Working from home
No one signed up for this. When you accepted your position there was no expectation that you would be completing the work remotely. Quite the contrary. You were interviewed for a position in an office or a building or some kind of structure with full access to the things you might need to get the job done. Maybe you were even given an office with a view of the park. Whatever the case was, it is likely no longer true.
As you navigate your new reality, you are faced with more questions than answers and with each task or project a new set of challenges or an unforeseen consequence arises. I’d like to use this space to share a set of resources that can help answer some of those questions and provide guidance on how to be successful in this new frontier. I will be posting resources that I find, but I want to extend the invitation to the membership to share resources for me to evaluate and potentially share in this space as well. Check back often as I would like this to be a living, fluid place to find information.
Getting set up
If you are an employee of a mid to large-size company you’ll want to work directly with the IT department. Your IT department will likely get you set up with a laptop to check out if you don’t have one already. This might be a better option than using your personal laptop for many reasons.
Use the company/intuition’s equipment
One, the laptop will not be your property, that is, the wear and tear such as everyday use and data usage and storage will not affect your personal property. Two, it will be loaded with the programs you need to be successful. If it’s not? You get to return it and have it installed or have the IT department connect remotely to get it added. For many organizations, the IT department is considered essential and they will be there to provide support.
1. Stay connected with peers.
Social connection is good for psychological health and task completion habits. Do what you can to bring peers into your circle. Ask them questions and alert them when you have something going on that could be a joint online activity. For students, if you don’t have a virtual study group, now’s the time to make one.
2. All of us need nontask interactions alongside getting work done.
Communication builds trust, particularly through a narrow medium such as virtual (rather than face-to-face) work. Set aside the first 5 minutes of any meeting for “check-ins” about how the rest of life is going. There will be plenty to talk about during the next few weeks and even months.
3. Shared emotion is vital.
Don’t ignore your and others’ mood(s). If a virtual partner is feeling down and you’re giddy and goofy, that’s not helpful. Empathy matters. It builds trust and keeps the relationship going, even though the emotional cues are harder to pick up. The shared experience — the synchronization — is what matters. So, use face-based interaction when you can. Show support and you’ll get support.
4. Structure your day.
Create a schedule of online or virtual activities and stick to it. Routine is your rock, particularly when everything else is fluctuating around you.
5. Patience, patience, patience with technology is another key.
Things that used to go fast are going to slow down as everyone tries to crowd into the same bandwidth. All learning curves are steep at first. You will most likely get computer-frustrated. Have an outlet. (I have a hacky sack that is getting extra use right now).
6. Be able to show your work.
If you aren’t seen, people generally don’t think you are doing stuff. Try and create a trail and visibility for what you are doing by sending more emails, drafts, or even photos of your work. It’s important to involve others in what you are doing and for them to see proof of that.
7. Find apps to help you digitize.
If you’re working on things that are not digital docs, you need a way to translate them online. I recommend investing in a smartphone app that goes from photo to pdf. Some excellent apps are free, including a native app in the Google Suite and my favorite, “Tiny PDF.”
8. Take a learning orientation, not a performance orientation, to this weird time.
Think about how this part of your life is helping you develop your repertoire of virtual collaboration skills. You’ll definitely use them again. If you master Zoom, try Microsoft Teams, and so on. In the long run, and paradoxically, a learning orientation creates better performance because of the breadth of talent you’ve amassed.
Resources for working from home
It takes time to become adjusted to a major lifestyle change. To stay ‘in tune’ and remain positive, there are many resources to help you along the way.
7 Cups Emotional Help Chat: – Need somebody to talk to? 7 Cups is a FREE on-demand emotional health service and online therapy provider. Anyone who wants to talk about whatever is on their mind can quickly reach out to a trained, compassionate listener through their network. They have hundreds of listeners who come from all walks of life and have diverse experiences. https://www.7cups.com/
Insight Timer App: Feeling more anxious than usual lately? Try Meditation! Meditation can increase focus, reduce stress, and promote better sleep. Insight Timer App is a FREE service that contains more than 30,000 guided sessions that tap into every emotion. It also offers relaxing music tracks, a section for kids, and therapeutic pep talks. https://insighttimer.com/
Your gym or fitness studio’s closure doesn’t mean you can’t still make healthy choices. Here’s a list of 13 free online workouts you can access via a smartphone app, YouTube, or live streams on social media — specifically leaving off workouts that require equipment, cost money, or have brief free trials.
Total Body Workouts
Crossfit: Kicking off this list is the famous HIIT and weightlifting brand, which surprisingly has a lot of free beginner-friendly workouts on their website. The best part? Instead of using personal trainers, Crossfit used normal people or older folks to demonstrate that anybody can do these exercises.
Planet Fitness: One of the country’s largest gym chains, Planet Fitness, has been live-streaming free online workout classes on its Facebook page on weekdays at 7 p.m. ET. These 30-minute, equipment-free workouts are also available on demand on their YouTube channel.
Nike Training Club: This app lets you download free 15-, 30-, and 45-minute workouts designed by Nike trainers. Most of the workouts are equipment-free and use GIFs to demonstrate how to do each exercise — from squats, to walkouts, to lunges. There’s a premium version, too, that includes nutrition advice.
Barry’s Bootcamp: The boutique studio popular among celebrities will stream 20-minute equipment-free workouts on Instagram live. They’ll also save workouts onto their IGTV the next day. Here’s a sample class.
Blogilates: One of the biggest fitness YouTube accounts is offering free 10- to 20-minute pilates and bootcamp sculpting workouts for a decade. You can also get free monthly calendars like this 14-day quarantine workout plan on the Blogilates website.
P.volve: The total-body fitness streaming service is offering free 10- to 20-minute classes on their Instagram live. You can also get a 30-day free trial to their hundreds of other classes using the code ONEPVOLVE and create custom workout calendars.
STRONG by Zumba: You can access plenty of free HIIT workouts on YouTube, choosing from 7-, 20-, and 30-minute on-demand classes. The videos also come in languages other than English.
Corepower Yoga: The national yoga chain is offering free 30- and 60-minute classes while studios are closed. Special livestreams of classes will be available for members only starting March 19, and you can pay the $19.99 monthly fee for unlimited access to all Yoga On Demand classes.
YogaWorks: Have a little more time? You can find plenty of 60-, 75-, and 90-minute classes on various studios’ YouTube accounts. Full schedule here.
Downward Dog: This company is offering its suite of fitness apps — from the seven-minute workout, to Barre, to Yoga for Beginners — for free, with no subscription required.
305 Fitness: Do you enjoy Zumba or other types of dancing workouts? The dance cardio studio is offering free 10- to 45-minute classes on their YouTube page.
Peloton: The fitness company is offering a 90-day free trial to its digital membership, up from its usual 30-day trial. With the trial, you can access 20-plus live classes per day and thousands of on-demand classes, from meditation, to walking, to strength-training, to indoor cycling. After that, a digital membership is $12.99/month.
Beach Body on Demand: Two free weeks, and then various monthly contracts after that.
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