Read about some of the helpful lessons that Electromagnetic Marketing staff and partners learned as they worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Electromagnetic family has been working from home for about 60 days. Exchanging an office desk for a kitchen table or a living room has been a challenge. We have established new routines and habits, so we thought we would share a few experiences and helpful tips with you!
We are a highly collaborative marketing agency, and the transition to working alone has been our biggest challenge. Our productivity has been consistently strong during this transition, but collaboration over Zoom leaves something to be desired (no matter how many creative backgrounds we come up with). We miss our whiteboard brainstorming sessions in the Electro Lounge at Innovation Depot.
Client meetings have been better than we anticipated, but we miss the connection that happens when we meet in person. This crisis has created opportunities for companies to adapt, and we have enjoyed working with our clients to launch webinars and other digital solutions to physical distancing. We have also found great fulfillment as we work with our clients to adapt messaging, advertising, and social communications based on this quickly changing situation.
Just as businesses have to adapt to these circumstances, our team members are adapting to working from home. Here is the 411 on how each of us is navigating these changes!
Initially, I thought communicating with everyone from home would be difficult for me. I am a person who doesn't talk a lot, but I communicate most effectively in person. So far communication has been great within the Electro Team. As long as everyone is responding promptly, I've found communicating this way actually works. Regular Zoom calls and Slack have been lifesavers.
I didn't really have any concerns about being less productive when I found out we'd be working from home. There are more opportunities for distractions since I have a whole apartment to myself rather than being in a community office. I wouldn't want to disappoint everyone by not pulling my weight, so I will always be productive no matter what.
I found it easier to follow a routine when working at Innovation Depot. Before the quarantine, I would wake up at a certain time to avoid traffic, get to work, and have my coffee. With that routine, everything else would fall in place. These days when I wake up, I don't know where to start. But, the daily morning Zoom calls help with creating a routine and plan for the rest of the day.
My kitchen table is serving as my home office, so we had to prioritize keeping this space free from discarded junk mail, questionable dishes, and the smell of last night's dinner. It is important to clean up your living space to make room for the next day's workspace. Otherwise, you're left distracted on your 8 AM kick-off meeting with everything you did not clean up the night before.
Just like kids, your pets are excited you are home with them 24/7. Make time in your day to give them the attention you both need. Helpful tip, 10 minutes before a conference call, spend a few minutes with them and share a treat with frozen peanut butter or yogurt to occupy their time!
There is just as little time in the day for lunch as there was before, so don't think working from home is going to make room for that gourmet lunch you want! Meal prepping can be hard, so make sure you have a plan and all the necessary ingredients. Follow through with it, and continue to try new things!
Without regular work schedules and our routines of driving to and from the office, it can be hard to stop working and shift gears to spending time with your family.
I find I miss my commute and traffic. Those are my times to decompress in the car while listening to my list of weekly podcasts. Instead of jumping straight into work in the morning, take a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to your favorite podcast.
I am having withdrawals from face to face conversations. Conference and video calls have been working great. It's just not as personal. The family and I are walking more around the neighborhood and saying hello to neighbors from a safe 6-foot distance.
I had never wanted a green screen. Once our team started using fun backgrounds going on our video calls, I was a little jealous. These have been some of the laughs of the video meeting world.
I love coming home at the end of a workday. My home is my refuge and restful place after a long day at work. Now my office is in my kitchen. I relegated it to a small corner of the breakfast table. Once I'm done each day I shut everything down and find another place to unwind and, if at all possible, I don't go back to that corner of the breakfast table until the start of a new workday.
We made the decision when all this began to get out of the house and go for a walk. We've been able to do that several times this week. It was a good call. The fresh air and sunshine have done our souls (and bodies!) some good.
I've been intentional to keep my daily routine in place. It seems simple, but it's so important. My alarm goes off at the same time every day. I'm fully dressed and ready for work by 8 AM. I'm doing my best to stop for lunch and dinner at the same time. It hasn't come together every single day, but I work hard to stay within those boundaries. It's given me some needed structure to my week. That feels good because it's what I'd be doing on a "normal" day.
COVID-19 has turned me into a farmer. I have always preferred late nights to early mornings, but now I find myself waking up between 4 AM and 5 AM. It's just so easy to get work done before everyone in my house (and on the Electromagnetic team) gets up. I try to get as much work done before 7 AM as I can, and then I walk the dog and water my tomatoes. After a full day of work and a little more time with my tomatoes, I find myself wondering if 8:30 PM is too early to go to bed.
I love our work right now. As a matter of fact, it's difficult to stop working. We have short term projects helping our clients pivot, but our long-term projects still need attention. When you factor in how easy it is for me to slip down to the basement after dinner to do just a bit more, I'm working a lot of hours. I think that is the right thing to do, as long as this is a sprint. In the coming months, I need to figure out the marathon version of working from home. I need to prioritize more time with my family. I have a child headed to college this fall (😢), and I don't want to miss a minute with him.
Our team is accustomed to online conferencing. Before the pandemic, we utilized Zoom frequently with clients in other parts of the country. Now all of our meetings with clients and our team. We also communicate with a messaging app and talk on the phone.
We miss the spontaneity of office conversations and coffee breaks, so we came up with a Virtual Coffee Break. One day each week, we set a time on the calendar, grab the beverage of our choice, jump on a conference call, and talk about anything BUT work. That has been like a breath of fresh air. Being apart has given us a new appreciation for our office environment. Even with the challenges, we've been productive, and we haven't slowed down. I'm so grateful for positive attitudes and smiles, even if they are on a computer screen.
We're all facing personal and professional challenges, and we hope these perspectives help you navigate working from home in this time of social distancing. We'd love to hear from you about how you've adapted to new daily routines.
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