It's been a little over a week of Virtual Learning at Mount Paran Christian School. With many government mandates and suggestions that workplaces operate on a "work from home" basis, parents are also finding themselves navigating new territory. Feedback from this new experience is that families have managed the transition to working from home very well! To support parents' success at home both in supporting students as well as keeping up with work demands, we'd like to share seven helpful tips to make the most of your home office experience.
1. ESTABLISH A SPACE WHERE YOU CAN CLOSE THE DOOR.
During the day, try to separate yourself for calls, breaks, or project focus. At the end of the day, you also need to leave work behind and close the door. Perhaps a guest bedroom or other quiet, low traffic space would work best for your at-home work environment.
2. CREATE A WORKSPACE.
Move a table into your workspace, if there is not a desk or table already in there under which your legs can fit. Consider a sofa table if you do not have a desk. Position your workspace “desk” so that you face a window or light source. If the light source is behind you or above you, it puts you in shadow in video meetings. Your mindset will be better if you can see outside or have light on your face. Do your best to make your workspace “desk” normal for your work habits. This may include adding office supplies such as a stapler, tissue box, framed photo, paper clips, note pads, charging cords, a scripture that is meaningful to you, a coaster for your beverage, and at least one thing that makes you smile.
3. GET THE RIGHT CHAIR.
A movable chair (swivel/rollers) is best, if you have one. Consider adding a pillow to sit on or put behind your back for lumbar support. However, it is important that you do not stay in the chair for more than two hours, even with lumbar support. If you don’t have a chair like this, make your stand-up breaks more frequent — every 45 minutes or so.
4. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS.
Once you've established your workspace, try to limit distractions from the home phone, TV, and doorbell by turning them off during work hours. When you are on your work campus, you can’t see these home distractions, so they don’t need to integrate into your day and become modus interruptus to what you are trying to accomplish. Be sure to give your children guidelines of not interrupting when you are on a call or virtual meeting and a "plan B" method of getting your attention during those times.
5. TAKE BREAKS.
Take breaks every two hours to move around or take a walk. Don’t let the change to working from home make you sedentary. It's bad for your circulation, back, thinking, and attitude. Create established times for lunch, a time to check-in with your kids, or connect with your family about their day.
6. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT CONNECTING WITH YOUR WORK TEAM EACH DAY.
We do have to be proactive about maintaining camaraderie while at home. When meetings are necessary, apps such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams work extremely well to pipe in fresh faces. In addition, funny texts or staying connecting via work messenger systems, such as Slack, help to maintain work relationships that would be normal if you were on campus, in the office, at lunch, or on breaks. People need people, so facilitate connections whenever possible.
7. BE DISCIPLINED ABOUT STOPPING.
End your day and go "home." Don’t make your work hours extend to your early-morning or late-evening hours each day. Get off of the phone, eat dinner with your family, and chill with a book, TV series, or hobby. Get outside when weather allows. Your brain will work better tomorrow if you take time for yourself and your family. No one can sprint a marathon.
For those who are able to utilize the ideas above — you may just find that these tips make your working-from-home experience a little more comfortable and pleasant.
5 TIPS FOR KEEPING THE PEACE AT HOME WITH KIDS
For parents working from home with young children, fighting cabin fever can be especially challenging. Elementary-aged children and younger often need hands-on help with schoolwork and other daily tasks, many times still relying on their parents for entertainment ideas. So, what's a parent to do? Read on for creative ideas to bust those boredom blues.
For more ideas and resources, check out Pinterest or these tips. While we may not yet know when schedules will return to normal, we can make the most of this time together.
Julie Ray serves as the MPCS Chief Financial Officer. Her home office features a tiny army of aliens on her desk —a gift from her team on her last birthday.
To learn more about the Virtual Learning program at Mount Paran Christian School, click here.