• Jennifer McLeod

12 TIPS to help you successfully work from home during Covid-19

If you can, STAY HOME!

Last weekend our team made the call to work remotely until further notice. This virus is no joke - and if social distancing is what’s necessary to flatten the curve, we’re ON IT. We are literally in the business of healthy aging and helping senior-living teams manage risk - no need to tell us twice that we need to do everything we can to protect our vulnerable. It’s what we live and breathe at HomeEXCEPT.

We’re a few days into this new normal and it’s not a big adjustment for most of our team. We work from home regularly so we know the drill for virtually managing work responsibilities.

Adjusting to work outside the office

I know how big this adjustment can be for anyone who isn’t used to it. Most of my career in sales and management has been in forward-facing in-person roles that provided few (if any) tools to support working from home. Video conferencing and cloud-based content management systems have entirely rocked my world.

But it’s not just about having the right tools. You can have everything at your fingertips and STILL not manage to be productive. Especially now, when the kids aren’t in school. You need to be able to self-manage by setting clear goals and staying focused. It can take some getting used to, so I’ve gathered advice from the HomeEXCEPT team in case you need some extra support.

TOP 12 TIPS for successfully working from home:


One of the best advantages of working from home is staying in your PJs, right? Wrong. Not getting “ready” can slow you down and make it difficult to feel like you’re in “work mode.” Wash up, get dressed, and get ready for the day as if you plan on heading out. I even prefer to wear indoor shoes - it makes me feel ready for action!


It’s morning and you want to rev your engines. So after a healthy breakfast, grab your coffee - or tea, or smoothie, or whatever it is that energizes you - and settle in to get started. Having your favourite bevy on hand will help you feel ready to face the day.


I love lists. There’s just something about checking off those boxes that brings me joy! But this tip isn’t really so much about making a physical list as it is about finding a daily routine. At the beginning of your day, make a plan for what you want to accomplish and do your best to stick to your schedule.


Just like your sweats and PJs might slow you down, so could your favourite spot on the couch. Sit at a proper desk or table so your sitting posture doesn’t suffer. You’re aiming to simulate an office environment and you simply can’t achieve that while snuggled under a blanket.


Keep in regular contact with your coworkers and if you feel stuck on a project, ask for help! Teams are strongest when they collaborate and chances are, if you feel sluggish, you aren’t the only one. Reach out for moral support or guidance and help keep each other accountable.


Once you’re “in the zone” it can be easy to spend an entire day sitting at your computer. Be mindful of maintaining regular work sprints and hours but make sure to take breaks. Stepping away for even just 10 minutes can clear your mind, helping you to refocus when you return.


Turn off the TV. Ensure pets are settled and that the kids are occupied with a project of their own. Consider setting a timer for various project tasks. If you make an agreement with yourself that you’ll focus for a certain amount of time, then you can power through until your next break.


Clutter is a total drain. It can lower your energy and lessen your attention to detail. A productive work area is organized and allows you space to set out your notes, laptop, and afternoon snack in a way that inspires you to do your best work.


You’re all ready for the day so why not turn on video conferencing instead of using chat or email? During this period of increased isolation, actually SEEING your coworkers can go a long way in making you feel connected and less alone. (See #1.)


No one likes to be cooped up all day. Even the biggest homebody appreciates letting some fresh air inside. Step outside or open a window - fresh air is necessary for good health and maintaining energy.


If you use a chat program for team communication, start a new channel for topics unrelated to work. It’s easy to miss talking with our co-workers, who in many cases become good friends. A thread specifically for social chit chat (and the occasional office meme) helps lighten the mood and bring some of your positive workplace culture home.


If you are successful at managing your time, you can create very efficient workflows when working remotely. A meeting that would normally take two hours when face-to-face, can be accomplished online in only one and no commute means more time to do other things. Embrace the extra 30-60 minutes you’ve gained by using it to learn something new. There are a plethora of free resources online - take advantage of them!


Working from home can be a challenge but with the right tools, attitude, and structure, you can be super successful in your new routine. It takes some discipline but with personal determination and a little help from your team, you’ll be smooth sailing in no time!

What’s been the biggest adjustment for you while distancing yourself socially? We’d love to hear any tips you have to share! Stay safe, friends - we’ll get through this!

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