Tips From The Team: How To Work Remotely

| Ally Cummings

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One thing we’re learning during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is that a lot of jobs out there can be done virtually. For many workers and organizations, this current situation will be their first experience of remote working, but here at She Should Run we’re already ahead of the curve. Our team has had the privilege to be remote prior to this pandemic and that has allowed us to work out the quirks that come with professional social distancing. 

We know this time is already stressful without the addition of restructuring of your workplace. That’s why we’re sharing some of our go-to tips for how you can make the most out of your new work environment.

From our Founder & CEO, Erin Loos Cutraro

Are your kids home because of canceled school? Mine are. And it’s not easy. We have established a basic schedule that we work from. And I’ve had to embrace the hands-off parenting that I’m more familiar with from my own childhood. I try to give my kids my full attention for blocks of time and then I try to give my work my full attention for blocks of time. It’s messy and imperfect but we’re getting into a rhythm. One tip that keeps me sane when trying to balance these blocks of time is to have everything on my calendar. And always assume meetings and kids take longer than you think. Build in buffers!

From our Chief Of Staff, Christina Jackson Scott

Remember to take lunch! Team leaders and managers may have some concern about a lack of visibility into a remote team member’s work plans and daily task lists and at-home productivity. Some may think employees who work from home are more likely to “slack off” throughout the day. But to the contrary, many studies show that remote employees are more productive than their in-office counterparts, and even struggle with self-management around taking breaks and stopping for the day. 

So employees, remember to stop and eat your meals away from your computer while at home (schedule time on your calendar if you have to), and managers, be sure to remind your employees to practice self-care when working from home.

From our Director of Marketing & Technology, Melissa Morris Ivone

It’s likely that your spouse, partner, or roommate may be working from home alongside you for the next few weeks. If you’re not the only one working remotely in your space, set clear boundaries. Where do you want to set up? Do you need quiet? Do you need privacy? Will you be on calls or virtual meetings? Do you like to dance around the kitchen to Wilson Phillips when you’re brainstorming? Your work requirements might look different than someone else’s, so be upfront and say, “No, Rob, I can’t take a break in the middle of the day to watch a two-hour documentary about the key battles of WWII with you.” You know, hypothetically.

From our Political Pipeline Director, Jarinete Santos

Plan your work, and work your plan. In a remote environment, it can be tempting to let reactivity guide your work. An email pops up, a slack message comes through, you get a text from your direct report/colleague/boss asking if you can chat for a moment and you jump into action. Sometimes these requests will be true priorities and other times they won’t. To help keep focus, balance workload, and discern when to make adjustments I use the last 30 minutes of each day to plan for the day ahead. By considering upcoming deadlines and organizational priorities I can best align my work and manage my engagement with others, rather than being managed by the minute-to-minute shifts that beg for attention. Having a plan helps me to stay productive, honor my commitments, and wards off those pestering thoughts of “am I doing enough?”

From our Donor Relations & Partnerships Manager, Kaitlyn Newman

Be intentional about moving your body, in whatever way makes sense for you and your abilities. It can be easy to stay glued to your laptop and log less than a hundred steps from the desk or couch to your kitchen by the end of the day. It creeps up slowly so without an intentional plan (block off the time on your calendar!), your physical and emotional health will be dramatically impacted.  I usually like to plan sunshine-filled morning walks with close friends to keep my blood pumping and my joints limber, but for now, I’m walking solo or with my partner. With quarantine, you may need to stay completely isolated inside, so an at-home yoga work break (even done standing or at your desk) and a Vitamin D supplement (add a bottle of these to your coronavirus prep list!) will keep you in tip-top shape. 

From our Programs Associate, Kathleen Kiernan

Take care of yourself and your mental health. News about COVID-19 is non-stop and while staying informed is always good, it can take a toll on your brain, especially when working from home where you are isolated. I close my apps, toss my phone somewhere I can’t reach it, and dive into whatever project I’m working on. It’s okay if you get distracted — don’t punish yourself. Simply pause, take a beat, and begin again. If you have a meeting, try to make it a video meeting so you can still see people. Take a break to call friends and family and if you are able to, go outside for 10-15 minutes to catch some sunlight. It makes a world of difference in your focus when you’ve taken a breath of fresh air and felt the warmth on your skin.

From our Digital Communications Manager, Ally Cummings

Take advantage of the chance to create your own workspace. The quality of a workspace is vital to productivity. Think about how many hours you spend in your workspace. Whether your remote work is long term or just for a few weeks, this is an opportunity to design a place that fits your needs. The time of “it’s too cold,” is over! Find a spot in your home that will allow you to stay productive but also turn off when the day is over. Maybe you work better with some essential oils diffusing in the air. Or your productivity spikes when Lizzo is blasting from your speaker. Regardless of what your secret method is, your remote office gives you the chance to increase your efficiency and make the workday more your own. 

From our Development & Operations Assistant, Sara Mwamlima 

To me, health is very important, both mental and physical. Working at home can have its plus sides, but also without being responsible for the fact you’ll be spending hours sitting down at home can cause a slow snowball effect of health issues. I already consider myself a healthy eater. However, for those who aren’t it’s important to understand that over time, sitting down all day and eating the wrong foods can add up. They can add up in the way you feel physically but they can also contribute to your mental health, which can affect productivity. Yes, people who work at an office sit at a desk all day and maybe visit the staff snack table more often then they’d like to admit, however, they at least have that bit of walking/exercise from their daily commute. So while you’re working from home I highly suggest moving around when necessary, being mindful of what you eat, and taking these tips back to the office with you. 

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