I’ve worked from home a fair amount of my adult life. For the last 25 years I have had a job in higher education – but I have only had to be at my university office location for certain times during the week. It has been 25 years since I’ve had to show up somewhere at the same time every day and stay till another time. My job as a teacher educator has had me on the road supervising student teachers, traveling to conferences 2 – 3 times a year, going to meetings around the state, teaching classes at off-site locations (and later teaching online), and, yes, teaching classes and going to meetings and having office hours on-campus. So, it’s not like I haven’t been busy – far from it! My class may be ending at 10pm, or I might have to be on the road for 4 – 5 hours to get to schools to see student teachers in far flung mountain schools. Anyway, some of you are just now starting this “work from home” thing. Here are some tips I have for you:
- Unless you have to be “on” at certain times during the day, be flexible with yourself. Make a list of things you need to accomplish each day – what you would typically accomplish if you were at your office – and start doing them. When you have finished the list, you have finished your workday.
- If you have someone else in the house who is also working from home, come to an agreement about how and when each of you will be working. And where. I discovered early in my marriage that separate home offices were a must for us!
- You may find it takes you less time at home than it would at work. That’s because you are socially isolating – and missing the “social” part of your work. That’s an important part of your job, for sure, but it also takes time.
- That said, take time to connect with co-workers. Call them, text them, face time with them – whatever works. Don’t make it all business – do what you do at the office. Ask about their kids, their pets, their spouses – whatever.
- Have some sort of routine. When I was spending a lot of time at home writing my book, I found that if I wrote for about 90 minutes and then took a real break (that’s below), then came back for another 90 minute block, I was more motivated and able to get more done. (I could usually fit in about 4 90 minute writing blocks before I was “done” for the day.)
- About those breaks – they can be things like household chores, going to the gym (once they open again), taking a walk around the block, watching TV, or looking at social media. As long as it’s not work.
- Give yourself (and others) a break! This is new for you and new for most everyone else. It may become the new normal, but it’s not normal yet! Since it may be the new normal, I think we all have a say in what that normal looks like.
That’s all I have right now. If you have something to add, let me know! I’m posting this on my Facebook page, my blog (at nancymamlin.com), and on the higher ed and the Coronavirus Facebook page. You may feel free to copy, paste, and share if you find this at all useful.