March 17, 2020
Self-isolation: the ultimate social distancing solution
by Maureen McCabe
With the recent increase in employees working from their “home office” due to the coronavirus, for many remote working has become the new norm. I’ve worked from my home office for over 13 years, here are some of the biggest positive (pardon the pun) impactful tips that can help you work efficiency when you don’t have the structure of working at a traditional office surrounded by colleagues:
Just in case you don’t read to the end of the blog, please ‘stay home, stay informed’ – refer only to trusted news sources like Health Officials who are basing their recommendation on ‘science’, not the politicians such as the President, Prime Minister or cabinet.
Tip 1: A home office should still be an office
The single biggest challenge most people face when working from home is a distraction. While there are many causes of distraction and many solutions, they need to begin with defining what part of the house is the office and what part is home. Only then can one truly say, “I am in my office – I am at work now.” Ideally, it’s a separate room with a door that closes, so you can lock out the humans and cats that live with you. This is especially true now if your spouse (mate, date, significant other, partner) and kids are home because of the coronavirus. Tell them you are not at home, that you are in your office.
Remember, if you weren’t there, they couldn’t ask you questions. This is sometimes tough to do, but it’s a lot easier to draw the line from the get-go than to try to draw the line after they get used to interrupting your work.
Tip 2: Make your home office look like your real office
To further remind yourself that you are at the office and should be doing office work, bring some of your “office things” home. Team photos, office posters, ribbons and awards you’ve won are a good start. Some have been known to leave their kids “ugly artwork” that everyone pretends to admire.
If you have never worked in a big office, picture what you would have. The idea is to adorn your home office so that it looks and feels like a “real” office. That helps trick your mind into believing you should act like it’s a real office.
Tip 3: Get the right equipment
For effective collaboration with clients and coworkers invest in a quality webcam. It’s an easy-to-use productivity tool for screen sharing, using Google documents and video conferencing. Try it, you’ll like it. It consistently helps many sales folks – close the deal – as you’re in front of the prospect. Ask Codey in Fort McMurray just 3,800 km (2,300 miles) west of Toronto why he hired me: “as seen on Skype”.
Video conferencing is great for staying in touch with existing clients, especially if you need to boost revenue – it’s a snap to upsell them as they too are feeling, social distancing. But I’d never do this to a valued client, I’d skip sending a link to the slightly less valuable client as I know they’re too busy and seldom look at my LinkedIn posts or other social media… and they’re heads-down running their businesses and keeping afloat. Aren’t we all. This is an insightful blog about Marketing during coronavirus: How to come out ahead
Tip 4: Invest in a sit-stand desk
You will spend hours every day at a screen, so make sure that you aren’t hunched over, stretching or straining. Invest in a sit-stand desk, and ensure your keyboard and mouse are as comfortable as possible. Most people who work from home don’t think about long-term health effects. A little time and money invested right away can save a lot of aches and pains later on.
- To help fight the spread of coronavirus British government and their health experts have recommended washing your hands and singing either ‘If You’re Happy’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ to ensure that you wash your hands for long enough (20 seconds) so they’re spanking clean and germ-free.I prefer to be positive, (oops, two-thirds of a pun, PU) ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands’ 3+ million YouTube views I’m cheery while humming and editing this blog. WARNING – although it’s a great pick me up, I find the feet stomping adds to the fun but it is exercise and shouldn’t be done without consulting with a doctor. Based on my age and ‘coronavirus risk category’ I’m not sure if it’s emotionally healthy for me to sing, ‘Happy Birthday to me’. In case you’re curious, I’m only 28 days older than my beloved Barbie doll.
- How to clean your smartphone, safely. Dr. Lena Ciric, a microbiologist from University College London, says you can effectively clean your phone using just household soap and water. Short 2-minute video courtesy of the BBC.
- ‘Stay home, stay informed’ – refer only to trusted news sources such as Health Officials of each state or province, experienced medical doctors etc. The 1988 Emergencies Act enables the Canadian government, for example, to impose travel bans on individuals, take over personal property, establish emergency hospitals and shelters, and define providers of essential services but it must adhere to the Charter of Rights, yeah.
In conclusion, when I wrote the blog it was 500 words, then I edited it a tad (that’s Irish blarney) it’s over 1,300 words. March 2012 was the last time I used the words “Irish blarney” my dad whom I miss dearly chuckled, about my first interview in The Toronto Star. Why did I have the luck of the Irish? I was “on” the right place at the right time. Hint: YouTube business video)
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