Chances are you won’t be the only one with PBS Kids blaring in the background as your work teleconference starts. Or with the dog barking. Or with a spouse asking where the laundry detergent is. These and many other distractions might be commonplace for the weeks to come as the coronavirus rages in our area.
The team at Northern Westchester Hospital understands that. And while clinicians, nurses and essential staff members remain on campus caring for community members who need them, many employees are at home supporting the mission and front-line team remotely. So they’ve learned a thing or two about remote work along the way.
Find your work from home groove by getting into a good routine and set boundaries.
“It’s important to let your team know your preferred schedule,” stressed Gretchen Mullin, Director of Marketing at Northern Westchester Hospital.
“It’s always helpful if your colleagues know when you will be available to take a quick call or when they can expect a response back to the ‘high priority’ email they just sent you,” added Amanda Hellerman, Development Officer.
If you have children about, scheduling time is key. Keep your work calendar up-to-date, but be flexible. Amy Rosenfeld, Program Coordinator of Community Health, Education and Outreach uses a spreadsheet to map out everyone’s activities each day.
“My husband and I take turns working and watching the kids—engaging them in scheduled activities, free play and outdoor time,” she explained.
Communicate often with your team by video chat (if possible) and phone.
Going from a collaborative office to a solo environment can be daunting. Communication with co-workers is vital to keep everyone together and informed of status updates at reasonable intervals. And morale matters, too.
“You don’t have to sacrifice ‘water cooler’ chat just because you’re not at the water cooler,” said Hellerman. “This has really helped us keep the collaboration going.”
Set up a workspace that works for you.
Perhaps you have a home office ready to go, or maybe you need to set up at the kitchen table or a space seemingly less conducive to office work. Wherever you spread your files and folders, make sure it’s a place that works for you.
Brianna Miller, Markting Manager, prefers a desk but has had to make do with no room for one.
”My apartment is tiny,” she said, “but I was able to transform what’s usually my makeup station into a makeshift office. There’s a printer where my collection of eye shadows and lipsticks used to be.”
Think of a break as a little mental vacation. That’s the way Constance Skedgell, a freelance writer for NWH sees it.
“These tiny breaks are for: reading or shopping online; emailing/texting friends about non-work things; playing with your animal companion; finding a cookie recipe to try over the weekend. They are not for: cleaning, doing laundry or pulling together documents for your tax accountant,” Skedgell noted. “My focus on work is actually sharpened by doing fun stuff at regular intervals.”
And while you're waiting to hear when you can return to the office, check FAQs About the Coronavirus Outbreak in Our Community for tips on how to cope with the viral outbreak in our area.
Working from home is quite doable. These tips work for the team at Northwell Health, and they can work for you.