In this guest post, Resumoo community manager Lee Anna Carrillo discusses ways to spend your first Christmas working from home productive, festive, and balanced between work and family life.
This year has been a learning experience for us all. We’ve learned that businesses can survive unimaginable upheaval and that working remotely still allows us to be productive and get the job done. While working from home has had its challenges, we’ve been able to navigate our way through and find the right balance. From setting up a home office to limiting disturbances and becoming adept at attending virtual meetings, we’ve adjusted, adapted, and continued to be part of the workforce.
So, what happens when something comes along to disrupt your new normal? As we enter the festive season, our work from home equilibrium is about to face new challenges. Here are eight ways you can face your first Christmas working from home without losing focus.
Prepare For Distractions
The festive season brings family and friends together, making it the ideal time for markets, light shows, and all kinds of Christmas-inspired festivities—even if it’s socially distanced. Yet feeling pressure into going out with loved ones is a tough situation, especially when they’ve got free time and you don’t.
But remember: you need to stick to your daily routine and maintain the productivity you’ve worked so hard to cultivate over the last few months. That’s one of the major keys to surviving and excelling during your first Christmas working from home.
If your family is staying during the holidays, you may find that your office space is no longer your own. As a result, you’ll need to have an alternative work space. You’ll also need to set firm boundaries with your guests—the same as those you set out with your immediate family a few months ago. If this becomes difficult or problematic, working in a coffee shop may be an alternative option as long as you don’t mind wearing a mask.
Manage Fluctuating Workloads
As people take time off and some companies close, you may notice that correspondence and business requests dwindle. Then, they suddenly pick up when you least expect it. Therefore, you need to prepare for both extremes and stay organized to keep track of what’s going on. If you have a laptop, you can take it with you when you go out to ensure that you’re able to respond when necessary.
Even if you’re available while away from home, always let your manager or boss know where you’ll be. Just look at Murphy’s Law. The moment you step away from your computer or assume you won’t receive any further work for the day is the moment it all streams in. Better safe than sorry.
Optimize Your Schedule
Manage your time and use mornings and evenings to your advantage. While the rest of the household sleeps, you can get through a large amount of work without any distractions. This cannot be done with meetings or tasks that crop up during the day. But it can be helpful in completing daily tasks and meeting deadlines. Determine the time of day when the bulk of your workload comes in and plan accordingly.
Communicate Your Needs
Communicating your needs refers to both your professional and personal lives. If you need time off for family obligations, speak to your boss about it. If you need the house to yourself to meet deadlines, tell your family. Working from home may seem easier, but the admin and logistics that go into it can take their toll. If you need help or assistance, speak up. It’s not a sign of weakness. You won’t get help unless you ask for it.
Take Note Of Time Off
When your team members take leave, take care to ensure that you’re still able to do your job without any delays. If a temp has been appointed or someone else on your team is taking over, update your communication. Nothing’s worse than waiting for a response from someone that won’t be online anytime soon and more so when it relates to a client.
If you are going to take time off, make sure that you properly communicate this information to your team, too. You don’t want the added stress of being called on in an emergency simply because someone didn’t realize you weren’t at your desk.
Keep The Kids Busy
If you have children, the last thing you need is them running around your workspace in the middle of an important meeting. Family members willing to look after them are always a plus. Otherwise, you may need to find a babysitter or au pair to assist you during this time.
Embrace The Festive Office Spirit
While you may not be in the office, the Christmas spirit is still very much alive. If your company tries to host a virtual party, join in the fun. Think of it as a virtual team-building exercise, even if it’s very different from Christmas parties in previous years. Your colleagues have had a hard year, too, and this can be a time to forge an even stronger bond and build a more cohesive team.
Avoid The Grinch
Embracing the festive season isn’t always easy, especially when you’re working under challenging circumstances. However, now’s not the time to turn into the Grinch or Scrooge. If you don’t have leave due because you’ve used up your allowance, or if you took a gap year and were recently hired, think of this as normal work time as far as possible. Look at the positives and stay upbeat and professional.
Working from home means that you have a greater degree of flexibility, so you need to embrace and appreciate this. Don’t however take liberties, this is the time to reaffirm your commitment to your workplace.
Final Thoughts On Your First Christmas Working From Home
The work from home model relies on good communication skills, solid discipline, and strict focus. In your first Christmas working from home, you need to focus on maintaining these principles and remaining productive. If you stay on track and on target despite new distractions, the chances are your colleagues will, too.
Lee Anna Carrillo is a community manager at Resumoo. A resume writing service, and career resource database. Resumoo is owned by Ranq Digital LLC, a marketing and media company located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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