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Takeaways from How to be “Employee of the Month” Working from Home

Speakers

OCPRSA’s YoPro committee successfully hosted its first webinar, “How to be the Employee of the Month from Your Couch: The WFH Do’s & Don’ts.” The webinar was presented to help young professionals and alike to master the art of working from home. Magdalena Gomez, Director of Public Relations, California Southern University, moderated the event with PRSA seasoned panelists featuring Teri Sawyer, founder and Chief Visibility Officer for T&Co., and Andre de Abreu, Communications Director Latin America for Blizzard Entertainment. Before the current pandemic, both experts already had experience working from home.

Sawyer, an expert with 25 years of experience working from home, shared the strategies that have helped her be successful in her agency work. Andre de Abreu shared and compared his work from home experience from ten years back to his most recent experience with present times and how technology has played a huge role in the process.

Both speakers noted the way we do things has changed immensely since the onset of COVID-19; nothing is the same, especially for the workforce in corporate settings. The majority of the world is sheltered-in-place and working from home sharing space with their immediate family members, not the usual work environment. Parents are home-schooling while trying to work from home with a new array of distractions, while young professionals are experiencing this for the very first time.

Here are some of the take-aways from this webinar:

Schedule & Set-up

It is essential to have the right set up to find ways to limit distractions (albeit challenging in a family environment). The best thing to do is to get on a daily routine with a schedule. Prioritize what is most important, calendar breaks in between, and lunch to closely mirror a “typical “ day at work. Additionally, having the right ergonomic setting with a good chair and ergonomically poised will make a big difference. Teri suggested a 20/20/20 method – spend 20 minutes working, 20 seconds up and moving from your seat, followed by 20 seconds of not looking at your computer.

Setting Boundaries for Work-life Balance

It is easy to get caught up and work longer than usual, as there is no longer a commute to consider. However, it is crucial to pull away, take a break, and set boundaries for personal time and space is one sure way to keep sane in a time of disruption, which is suitable for overall mental health. Self-care is vital, with proper breaks, eating, and exercising, as shared by both de Abreu and Sawyer, avid bicycle enthusiasts.

Remain Relevant

Modern technology has made an enormous difference in transitioning to WFH, improving communications between employees and employers, especially in the world of Zoom, Teams, and Web-Ex and other web-meeting formats. Show your face in web-meetings, be present. Reach out to your team and co-workers, demonstrate your support to one another.

Learn a New Skill

On a positive note, WFH has opened up time to learn and acquire new skills by way of webinars (like this one!) or taking an online course to gain new competencies, helping you bring additional value to yourself and your organization.

Most importantly, working from home allows everyone to stay safe in a familiar environment with all the necessary tools to work successfully and efficiently from one’s abode. WFH is the new norm; we may have to consider the new model. As routine sets in, it will get more comfortable and manageable and allow you to shine as if working from the office.

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