Even if you’ve done it before, working from home for an extended period of time comes with unique challenges. And many of us have been doing it for a while now thanks to COVID-19.
While Rush’s health care workers still head to our hospitals every day to treat patients and save lives, many other staff members — including most of our marketing and communications team — are working remotely.
So we’ve learned a few things along the way that are helping us maintain work efficiency and well-being — sometimes even our sanity — and we’ve decided to share them. Here goes:
- When working at home with other family members, create your own space so you can focus. In small spaces, even a bedroom or bathroom can become a workspace with a little organization and cleaning. Kevin, marketing manager for surgery
- Use video on conference calls if you can. I find that it keeps you more present in the conversation and allows the ability to read facial expressions and body language to gauge how colleagues are holding up in this new normal. Diana, manager of content strategy
- If possible, having a set work schedule (start/stop time) can help with not over working yourself. Bernadette, university marketing manager
- Communication is essential. I try to have daily check-ins with my manager to go over the priorities for the day and make sure we’re on the same page. Taylor, social
- Dress up some days, even if it is not needed. This can help to feel a sense of normalcy. Kia, producer
- Be flexible with your kids. In my house, we start the day strong by going through their must-dos for the day. But we definitely take cues from the kids and give them flexibility if they need “recess” time where they can stop doing school work and play. Diana, manager of content strategy
- Go through your calendar for the day with your significant other. Try creating a structure where you can trade off on shifts for checking in and helping the kids. Diana, manager of content strategy
- Wake up extra early and get some uninterrupted work time before the kids wake up. I find that a quiet house to yourself can be luxury right now. Diana, manager of content strategy
- It can be difficult to stay toned when you can’t go to the gym or don’t have much workout equipment. In lieu of dumbbells, I use a heavy container of laundry detergent as a makeshift weight that I can curl or lift at home. Steve, social media specialist
- If you’re interested in yoga, leave your mat out on the floor to make it more accessible and to remind you to stretch every day. This is important because many work from home spaces can throw off your posture and cramp up your back and shoulders. Anna, senior content strategist
- Check to see if your local gym has online workout classes. Every day after work, I have a reminder set to do my gym’s workout from home on YouTube. Laura, senior communications specialist
- Take a walk outside when you can. My family and I go on daily walks with my dog while maintaining social distance with our neighbors. We tend to mix up the route every couple days for a difference in scenery. Taylor, social media specialist
- Try giving yourself amateur facials every couple nights, such as face mask, scrubs or face oils. I find it amazing how pampering yourself can really boost your mood. Anna, senior content strategist
- Cook something to look forward to for dinner. My partner and I buy our groceries centered around our most favorite meals, even if that means I’m forcing my partner to make us shrimp tacos every four days. Anna, senior content strategist
- Keep bedtime and wake up alarms similar to your usual work schedule. I set both alarms so my sleep schedule doesn’t get too out of whack. Kia, producer
- Use electronics and entertainment as a positive distraction. I try to save them for evening or weekend hours as a way to unwind after the work day. Kevin, marketing manager for surgery
- Put a chair on your back landing and take breaks to sit outside. I close my eyes, take deep breaths of fresh air and listen to the birds chirping. Even 5 minutes of that is rejuvenating. Judy, senior content strategist
- Use FaceTime for your phone calls when you can. It’s a nice and welcoming change to see other people’s faces and it creates a more personal feel when talking about quarantine challenges. Anna, senior content strategist
- Do wellness checks with colleagues. I usually ask my colleagues how they’re managing their work from home situation and share my own stories of how I’ve dealt with challenges or comedic things I’ve encountered. Kevin, marketing manager for surgery
- Share photos of pets. Working from home gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my dog. I enjoy sharing pet photos with friends and colleagues, which seems to give us all some sort of connectedness. Taylor, social media specialist
As a reminder, we need to adhere to the tips that work for us, accept that we’re all doing the best we can and know we’re here for each other. We’re in this together.