Adapting to remote work and business

photo courtesy Claudio Schwarz
photo courtesy Claudio Schwarz

by Anastasia Button

Everywhere in the world working environments and businesses are forced to move what they can to a virtual workplace if they look to keep running business. Restaurants serving delivery only, offices that once held staff turned into employees working from home, and school staff instructing students on easily-available online softwares– these are but a few examples of how the world, and especially Grand County, is having to operate during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Adapting to working from home is a large change for many employees and business operations. It can become difficult to conduct meetings and fulfill tasks with loud and constant distraction around: kids playing, dogs barking, or the temptation of a sugary snack from the kitchen.

How does one adapt to working from home and remaining productive?
Create a routine schedule and stick to it with timers. Humans need some form of routine to operate effectively. Tasks may change but to move one hour to the next, knowing you are either exercising or working, it’s important to keep on time.

Timers help in remaining on time for lunch, exercise, breaks, and getting things done for work or projects so that one does not wander off into a tangent. Keep 30-minute to 1-hour time segments per activity.

How do I reduce the distractions and noise with a full house?
If you have a household full of family members or roommates, it’s encouraged to hold a short meeting to discuss your needed time in isolation and quiet to get your work done effectively. If there is a bedroom or an isolated home office, keep the door shut and play music while wearing headphones to block out any noise disturbance.

It’s imperative you keep boundaries with your other house members and hold your agreements. This may take two or more days as the entire house is entering a new routine. Keep each other accountable during times of productivity.

My business location is closed, what can I do?
If you have a business, it’s encouraged to place your products onto an online store. Shopify and Square Space have free to low-priced options to create an online store that you may share to your past customers via email and/or social media.

Homeowners can sell items and charge shipping to your listings to avoid delivery or social contact.

I don’t have a computer at home and my workplace cannot sponsor a computer, what do I do?
Most jobs and businesses can complete almost all tasks from a smartphone. Check if software you use at work is available in the App Store or Google Play. If not, you can still access websites through your browser on your smartphone – it may be cumbersome, but it can be done and is temporary.

There are many computer options available through online spaces that are relatively inexpensive such as Chromebooks. Check out Groupon, Amazon, and even Ebay for discounted options where laptop computers have only cosmetic damage (like a scratch on outside casing) and are returned but are completely operational. Speak with your tax advisor and accountant if you qualify for a tax write off for purchasing a laptop to work from home during the stay-at-home-order period.