Coronavirus Is Changing The Workplace
Coronavirus is here and has us scrambling. Google is recommending their North America employees work from home until April 10th,
"Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend the you work from home if your role allows," the Tuesday email from Chris Rackow, Google's vice president of global security, reads in part.
Northwell Health has sent their non-essential employees home to work as well, and are offering telemedicine for everyone, as well as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is asking businesses to allow people to work from home, or to stagger shifts to reduce potential exposure during high peak commute times.
As a virtual assistant, I will not feel as much of an impact as many other workers do. My home is my office, where I am afforded the benefit of video conferencing and email rather than in-person meetings and handshaking. Let me first say, working from home is not for the faint of heart. It requires a steady discipline and accountability, but it can be achieved with minimum disruption to your life.
You've been asked to work from home during this outbreak. What can you do to ease the transition from your office to a remote location, i.e. your home office? First, don’t panic. Your life does not have to suffer or come to a halt. The most important step is to take a moment to put together a quick time management program; a way to track the things you need to do each day, such as a task list that you can check off.
It’s vital for you to know how to gain control over your time. Here are a few techniques that will help you organize your day, week, and month efficiently so that you get a lot more done.
Set Goals and Priorities
Before you can even start deciding on how to spend your time, you need to set your goals and priorities for the period in question. It works well to make an overall plan for the time you will be working from home and then translate that into smaller chunks. For example, monthly goals, weekly goals, and then finally into daily tasks.
Create Daily Rituals
Keep important commitments on the front burner by carving out a specific time for them each day.
Designate the hour before bed for reading stories with your children or learning something new.
Create momentum that will drive you forward through-out the day. Score a quick win when you go for a morning run or meditate while it’s still quiet.
Shorten Your To-Do List
Weed out the nonessential items. Decide which tasks require excellence and which can be considered good enough if you complete them on time. For example, as long as your bed sheets are washed and dried, maybe you can skip ironing them. Sheryl Sandberg, author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” said it best, “Done is better than perfect”.
As you work your way through your goals, it’s tempting to guess how long things will take you to complete. However, the best thing to do is schedule everything in your daily to-do list realistically. By being realistic about how much time you need to do things, you’ll avoid roadblocks and bottlenecks.
Here is a useful formula for planning a project:
In minutes, calculate the normal time it takes you to do the task (x4) + fastest time you have achieved this task + the longest time it has taken you to achieve this task. Divide that number by 6, this is the minimum plan time.
For example, when planning out a social media content calendar for a week: (normal time) 240 min x 4 = 960 minutes + (fastest) 120 minutes + (longest) 300 minutes = 1,380 minutes divided by 6 = 230 minutes, or about 4 hrs rounded.
Include Flex Time
One mistake people often make when scheduling tasks is that they don’t take into consideration that time is fluid and needs flexibility. Remember to account for things taking longer than you think, and other variables; allow yourself 15 minutes in between tasks to help your brain switch gears to the next task.
Set Time Limits
When you set your schedule, it’s imperative to set time limits for tasks. Schedule blocks of time so that you don’t go down a rabbit hole and spend five hours there being unproductive while being busy.
Remember You Have a Life
Disconnect for a while. Limit the time you spend online, making calls, and watching TV. Rediscover the beauty of nature.
Health and Wellness
Self-care. I should be able to end this with a “ ‘nuf said”. When it comes to your health, nothing else should take priority. Focus on lessening your anxiety with yoga once a day, meditation 5 times a week, eating right, going to the doctor for yearly checkups, and so forth.
Downtime restores your ability to concentrate.
Many think they have to work non-stop when working from home. While it does help to fill in your calendar and daily schedule with everything that you need to do during any given day, don’t panic if you see empty space in your calendar. You deserve, and need, to have downtime and “me” time.
Be realistic about living your life. It’s great to have goals. However, you don’t want to overburden yourself with work from sunup until sundown. You want to organize your schedule so that you have time for all areas of life. Having downtime to do nothing is perfectly fine if you’re otherwise being as productive as you want to be.