Here at Planning Pod, we know firsthand how hard COVID-19 has hit the events industry, including millions of event professionals, event planners and event venues.
In addition to businesses furloughing / laying off employees, eliminating jobs and closing their doors, millions of people have found themselves in totally uncharted territory – facilitating e-learning for their children, adjusting business practices and working from home.
Since the Planning Pod staff has lots of experience working remotely from home, we wanted to share some strategies that can help make your remote work experience more productive and enjoyable.
Set clear boundaries for your remote work life
When your work life and home life are suddenly happening in the same place, setting boundaries becomes more important than ever. To that end, you should set up an office space where you can “go to work” and use a routine to get into the right headspace for working your job. Likewise, you can create a way that you consciously end your work day. It is important to create space – both spatial and temporal – between “work” and “home” in order to remain productive in your job and be present at home.
Understanding that many event professionals and venue managers (and most everyone else, for that matter) do not have a home office, do your best to create a designated space for your job that you can walk away from. I’ve seen some really creative spaces in the past few weeks (an ironing board for a standing desk, a closet under the stairs for conference calls… you name it, it’s out there!). Once you establish your space, make sure to communicate to your family what that space means – especially kiddos! They need to know what the expectations are when you are “at work” and that when dad is talking on the phone in the closet, he’s really at work and not playing a game.
Make sure you schedule breaks during your remote work day – walking away from your computer to eat a meal with your family, going for a run or sitting in your yard can be a great way to recenter yourself. In addition to lunch breaks, make sure to consider what you will need to support at-home learning if you have kids. Have conversations with your managers/leadership of your business about the process and how things are going and be realistic with your needs. Chances are many of them are navigating these same strange waters and as long as the lines of communication are open, they will more than likely be understanding of schedule changes.
Make sure you have the technology and tools you need to be successful for working remotely
We already talked about having a dedicated office space, but outfitting that space is almost as important! Consider the tools you use for your job at the office and do your best to create a similar setup at home. Some items to consider bringing home from your office:
- An external monitor
- A wireless keyboard and mouse or trackpad
Next, think about the items you don’t normally use for your job but will make your remote work better. Some of our must-haves for working from home are:
- A good set of noise cancelling headphones
- Webcam for remote consultations
- A Zoom account (or a similar video call / conferencing serivice) with downloaded backgrounds for your Zoom calls (this helps to create a more professional environment while working from your home)
- A microphone for your computer
Stay mentally and physically fit as you work from home (as much as is possible)
Taking care of your mental and physical health is essential in your remote work success. It’s a given that you will be experiencing periods of stress during your workdays due to both the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis and the adjustments you are trying to make while working at home. And the best way to manage that stress is to keep your baseline stress levels low. So here are a few tips to keep in mind that can help you accomplish this:
- Move your body! Getting exercise is not only good for your body – it also contributes to a healthy mind, boosts your spirits and keeps your overall productivity up. Consider taking a walk/run, doing an at-home fitness or yoga workout, riding your bike or even just taking short breaks for some push ups or jumping jacks.
- Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks/food. By stocking your kitchen with healthy foods, you avoid comfort eating and tend to choose something that will fuel your body instead of weighing you down.
- Don’t work in the kitchen. The kitchen is not only the busiest place in the house; it is also where messes are made, making it distracting.
- Take breaks and get out of the house. Get some sunshine when you can.
- Give yourself some grace – we are all working in strange, new times and it’s okay to acknowledge and feel our feelings – even if they seem inconsequential.
Overall, focus on controlling what you are able to and letting go the things that you cannot. Stay healthy and we will see you on the other side!
Oh and here are some more great tips for remote working.