As I look out my window on this mid-April morning, I see a landscape that looks quite like a winter Christmas season—snow on the ground, a small family of deer, animals hunting and gathering, snow falling off the trees as it melts, a beautiful and peaceful picture of what one would typically envision in November or December. However, this is April. What ever happened to “April showers bring May flowers”?!? It appears Mother Nature may be confused with this COVID19 stuff also. Times have certainly changed over the last month or so as many Americans have begun working from home, social distancing, sheltering in place. Now more than ever, it is important for us to impart healthy habits when working from home, particularly in Compliance.
We have all faced some challenges as we transitioned to work-from-home. One day you are waking up, getting ready, and commuting to the office. The next, you are waking up and working from home. Kids may be fighting, dogs are barking, babies crying, all while we are trying to get our work done. You may have a home office that you are able to work from, but others have a kitchen table they are working from, or a basement ironing board to give them the effect of a stand-up desk. Though your environment looks different, there are positive changes that we can all make during this time.
Here are some key pointers from the Heartland Chapter.
Healthy habits for remote workers
- Add a little humor. Many have seen the funny memes or status updates regarding what our four-legged “co-workers” are doing during this season of quarantine. I would encourage you to keep it up. My co-workers are currently napping after playing in the snow!
- Happy hours over Zoom, Google hang-outs, FaceTime, etc. Use technology to your advantage during this time to connect or reconnect with teams, colleagues, family and friends.
- Find a great escape – whether it is a book to read, a puzzle to complete, journaling, whatever it is, find something that allows you to leave your work space and let your mind relax. Some refer to this as work-life balance, others refer to this as mindfulness.
- Thankfulness. At the end of the day, write down five things that you are thankful for. When this becomes a habit, watch how your mindset changes over time.
- Plan out your breaks and try new things. Try a new recipe for lunch/dinner or cook a healthy breakfast. Plan out taking a break every 1-2 hours. Get up and stretch, walk around your house a couple of times. This is good for both your mind and body.
- If you are able, start taking vitamins regularly. Otherwise, get your nutrients from your food sources.
Tips and Tricks for working from home
- Be patient with yourself and others – we are in this together and we will get through this together.
- Make and keep a routine. Keep a similar routine as you would keep if traveling in to the office.
- Have a separate work space and leave your work there. This doesn’t have to be a spare bedroom or a stand-alone office. This can be a table or a desk that you work on every day.
- Have good posture and add ergonomic support. Ergonomics when working from home is just as important as it is when working in the office. We tend to get more comfortable when we are working from home which in turn results in poor posture and ergonomic support.
- Exercise daily. Exercise has been said to release endorphins in to the body which help an individual cope with stress. Additionally, individuals whom are overall healthy are best suited to fight off illness.
- Communicate with your team regularly. The world is looking for direction and leadership during these very uncertain times. Leaders shine bright in this time of trial. Shine bright for those around you!
- Regularly share success stories. Connect with your colleagues to regularly share things that are working and making a positive impact on the company, teams, and the industry. Giving shout-outs or recognition goes a long way.
- Breathe. Taking a moment out of the day to deep breathe is a very healthy habit to have at all times.
If you have some extra time and would like to check out a couple of books to read, here are some of my suggested favorites:
- The Radical Leap by Steve Farber
- Remote, Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
- Any leadership book by Jocko Willink
- The Go-Giver by Bob Burg
If you are residing in a location where your public library has closed due to COVID-19, you can find these resources through Amazon as e-books (links can be emailed to you after purchase) and through Kindle (which can be downloaded as an app on your phone, tablet, and/or computer).
Thank you all for your continued leadership in the industry. Stay safe and healthy!
AICP Heartland Chapter Board President