We had several ideas for this month’s newsletter—corporate rebranding, the on-demand economy, new out of state funding laws. However, with COVID-19 pandemic as some businesses have entirely shut down for the next 30 days, and many more companies are having their employees work remotely from home, those topics don’t seem that relevant. Social Distancing is the topic of the day.
We empathize with everyone that has been laid-off and the business owners who have had to make the very tough decisions. To everyone during this trying time, the thing to remember is that action is the antidote for anxiety. Whether you have been laid-off or are working from home, think about what steps you might take to position yourself for the day when the world opens up for business once again.
The two biggest problems with working from home are boredom and distractions. To help you be productive and prepare for the future, we have put together a list of social distancing items to think about.
Stay Consistent Try to maintain as much of your daily routine as possible. If you live alone, you may be tempted to stay in your PJs or throw on a pair of sweats; it is easy to let personal hygiene and grooming to fall by the wayside, especially if everything is locked-down and you have no place to go. However, you will find that you are more focused and energized if you continue your usual breakfast routine, then shower and dress in ‘casual Friday’ attire. You will also be ready for those Skype conference calls.
Your daily commute might be considerably shorter, a walk from the kitchen to the den; you can use the extra time to go through emails and plan your day’s work.
Don’t Be Distracted Avoiding distractions may not be easy, especially if you have children who are also sheltered-in-place. Designate a workspace away from the noise of the main part of the house, refrain from getting stuck in front of the TV, and keep the social media sites off your computer. If you usually play music while at work, by all means, play it when you work at home, it will also drown out distractive noises.
Make sure that you do take short breaks from your computer throughout the day but avoid trips to the refrigerator and household distractions such as cleaning and laundry.
If you are a parent, part of the time that you saved from your non-commute could be used to organize the day’s schedule for your children, studies, games, chores, etc. During your typical workday, you often have discussions with co-workers and then head back to your workspace. Try to use that same amount of time to check on your children to see how their day is proceeding. However, if you have babies or preschoolers that are usually with a sitter or in daycare when you are at work, you may find them to be more time consuming, in that case, all that you can do is your best to stay focused. Perhaps a two-parent family that is sheltered-in-place can divide the chore of watching the children and working.
Use Technology Stay Engaged Going from working in a large office with lots of employees, to suddenly being by yourself can be quite monotonous and possibly lead to boredom. Plan to have a team meeting at least once a day via Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or a simple conference call. Of course, email and text messaging can help with instant questions and answers and also give you a sense of connection.
If you are working on a group project, documents can be shared and edited in real-time using Google Drive. Dropbox is great for sharing large files of documents and can be an excellent repository to make sure information is not lost.
Trello can help with team projects and task assignments. The program is an electronic version of a whiteboard with Post-it Notes that can be moved around to assign tasks and set priorities. Trello is also a repository of working documents, messages, and information that relates to the tasks. There is a cost involved with this program, but in the long run, it can be quite useful even after the pandemic has ended, when everyone is back at work in the office.
Advance Your Skills Technology and computer software have advanced very rapidly over the past decade, and it may be that, due to your workload, you have not had the time to keep up with the latest advances. Now is a great time to advance your skill level by learning new tricks with familiar programs and learning new programs that will help you to advance in the future. You can do this through instructional videos on YouTube or training programs offered by software companies.
If you are a skilled laborer, many videos demonstrate advanced skill techniques and shortcuts that will help you to improve your skills.
Catch Up On Projects If you are in a position where you have been laid-off and still receiving a paycheck but not asked to work from home, you might want to consider investing this downtime in those projects that you have been putting off. The key to survival is to keep yourself occupied and productive.
- Update your LinkedIn profile and resume
- Start on that book you have always wanted to write
- Work on those home improvements you have been putting off
- Spring cleaning and organizing, including old files, receipts, and boxes
One of the most unpleasant tasks is the organization and filing of the Federal Income Tax. The good news is, the IRS has delayed the filing of tax returns until July 15, 2020. Regardless of whether you have a refund or are estimated to pay additional taxes, now would be a great time to prepare your filling. If you have a refund, you can still file now and get your check within three weeks.
De-Stress This is a very stressful time, and you might find it challenging to concentrate and to be super productive. Social distancing does not mean homebound hibernation. Be easy on yourself, you can add to your own stress levels by creating goals that are unrealistic. Be informed but limit the amount of news intake, it is very easy to get sucked into one press conference after another. Go for a walk or ride a bike—the fresh air is good for your system and helps to clear the mind. Exercise—the internet is filled with yoga and other exercise programs that you can do at home with very little equipment. Bring a chair out to the sidewalk in front of your house and invite your neighbors to bring their chairs (six feet apart) for a relaxing social hour with the beverage of choice.
And for the last piece of advice, stay out of the kitchen during the day. Both stress and boredom can lead to constant snacking, both the refrigerator and pantry are just a few convenient steps away.
Business Finance Corporation is available to help you with your business finances during this trying time. Call us at 702-947-3800 or go to https://bfc.vegas/. Like you, our team is working remotely and on limited hours; if we don’t answer the phone right away, leave a message and we WILL get back to you.