Before the COVID-19 outbreak, about 5% of Americans worked from home. With more employers initiating work from home contingency plans, there’s an excellent opportunity for all of us to learn “best practices” from someone who has been teleworking for years.
Cate Elsten is an accounting, marketing, and finance professional. With over 35 years of professional experience, Ms. Elsten is the senior testifying and consulting expert in Ocean Tomo’s west coast practice.
Earlier today, Cate shared with me a few tips to get me started on my first day teleworking day.
Her advice seems intuitive but requires discipline to execute consistently. Over the next several days, we’ll be sharing her best practices here on the Ocean Tomo Insights blog.
Cate’s Advice for Getting Started:
Find a dedicated workspace and try to work there as much as possible. Realistically, your dedicated space may change day to day, depending on what you’re doing, so be prepared. (For example, I have a desk I always work at UNLESS I have a day when I need to work with multiple binders; then, I have to move to the dining room table.) Make sure family members respect the space. This can be especially hard for young kids, so maybe do something fun to start, like making “Daddy is In” and “Daddy is Out” signs or an “I’m out and will be back at” clock. This can also be hard for dogs, so I suggest having good chews or stuffed Kongs on hand.
Make sure you know what gets you going in a work mode and stick to it. For some people, this means cleaning up and dressing in typical work clothes; for others, it means writing down a schedule for the day and sticking with it or walking around the block between breakfast and start work.
Think about the rhythm of the week in your house and try to schedule around it. Friday is “Ambient Noise Day” at my house – the cleaner, the yard guy, the garbage trucks all come that day, and every one of them makes the dogs bark. So I try to avoid setting up conference calls for that day; if they’re unavoidable, I start the call by apologizing to the other callers for anticipated interruptions.
Tomorrow, we’ll share Cate’s best practices for Engaging Co-workers.