home office and help you maintain your overall mental well-being:

 

Establish and Keep Regular Working Hours:

It is important to set for yourself and make clear when you are working and when you are not. If possible, try to keep with the hours you normally worked at our office. If those hours were 9am to 5pm then try to make that time period, your workday. Working from home has placed you in charge of your environment and your work schedule. This means that you will have to hold yourself accountable as well as recognizing when enough is enough and not overdoing it and burning out.

 

Communication is Key:

If you are just learning how to work from home, the transition will require a great deal of patience and good communication skills because you will encounter a variety of challenges in your new workday.

 

Put together a plan that clearly spells out expectations for how often you should check in and how you will tackle any changes or new assignments. This plan is likely to change as you go along. And that is OK.

 

This is a new and unique situation for everyone. It is important to make sure that you are communicating with your coworkers and managers as issues or challenges come up in order to overcome them appropriately and quickly. Never hesitate to reach out to the same people that you would normally turn to for help.

 

Recreate Your Commute to Help Prepare Yourself for Work:

Your morning commute does not only get you to work; it also gives your brain time to prepare for work. Just because you are not leaving your home to work right now does not mean you cannot help yourself mentally prepare for your workday in a similar manner.  If you listen to music on the way to work, start your day with the radio on. Maybe play with your pet, do a quick workout, or spend a few minutes on your favorite hobby.

 

The same goes for after work.  If you generally spend time commuting back home and can wind down from the day, then do something at the end of your designated workday to help unwind. Maybe walk the dog, do some yoga, or read a bit.

 

Remember to Socialize:

Working from home cuts you off from the casual interactions you would normally have with your colleagues.  A lot of people find this incredibly lonely and isolating. Make sure that you schedule regular talks with coworkers or managers, even if these chats are only a couple of minutes long. Additionally, try to schedule less formal chats with your coworkers such as a virtual happy hour after work or a catch-up session.  Don’t forget to schedule regular virtual visits or happy hours with your friends and family during this time too.

 

VAMBOA hopes that these tips will help you to prepare your home office setup and assist you in creating a productive and workday.   Remember that even though our world is upside down now, it is more important than ever to reach out, connect with and take care of one another.

 

BE SAFE AND OBSERVE STAYING IN PLACE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING!

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are implementing work from home policies for those employees who can reasonably complete their work from home. A lot of people suddenly need to learn how to work from home which is very different from working in the office.

 

Below are some tips to help you get into the swing of working at home, being productive from your new home office and maintaining your overall mental well-being:

 

Do Not Become Distracted from News or Anything Else:

Distractions are rampant at home and are one of the biggest challenges for people who work from a home office. There is always something that needs tending to at home whether it is your chore list, a lingering project, or a loved one.

 

It is important to be discipline and limit distractions in your workspace. If you need to toss a load of laundry in the dryer or quickly check the news, be sure and do so but refrain from large cleaning projects. It is important to take regular short breaks from work as you would at the office.

 

If you are susceptible to distraction each  time you receive a text message, news alert, or someone poking their head into your workspace, remember that all of that will still be waiting right where it is when your work day has come to a close.

 

Manage Your Time Wisely:

Regardless of whether you are working or not, it is essential that you set a regular schedule for your day and keep track of your tasks including those pending and completed.

 

You can use a variety of methods for this but here are a few cool, free online tools you may want to consider:

  • Tasks and project management: Air Table, NovaTools, Trello
  • Sharing documents: Dropbox, Box, GoogleDocs
  • Video conferencing: Skype, Zoom, Google Meetings
  • Team communication: Whatsapp online, Slack, Workplace by Facebook

 

Designate a Quiet Workspace or Home Office:

If you are used to going into an office every day, the separation between your job and your home is a physical separation.   You will benefit from recreating that separation as much as possible with a designated physical workspace at home. If you do not have the space for a full room to devote to this, a quiet corner in the least used room in your home will work.  This space should feel as separate as possible.

 

Tips for a good home workspace:

  • It should be a comfortable space
  • It needs to have good lighting
  • Include the things you need to perform your job (printer, computer, phone, paper, pens, etc.)

 

It is important that your workspace is separate from your home space so that you can mentally turn “on” at the beginning of the day when you enter the space and get down to work; as well as turn “off” at the end of the day.   If you never fully disconnect from work, both your productivity and your home life will suffer so try to balance both.

 

Create Realistic Boundaries with Others in Your Home:

If you are suddenly working from home, you are probably not the only one in your house who is facing this new work life balance. You may find yourself at home with your spouse, children, other family, roommates, or others. It is best to set clear boundaries and share them with the other people in your home. Set times or queues for others to help them understand when you cannot be disturbed.

 

Get Dressed Everyday:

This might seem like an odd tip but putting yourself together as you normally would to go to work will help you mentally prepare for your day. It is very tempting to stay in your pajamas but doing so generally leads to a slower overall start to the day and less productivity overall. It is not necessary to dress up such as wearing a suit.  It is good for your head to shower, brush your teeth do your hair, shave or put on makeup and put on something nice.   You will be surprised how much doing this will improve your outlook and keep you positive.

 

VAMBOA encourages everyone to practice social distancing and STAY SAFE!   Stay tuned for more tips in Part 2.

Helpful Apps During Quarantine

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By Debbie Gregory.

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It’s a good bet that you are spending a lot more time on your phone, tablet or laptop than usual. Our devices can be a lifeline of sorts.  Below are a few interesting new apps that may help you beat some boredom during this difficult time.

 

COVID News: Apple’s COVID-19 App:

Apple’s COVID-19 app brings together almost everything that you need to know about the virus and staying healthy that is happening right now. It also includes information on what to do if you think you may have become infected. This app is updated constantly with verifiable information.

 

Cooking: Project Foodie: Guided Cooking:

You may or may not know your way around the kitchen. This app will help you learn to be an overall better cook. It breaks down recipes step-by-step in video format and is led by professional chefs.  It can also be a lot of fun and encourage you to try making dishes that you might never have done.

 

Learning: EdX and Duolingo:

EdX offers over 2,000 classes on just about any topic that you can image and then some. Duolingo is a language learning app that is structured more like a game. It is image heavy, fast-paced, and incentivizes you to keep going with small rewards. There are 35 languages that you can try, including fictional tongues like “Star Trek’s” Klingon and “Game of Thrones'” High Valyrian.  Enjoy!

 

Social: Nextdoor:

Nextdoor connects you with neighbors in your specific neighborhood and some you may have never actually met in person. Though this app was popular and useful before the pandemic, it now it is a fantastic tool to help you connect with your neighbors and help each other out.   It provides you valuable information on what is happening in your neighborhood in a timely manner whether help finding a lost pet or which stores have toilet paper.

 

Relaxation: Stop, Breathe & Think:

This meditation app is designed to ease your mind and help you start to check and evaluate your physical and emotional well-being. The app analyzes your current state and gives you activities that will help you based on your own evaluation.  It includes things such as guided breathing, brief meditations or even calming compilations of cat videos.   This is a time with a great deal of stress and anxiety that is unhealthy for us so this app can be an excellent resource.

 

Exercise: Aaptiv, Peloton, and Runkeeper:

Aaptiv is an all audio-based app so you can start it, pop your phone in your pocket, and go! The Peloton app gives you 30-days of free guided workout videos (strength training classes, yoga classes, boot camps, and cooldowns too). The Runkeeper app tracks your runs and measures your progress. This one is a bit unique since you can earn rewards toward real-life training gear.  Exercise is very important, especially now and will help keep you emotionally and physically fit.

 

Games: Playing with friends: Heads Up! on Houseparty and Playing solo: The Sims Mobile:

Heads Up! on Houseparty is kind of like reverse charades that you play with one or more friends. The Sims Mobile is a fun condensed version of the popular videogame The Sims! You get to manipulate the life of a virtual person who can shop, date, throw parties, meet ghosts, buy homes, get a job, adopt a child, and so much more.   You can live vicariously through your virtual person.

 

VAMBOA is providing this information to be helpful and does not endorse any of these apps nor do we receive any compensation for featuring them.   If you have another app that will provide help or fun for others, please let us know.  Email:  info@vamboa.org.

 

STAY SAFE AND SOCIAL DISTANCE.

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