By Rebecca David
Vice President, Human Resources
U.S. Engineering Company Holdings
This article is the third in a three-part series from Rebecca David, Vice President, Human Resources, addressing how to work through a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. This installment features resources on working remotely.
U.S. Engineering is a family of companies that have been deemed “essential,” and many of our team members are working on the frontlines to stop the spread of COVID-19, whether by fabricating equipment for testing labs, constructing shower stalls for pop-up hospital spaces or continuing to service facilities for customers. We are tremendously grateful to them. Our CEO, Tyler Nottberg, recently sent out a thank you letter to our teams and first-responders everywhere.
Others in our organization are temporarily working remotely, myself included. Like many of you, telework is new to me, and I have learned through trial and error in the past several weeks about how to be most effective in my temporary situation.
As such, I wish I had discovered some of these great resources sooner. For example, the tip cautioning about overcommitting on home improvement projects AND being mindful of your background on video meetings may have helped me avoid this epic fail. (By the way – that is not the color I was going for, so now I have to start over.)
But on the bright side, I was delighted to note that several of the experts agree that establishing boundaries, taking breaks to avoid burnout and getting some exercise are all healthy habits that can actually improve your productivity. Personally, I have really enjoyed taking a lunch or mid-afternoon break when possible to enjoy a walk or a set of tennis with my son or husband. Not only does this give me some sunshine, exercise and family time, but the break re-energizes me for the afternoon.
I highly encourage you to check out the resources below. You will find the ones that resonate with you. My personal favorite was the Amy TV video “WORK FROM HOME: 10 Tips to ACTUALLY Get Something Done” by Amy Landino. Lastly, I look forward to this weekend when perhaps I can find that “oh so right” wall color.
(And be sure to read Part 1 of this three-part series on COVID-19 resources, which talks about how to lead during a crisis, and Part 2, which covers managing stress.)
First up, Paige Cohen, Sr. Editor at the Harvard Business Review, talks about how best to work from home, how to keep from either burning out or getting distracted. In this 3-minute video, Cohen covers setting up a defined workspace and other tools to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your new work situation.
Here’s another free (to anyone with a LinkedIn account) video series from LinkedIn Learning that offers some tips on working remotely. While the gentleman hosting this series is working from home by choice—a very different situation than the one we’re experiencing—the advice he gives about how to set up a home office is still helpful.
Time may be an illusion, or so thought Einstein, but we still have to use it to frame how we spend our workdays. And that might be more difficult to do when you’re working from the same place you eat, sleep and do jigsaw puzzles. Here’s a video with 10 tips on how to manage your time in a way that allows you to get your work done AND feel balanced.
And here’s another video series from LinkedIn Learning, specifically covering how to manage time while working from home.
And finally, we’ve all been in virtual meetings—or have seen them on YouTube—where personal life creeps in. A child storms in demanding a snack, or someone you’re on a call with forgets to blur the background, and you see the half-painted wall behind her in all its unfinished glory. The virtual meeting is an art, and it takes practice. Here are 12 tips on how to do it right.
And you guessed it: LinkedIn Learning also features an excellent video series on running your best virtual meetings.
We know this is a temporary situation, and we look forward to the other side of it. We will come through this time stronger.