To enhance your experience during this “new normal”, the Apparo team has compiled our favorite tips for working from home, including mood-boosters, discipline hacks and gentle reminders to take it easy and take a break.
We hope you enjoy!
1. Stay Connected With People
Nicola Main, Project + Volunteer Coordinator:
“Part of working with a team is collaboration and human interaction. When you’re not in the same office, you have to be more intentional about coming together. At Apparo, our daily optional morning Zoom meeting “coffee chat” and then an end of day “hallway chat” with no set agenda, is bringing back the sense of community that one usually gets in an office.
Further, now is a better time than ever to get social on social media. We’ve been using the app Marco Polo to stay in contact with each other in a fun, laid back way. It’s similar to Snapchat – another great option. The use of pictures and video make it a fun switch-up from traditional calling and texting.
Also, make sure you still celebrate fun life moments as you normally would in the office. Celebrate birthdays, works anniversaries and more with a Zoom party, and instead of having the entire team sign a paper card, try sending an e-card.
Lastly, make corona life more fun via a virtual spirit week. Pick a theme for each day of the week and have everyone dress up to the theme. Come together as a team on Zoom to show off your spirit.”
2. Take Breaks + Get Outdoors
Bleema Bershad, Director of Marketing:
“Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bring your work outside. I’ve been working from my picnic table every chance I get.”
Lavonne McLean, Director of Programs + Pro Bono Partnerships:
“Make your meeting a walking meeting. If I can be more informal and don’t need to be in front of my screen, I like to walk for a conference call around my house or block. Who doesn’t like some birds chirping in the background?”
Jennifer Ray, Program Coordinator:
“Set a timer to occasionally remind yourself to take a quick walk or relax in your backyard.”
Kim Lanphear, CEO:
“Breaks are important – both short and long. Don’t feel guilty about taking a 15–minute break. Beyond that, make sure you still schedule vacation time. Take time away from your work to replenish.”
3. Define Your Routine
Cerys Humphreys, Development Associate:
“I’ve found that it can be difficult to strike a balance between home life and work life when working from home. To help with this, I make an effort to set aside time every afternoon to leave my workspace (and my laptop) and enjoy a healthy, relaxing lunch. Taking this time to myself each day helps me recharge my mind and body to have a productive afternoon.”
Stephanie McKee, Director of Technology Engagement:
“Work + Life Balance = Sanity. Set a daily work schedule and stick to it! When creating your schedule, avoid putting meetings back-to-back. Instead, try to block time between them for a quick break or walk. I have found this helps me a lot with not being mentally exhausted by the end of the day.”
Benjamin Knudson, Technologist:
“Many organizations didn’t have remote structure built into their team’s DNA. Start by mapping out a routine for your day, which can help build structure. And don’t forget to have grace with yourself, as we are all discovering new methods of working.”
4. Don’t Work Where You Eat
Domna Gallion, Business Manager:
“To cut back on snacking, I have learned not to bring food into my home office. Instead, I credit myself with a break after finishing a certain increment of work or a project. That’s when I go into my kitchen and enjoy a snack break as a reward, whether indulgent or healthy.”
5. Cut Back On Distractions
“My noise–cancelling earphones were a little bit of a workday splurge ($50), but they are lifesavers, helping me truly focus.”
“Since my kids are using the office (it lets me close the door on their Zoom meetings and online learning), I’ve begun to enjoy working in my dining room. It’sa less used space in my house, so when I close my laptop in the evening, I can leave it there. It also keeps work out ofmy hangout spot for relaxing in the evening.”
6. Optimize Your Physical Comfort
“Avoid sitting and staring at a screen all day. Dial in to some meetings instead of always being tied to the PC so you can walk around. You also do not have to turn on the video component, giving you that same freedom to walk. When you must be at a table, try standing instead of sitting. Even if you left your standing desk as the office, you can re-create it by using a taller piece of furniture in your home or putting a box on top of a table.”
Elizabeth Davis, Marketing Manager:
“Make your workspace ergonomic to avoid unnecessary aches and pains. OrthoCarolina has a great article on what that entails. If you don’t have the furniture and tools for a physically supportive work environment, switch up your seating throughout the day, sitting at different tables and on different chairs, to avoid putting all the strain on the same parts of your body.”
7. Try A Test-Run For Your Virtual Presentation
“Maximize the quality of a virtual meeting or presentation by doing a practice-run with a test meeting.Before you invite guests to a virtual meeting, you can preview what attendees and presenters will see by setting up atest meeting for yourself.In Zoom or Teams, set up a test meeting and email the invitation to yourself. Then, start the test meeting to check audio/video settings, chat settings, and preview what participants and presenters see.”
8. Don’t Fall Prey To Hackers
“Stay cyber–secure and think before you click.Be extra cautious when clicking on a link in an email or on a website. The cyber hacker’s (aka ‘Bad Actors’) are taking advantage of this crisis in very creative ways.”
9. Coordinate With Your “New Co-Workers” To Manage Limit Internet Bandwidth
“If multiple people are working remotely in your house and slowing down your internet, you can managethe limited bandwidth by scheduling a routine between you and your new house coworkers. When you know you have an upcomingZoom meeting call with everyone on video, you can let your new coworker know ahead of time and vice versa. I live with a teacher, so I schedule my walks for when he is having his homeroom chats with multiple people. Then, when I have my video calls, he will go read and do research on the patio.”
These are the Apparo team’s favorite tips for working from home. And that’s not all we have to offer! From best tools of the trade to helpful workflow strategies and procedures, it’s important to us that your team’s transition is smooth and effective. If your organization is still working on making the full switch, we can help! Drop us a line.