Working from home presents challenges, advantages. Experts offer tips being productive from home

Posted at 3:11 PM, Mar 20, 2020

Participating in social distancing from one another to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus has impacted daily routines, including jobs.

Businesses having to quickly switch to being remote means more employees were told to work from home to help contain the spread.

“It’s been an adjustment,” Rick Turnquist, a corporate accountant at an oil and gas company in Denver, Colorado, said.

“Definitely has made a huge impact on me,” Carla Loecke, who usually works remotely in Oregon for the University of Denver’s Center for Rural School Health & Education, said.

Working from home can present some unique challenges.

“You can’t just go and talk to somebody; you’ve got to communicate via emails or phone,” Turnquist said.

“What’s challenging for me is the change in routines in the family life that we have,” Loecke said.

With kids being sent home from school for an undefined amount of time, this is an issue for a lot of parents.

“It’s basically like having my children and being a mom at the same time I’m trying to do my work, so that’s what’s really changed,” she said.

The disruption of structure is another issue many businesses have tackled.

“Making sure you have the right bandwidth, making sure you have the right equipment, making sure, frankly, that you have the right security checks in place,” Robert Padron, Chief Growth Officer at Arise Virtual Solutions, said. “First and foremost is to have a plan.”

Arise has seen double the volume of work in recent days, helping those get the support and technology they need to do their jobs.

“I think now we live in a world where it has to be part of your strategy in order to survive another pandemic,” Padron said.

During times like this, communication is key.

“At least every employee is in a touch base with someone minimally once if not twice a day that will help their structure and connectedness,” Michelle Tenzyk, CEO of East Tenth Group Inc., a human resource consulting firm in New York City, said. “Be overcommunicating right now.”

Working from home has its upsides too, and no, not just because you can stay in your pajamas.

“I think there’s a perception of being able to work from home means you stay in your pajamas all day but for me I always get ready,” Loecke said.

“I’m still maintaining my normal work hours and still acting as if I’m on the clock. Even though I’m here at home and not wearing a dress shirt and nice clothes,” Turnquist said.

“Going through your regular routines, pretending like you’re going to an office is part of it,” Loecke said. “Also having a schedule so you kinda know when you’re gonna be sitting at your desk or doing the work that you do.”

Loecke also recommends moving into a different place in the house for work.

As the social distancing rules relax, Padron and Tenzyk said this time is giving businesses an opportunity to realize something important.

“We believe folks need options for how they do their work and we believe working from home should be an option,” Padron said.

“Working from home actually works well and it can be a very productive way of conducting business,” Tenzyk said. “And my opinion is we will see more organizations loosen their stance on working from home and telecommuting as this crisis comes to an end.”