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.
How long have you been working remotely?
I have been working remotely for 9 years.
What challenges (if any) are different for you in our COVID-19 remote work world and what tips do you have for overcoming these challenges?
The difference is dealing with colleagues and clients who are overwhelmed with all of the changes. Since I do not have school-aged children at home, I do not have the stress of balancing the roles of eLearning counselor/teacher/parent. There is an air of uncertainty which creates apprehension in executing the vision of organizations. It’s understandable, and I am empathetic. The biggest tip I have is to remember that even before this scourge, we have never been guaranteed the safety and security of a tomorrow. The biggest difference is people and mainstream media are publicizing this vulnerability.
What was your biggest challenge when you first started working from home and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge when I first started working from home was keeping track of my hours – and keeping equity between home and work. Once I found that I could accomplish everything that I put my mind to accomplishing by pre-planning my day AND communicating to my family and teammates, I was able to balance it (as much as any other in-office teammate.) My husband and I both were remote employees before it was the fashion in March 2020! Every morning we talk about the structure of our day: meetings, work tasks, home tasks, evening plans, lunch, dinner? And from there, we are able to support each other in running our home and respect each others’ work environments.
What tips do you have for staying connected with your teammates?
There are teammates that I don’t ‘need’ to speak with very often, and for those people, I actually set reminders on Slack (our IM platform) to check-in, say hi, or ask about a specific life-event they are/were having.
Regarding the teammates with whom I have frequent interactions, I have to remember to greet them when we speak (not just blurt out what I need or abruptly answer their question.) I try to use multi-media to continue to nurture our relationship.
What advice would you offer for those who are just now entering the remote work force?
My advice would be to be true to yourself. So many people say, “Set and keep a routine for yourself.” Well, that only works if you are the kind of person who is regimented and thrives in their routines. I am not that person. So for people like me, I recommend that they continue to keep lists of items that need to be accomplished – and make sure you’re prioritizing and making progress. Know when you are at your most productive, and then create a ‘structured’ day based around what you know about yourself. Trust yourself, and be honest about your work ethic. When you are honest with yourself, you will engender the trust of others because you’re accomplishing what is expected of you.
About the Author
Marlene McCormick-Brauchle is a learning concierge and trainer with the Kevin Eikenberry Group and The Remote Leadership Institute. She is a PA-transplant who has lived in Indiana for 15 years with her family. #WeAre She loves her basset hound puppies and is always up for a good pun – Hey Buddy, can you paradigm?