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Herding Cats: Our Tips for Working from Home

As our Development Project Manager, Andrea Buntz Neiman, put it so aptly in our last blog post, “Equinox has been a fully-remote office for almost two years now – we are here, working, and ready to help your library navigate the COVID-19 situation.” We put our heads together last week and we have come up with the following list of suggestions for making the most of working from home – with all of the distractions that entails.

Maintain the work-life mental perimeter: keep regular hours; have a dedicated workspace if possible; make sure your spouse/kids know that it’s work time and minimize disruptions; don’t give in to the temptation to work in your PJs from the couch. And resist the urge to check in after hours (unless that’s literally part of your job). Make sure you get outside a couple times a day; when you’re not commuting it’s surprisingly hard to remember to do this.

Check the background of your video conference calls. If you don’t want it there – move it.

Be kind to yourself! You and your institution are being tossed into this in an emergency with little preparation (and you might suddenly be a teacher, too, if you have school age kids!). Setting a routine is helpful, but don’t beat yourself up over it either.

Remember that if you would have done it at the office it’s valid at your home office too.  It’s easy to say, “I’ll clean up around my desk but I’ll do that after work.”  But the truth of it is that it’s a work task even if the office is in your home.

Provide yourself mental breakpoints. One reason office mates are useful is to provide mental breaks to provide refreshing yourself between long periods of concentration. Stand up, stretch, clear your head. Walk at lunch if weather permits.

Work outside if you can. A change of scenery can help clear your mind and recapture the “going to work” vibe.

Dress to impress. PJ’s are only great for the first few days. After that work clothes become of the “going to work” prep that helps maintain your routine and work boundaries even though you’re at home.

Many parents are working with young or elementary-aged school children at home. Parents need to focus, and kids need something to do.  Here are a few ideas for free, engaging programming online for kids:

1. Watch puppet shows and demonstrations from the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.  There are multiple shows a day.
2. Learn about a different animal at the Cincinnati Zoo every day at 3pm with their Home Safari Facebook Lives.
3. Listen to a story, read by professional actors, etc…

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