For much of the world, the sudden shift to working remotely has been a shock and a challenge. For those of us here at The Kevin Eikenberry Group, it’s been a typical work week….kind of. In this series, we want to share our perspective as veterans “on the front lines” of remote work. We’ve learned a thing or two over the years that we hope might help you in your transition.
At the same time, this is different for us, too, in lots of different ways. We want to share those things with you as well and let you know we’re all in this together.
How long have you been working remotely?
I started working from home just a few days per week at my previous job over 10 years ago. I’ve been working remotely full time for 8 ½ years now. And yes, that means that I do NOT go into an office at all, unless I get on a plane and fly to my home office in Indianapolis. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t understand that remote for me and many people doesn’t mean that I choose to not go into an office. It meant that there is literally no office option unless I travel.
What was your biggest challenge when you first started working from home?
My biggest challenge when I first started working from home was maintaining focus and creating a schedule. The very nature of going into an office outside of the house helps to create a schedule for you – you have breakfast, drive to the office, grab coffee from the breakroom, sit down at the computer, etc. The distractions of home make it essential to create your own schedule and stick to it.
Now, I always close my day by creating the next day’s schedule. I review my tasks, projects and goals and identify what was completed, what is carrying over to the next day and what top three tasks must be completed. That way when I sit down to work the next day, it’s all mapped out for me and I know what must be completed in order for it to be a successful work day. Start-up and shut-down routines are key to staying on schedule and also setting boundaries between home and work.
What advice would you offer for those who are just now entering the remote work force?
- You can never over-communicate. Re-read the emails/Slack messages/memos; pick up the phone; schedule check-in meetings. It takes more effort than when you’re co-located but it’s worth the extra effort every time.
- Protect your workspace. Even when I was working out of my dining room (years ago), I still treated it like my office and asked my family to respect that. It helps considerably with my focus, productivity and work/life balance.
- Invest in technology that helps your work style. I need an external monitor and keyboard – ergonomically and for many other reasons. Consider what you’d be using in a physical office and then replicate as much as you can at home.
About the Author
Adrienne Knox is the Director of Marketing for The Kevin Eikenberry Group. She works remotely from her home in Richmond, VA and has been working remotely since 2012. When she’s not on a Zoom call with a member of her team, you can find her running, reading or playing golf with her family.