HR Tips - Working From Home

HR Tips - Working From Home

Dear Faculty and Staff,
For many, working normal work hours in a traditional workspace and interacting with coworkers and students was a part of everyday life. That dynamic changed tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
 
As we are aware, the “new normal" is, at least for now, working remotely, educating students via distance learning, and interacting with colleagues via collaborative technology.  Such changes do not impact only us, but also our families and loved ones, particularly those in close proximity.
 
The following link provides a humorous yet real example of working remotely with family: 
https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/03/10/interview-interrupted-children-newday.cnn 
 
The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is aware of the potential stress and strain that working remotely may cause employees, their families, and their loved ones. Therefore, OHR wishes to share a few helpful tips and resources for coping and staying well (both mentally and physically) during these challenging times:

  • Helpful Tips: 
    • Here's a write up from Eve Glicksman who is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, Md.  on advice for parents who are embarking on new work-at-home lives for the next few weeks or months:​ 

Working from Home with Kids? How to Manage the Impossible
 Source: SHRM.org
 
"It's a mistake to pressure yourself to make everything work as normal. There is going to be an adjustment period."
 
Set Up a Workstation
Find a sunny room with a door you can shut, if possible. Even a table in a bedroom is preferable to working at a kitchen table. Otherwise, clear a shelf or dining room table to create a dedicated workspace. Parents with babies and toddlers may choose to set up shop in a child's bedroom or play area to keep an eye on them. Getting a headset with a noise-canceling microphone and mute button is helpful to block out testy children and dogs during calls.
 
Divvy Up Child Care
Are there two adults working at home now? Or an older child who can look after young ones for a few hours? If so, alternate shifts. Parents can discuss their work schedule as a team the night before to determine who is more available at different times of the day.
 
Establish Ground Rules
Develop a routine so you don't get caught in a free-for-all. "Set your alarm for the same time every day," Schedule lunch and create structure for the children. Assign them a YouTube workout or dance party to burn energy. More importantly, explain to children that you have work that must get done, and they can help by giving you quiet time. Post a sign at your workstation that you can flip to read "open" or "closed" when trying to meet deadlines or during meetings.
 
Let Them Be
"Leave your kids alone!" Lenz said. Help them cultivate freedom and independence by learning how to entertain themselves with books, crafts, seeding a garden or backyard play, she advised. "You don't have to monitor and do every activity with them." Fill a snack basket so they can help themselves and not rely on you for everything. Lenz arranges a bottom refrigerator shelf where her kids, ages 9 and 6, can grab drinks and cheese sticks or other finger food.
 
Work in Bursts
Multitasking decreases efficiency, so try to separate work and family time. Lenz sets a timer for about 90 minutes to keep herself and her kids on track. They know she can't be disturbed until the timer goes off. To sweeten the pot, she promises to play checkers or do something fun with them afterward.
 
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
"What tends to get squeezed out [when telecommuting] is communication and relationships with colleagues," Dowling said. People still need to call each other to stay connected and reduce isolation. Using multiple communication channels to stay in touch—can help avoid misunderstandings. Body language and tone get lost in e-mail.
 
Do It Your Way
As long as your work gets done, you can work in the early morning, at night or while the kids nap. Take a few hours midday to take a walk with the kids - sanity time. Other parents cop to hiding out in the bathroom to answer e-mail or make calls.
 
Lighten Up
This is an unprecedented time. "Parents need to cut themselves slack. No criticizing or beating yourself up over the kids' [extra] screen time. This is temporary, and it's OK to shift the rules."
 
Glicksman, Eve. “Working from Home with Kids? How to Manage the Impossible”. SHRM.org. March 23, 2020. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/working-from-home-with-kids-coronavirus.aspx

Additional Information

Submitted on: APR 14, 2020

Category: HR Announcements | Human Resources