UM-Flint is dedicated to helping alumni during this time of uncertainty by providing support through resources and best practices.
Navigating Your Career Through COVID-19
Working from Home + COVID-19
While COVID-19 has created new work-from-home circumstances for many of us, the challenges this presents are not insurmountable. We’ve put together some best practices on how you can remain engaged and motivated with your work; continue to impress your superiors; and, let’s be honest, not lose your mind.
Clear a workspace
A stable, consistent workspace can help. If you have children at home, a “no kid zone”—even a small desk and chair—serves as a physical illustration to the kids that work is currently happening. Or at least being attempted.
When crises occur, good communication, perhaps even over-communication, is key. Check in with your boss and your teams at least once a day. Supervisors should check in with direct reports at the start of the day and perhaps at the end of the day. Several tools are available for communication; use those that work best for your situation: email, Gchat, Zoom, Slack, or a good old phone call.
While it might be easier to postpone or cancel virtual meetings, do your best to keep them with coworkers across the organization. Such meetings allow you to see each other, support each other, and maintain a commitment to shared organizational goals. Physical distance should not translate into psychological distance.
Where possible, share feedback and positive stories with others on your team. While anxiety may exist, you can play a role in providing a measure of optimism and positivity to a team. Don’t lose sight of the intangibles—ask coworkers how their day is going or how they are faring. Commitment will only be enhanced when there is an emotional connection and a shared sense of purpose. Don’t let this get lost in the new reality of remote work.
provide clear expectations and tangible steps and plans
Clear expectations from superiors are a must. If your supervisor is not providing them, revisit a role document or strategic plan and ask how things may have changed. Coupled with clear communication, such as sending your superior a “goals for the week” email on Monday and a “goals accomplished” email on a Friday, it helps you manage up. While a small action, such communication clearly indicates productivity, impresses superiors, and reduces misalignment or miscommunication on goals and expectations.
Finally, as you log into that video conference with a fellow colleague who is trying to get a snack for his or her toddler while simultaneously reviewing strategy or budgets, try to appreciate the humanizing experience for what it is. We are in this together.