Brent’s Guide to Teleworking

Today marked my third week of teleworking. Although not the first choice for many of us, it has become the new normal. I thought for tonight’s post I would write a combination of thoughts and personal best practices that have helped me maintain both sanity and productivity while on the job.

Saddle up, tonight I am talking about teleworking.

Staying Grateful – The fact that I am teleworking means I have a job. As people continue to get laid off left and right, I take to heart how lucky I am to still have a job and paycheck…even if it means I am doing majority of my work at my parents’ dining room table.

Forever Thankful – I am appreciative to Washington State University for giving us the directive to work from home. The institution has our health in mind and is allowing all workers who can feasibly do their job from home to do just that.

Professional Mindset – If you read any current article on teleworking, it will say to dress for your job at home just like you would at the office. I second this. At least for the first half of the day, I am sporting a collared shirt, slacks, and work shoes. It just helps me take things a little more seriously.

Dedicated Work Space – I joked above about working from my parents’ dining room table…ummm….wait…that’s actually not a joke. I set up shop each day from where my mom and dad have hosted fancy dinners for more than 30 years. It is the place where I feel most comfortable (at least for as long as I am living with my parents) and productive. When working from home, it is important to have some coziness and consistency

Break It Up – At least when you work at the office of your employer, you can roam halls and visit the offices of your co-workers to get your blood flowing. When you are working from a house, the walls start to close in on you a bit. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I make sure to run during my lunch hour to get some exercise and fresh air. It makes the second half of the day much more bearable.

Stretch It Out – When you work from home, there is no such thing as a commute. Personally, this allows me to start the day earlier and extend it past traditional quitting time if necessary. It is important to not let a teleworking arrangement turn you into a workaholic but there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of any extra time you might find on your plate.

Zoom Zoom Zoom – I participate in multiple Zoom meetings per day and appreciate its many conveniences. Although the service isn’t perfect and some social cues are sacrificed, I am comfortable using the platform. My best advice is to listen more than anything but when it is your turn to speak, do it confidently and clearly while looking straight into your device’s camera.

Prepare for Tech Meltdowns – At the start of each day, I know that technology will fail me at least a couple times over the course of the next eight hours. With this in mind, I have backup plans for spotty wifi and video conferencing with poor connection. My word for the wise? Always have an ethernet cord handy.

Accept Distractions – Many of us must deal with some distractions while teleworking. For me, I battle my mom’s cat leisurely walking across my laptop and nearby neighbors producing loud noises while completing yard work. Just like with tech issues, you have to be ready and not let them rattle you. Remember, in many cases, we are the ones imposing on the routines of others.

Show Your Employer What You Are Made Of – Crush this teleworking thing. Work twice as hard. Do exceptional work. Make your bosses proud.

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Even those of us who are homebodies probably wouldn’t admit that teleworking is ideal. The arrangement is especially hard for those of us who have a great place to go to work each day, like a college campus. But this is the current reality and we must make the best of it. Like everything else that has been impacted by the coronavirus, we will sure appreciate our work sites more once we can finally go back. Don’t Blink.