A perspective from Jon Fein, Senior Account Executive
One of the advantages of working for an agency is having more flexibility in your daily schedule. I’m not suggesting that agency life is less demanding or somehow easier. Far from it. In my experience, agency positions are quite demanding and require long hours and serious commitment. It really has to do with the organizational culture which, in agencies, tends to be a little more independent and individualistic (of course, depending on the client account you work on and your role within the agency).
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and non-essential offices were closed requiring most of us to work from our home offices, I realized that I’d been well prepared by this same agency culture to operate more on my own and found the transition a fairly easy one to make. Of course, I miss the camaraderie of socializing in person at the company offices but I’m still able to maintain my focus and productivity working from a remote location. With that in mind, here are five tips that I think will help you adjust to the new normal of working from home.
Tip 1: Create your own personal/private space
If at all possible, don’t set up shop on your couch or in a “public” space in your house/apartment. Find a private space where you can be solely focused on your job. A dedicated office is ideal but if that’s not available, a spare bedroom, finished basement or a garage will do. That doesn’t mean during a slower part of the day you can’t take a conference call with your dog by your side or holding your baby, but it’s important to have your own space when your work demands your undivided attention.
Tip 2: Dress like you are going to the office (at least on Casual Friday)
Make sure you are wearing pants! We get it, pants can be uncomfortable, but don’t get caught in your underwear on a video conference call. Play it safe and pick out the kind of outfit that you would wear to the office.
Tip 3: Don’t wake up right before it’s time to start working
One of the benefits of working from home is that there is no commute…….that is unless you count the distance from your bed to your desk. However, even with this extra free time, allow yourself time to fully wake up, take a shower, have breakfast and get in the right frame of mind to start work before the clock hits 9:00 AM. Don’t let the quality of your work suffer in the beginning of the day because you suddenly have some extra time in the morning. Don’t take that time for granted. Use it wisely to start your day off on the right foot.
Tip 4: Go outside and take advantage of nice weather
Of course, maintain the appropriate social distancing measures, but if it’s a nice day, go outside, go on walks and get some sunshine in your life. Wave at people or cars and try to get a little bit of socializing done from a safe distance. One of the challenges of working from home is the lack of socializing and that will be a big adjustment for those people who aren’t used to this new lifestyle. It is not healthy to sit in front of your computer from 9-5 non-stop. Get up, stretch, get some fresh air and recharge your batteries so you don’t burn yourself out.
Tip 5: Don’t be a stranger
Maintain contact with as many people as possible in the office. Don’t be forgotten. Figure out ways to help your co-workers and find new reasons to stay in touch with them. Don’t pretend that you’re out on an island. You still have co-workers to lean on/help and it’s important you don’t forget that.
You may be struggling right now. You may be desperate for a return to your old life, but know that we are all in this together. This new working environment is a big adjustment for most people, so hopefully these tips will help ease that transition for you. Be healthy and stay safe out there!