Remote Working Tips from the Sunwest TeamApril 20, 2020
As shelter in place orders continue in many cities and states across the country, those who had previously never worked from home are having to adapt quickly. Whether you are learning how to best stay connected with clients or teammates or simply having trouble unplugging at the end of the day, you’re not alone.
Throughout the past month, the Sunwest team has been sharing with one another our best work from home tips – and now we’d like to share them with you! After all, we’re in this together.
Do you have any work from home tips you’d like to share? Email us!
- Keeping the relatively same schedule as when I had to go to the office and putting kids on a relatively same school schedule (with flexibility).
- Exercise – I have been even more diligent about keeping up my exercise routine and conscious about healthy eating and water intake. I try to do it outside if at all possible.
- I make a goal of reaching out to at least 2 people every day – colleagues, friends, my sons’ teachers, family members etc.- especially those that may be on the front lines right now addressing the crisis to touch base and let them know I am thinking of them.
- Our team GroupMe and weekly calls have helped me continue to feel connected. I have also tried to reach out to a different coworker each week to check on them and see how they are doing.
- One of the things that is unique to our industry is keeping up with the media and how they’re doing, what they’re writing and how we can fit our clients in. I have been reaching out to the media to see how they are and what they’re working on, and I have gotten some great results from that. So I think it all goes back to consistent communication with clients, coworkers and the media.
- I was homeschooled, so “working” from home is nothing new to me. I definitely think it helped prepare me to work from home because I was used to accomplishing things outside of a traditional setting. The most important tip I can give is to remain self-disciplined. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished and work through it as the day goes on. Don’t give in to the temptation of putting off work just because you are not in the office.
- At Sunwest, we have a fantastic work culture which is one of the best parts of the job. I miss seeing my coworkers every day but we have set up weekly virtual meetings where we wear crazy outfits and talk about movies or songs that have gotten us through quarantine. The virtual meetings are the highlight of my work week because we get to check in and make sure everyone is doing okay during such a difficult time.
- I have found that having a schedule is important. Keeping “office hours” helps with the work life balance and taking a “lunch break” helps to decompress. The biggest difference or challenge is not being able to walk down the hallway and get the answers to your questions in real time.
- I’ve made sure to keep clients feeling top-of-mind by doing the following:
Communicate often, phone email and video – participate in some of their team meetings or committees.
Setting expectations each week for the work that will get done and in what timeframe. When the client is armed with the deliverables and the timeliness that is what they report back to their teams and we can make them look like heroes. … of course we have to deliver on those promises, too.
Being available even after hours for a quick call is reassuring. Knowing that during this time some leaders are juggling their own back to back schedules, being flexible on when you can offer counsel is a great service.
- Choosing my work space was key. I needed an area where I can somewhat isolate from any noise from my family coworkers, but yet have a view to the outside world. This has kept me on track. I thought about trying different spots out, but I’m sticking to my routine two weeks in!
- I *do* lean into my natural cadence. I make sure I do all my verbal communications early in the day so that I have time to do my focused writing later afternoon (or even evening) to leverage my natural ability to be a better writer later in the day. Organizing my work like this is just more efficient.
- Keeping a daily routine is important. This is the longest period of time I’ve worked from home and when I’ve maintained a regular “work” routine (not staying up too late, wearing reasonable office attire during the day, etc.) – those days I’m more productive.
- Striving to respond by the end of each work day – even it the message is “I’ll get back to you on ______.”
- Breathing and meditating!
- For client relations, flexibility is key. We operate as an extension of our clients’ teams, and that rings especially true when a crisis as encompassing as the COVID-19 pandemic arises. As we’ve stressed in previous blog posts, timely communication with all audiences is crucial in these situations – and we’re always going to guide our clients through that process first and foremost, regardless of contractual intricacies.
- In terms of adapting to temporarily working from home, most people suggest sticking to a concrete schedule. While I’m definitely trying to maintain boundaries, I’m leaning on my mental state to help guide my work and activities rather than the clock. Some mornings, I make my coffee and am successful at tackling work assignments right away. Other days, I need to jumpstart my energy with 20-30 minutes of physical activity before diving into a project. I’ve found this approach very effective – instead of spending an hour or two trying to push through an assignment in the wrong state of mind, I’m able to complete it in less than 30-45 minutes after taking a break to refresh my focus.
- It has not been difficult for me at all because of all of the tools and technology we have at our disposal to stay connected. The biggest challenge is remembering to step away from the computer and take care of myself.
- I connect with each client daily to help ensure they continue to see that we are a valuable part of their team. I ask frank questions about what their needs are and find a way to meet those needs even if a bit out of scope during this time of crisis.
- Time blocking has been helpful for me, especially as clients stay in crisis mode. As things are changing so rapidly, my schedule for the day is harder to predict. So, I focus on big writing projects and labor-intensive items in the early morning, so I can stay focused on calls and the inevitable pop up items during the day.
- Although I prefer 2 screens because it makes work a lot easier and in terms of having multiple documents open at the same time. One tip I have is to connect your laptop to your TV (if possible), and your screen real estate is way more that you will ever need.
- I like to keep the window shades open while working as a reminder that there is a world out there and we are all in this together!
- Make time for exercise! It is so good for your mind, body and soul.
- Give yourself and your clients grace! We are all figuring out how to work remotely, and everyone’s situation is different. You may have a client that is not only responsible for your account, but is now responsible for watching kids and filling in as a teacher for them. On the other hand, you may now have to share a very small workspace with a roommate or family member, which definitely has a learning curve associated with it. Don’t assume the worst if your client isn’t as responsive as normal, but try and have empathy for them and remember that this is challenging for everyone and we are all in this together.
- I have tried, especially now during these uncertain times, to do the things that I love and are life-giving for me throughout the day. If I am not taking care of myself and my mental health, I know I won’t be able to give my clients my best work. So, I have made time to exercise, read, bake, and do other things that make me happy. I haven’t been watching the latest Covid updates because, frankly, they are depressing! I am choosing to fill myself with what will actually bring good, rather than make the fear seem bigger than it needs to be.