Working remotely to be as efficient and healthy as possible:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that employers explore whether they can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. The paradigm shift that is inherent in moving to being a remote worker comes with hurdles that are often overlooked, with managing your mental health and self-care arguably being the most challenging. I have been working remotely full time for a while now, and I wanted to share a few things I’ve figured out along the way that help make working remotely as efficient and healthy as possible:

• As much as your space will allow, set up an office at home that is in a designated work area away from distractions.

• Consider using Evernote to stay organized and minimize paper notes cluttering up your desk, which is likely a smaller surface than you have at your office.

• Get showered and dressed for the day in real clothes. PJs are fun every now and then, but you’d be surprised how much keeping your morning routine will increase your energy.

• Take a walk at lunch to make sure you are getting outside. (and don’t forget to eat)

• Set your business hours, and stick to them. It’s really easy to fall into a cycle of wake up, work through the whole day, eat, sleep, repeat. “Leave the office” as you normally would by shutting your computer off.

• Zoom is my go-to for client meetings. You can choose to turn on your video or not during these meetings; I often opt to have a headshot displayed instead. They also have an app for your phone in case you need to be away from your computer. I have done meetings (including screen-sharing to do QB training) solely from my phone.

• When working remotely make sure your home PC or laptop is set up with all the applicable drivers and downloads to be able to use applications as you do in the office. Consider a Dropbox account if you are experiencing a need to move documents back and forth from your desktop to your company’s cloud.

• Employers and those in leadership or mentoring roles should establish set times to check in with their remote employees. During these check-ins, don’t be afraid to be direct about your work-from-home woes. Do what you can; discuss when you can’t.

• Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call. Relying solely on email communication with each other can sometimes feel distant, and written communication can also sometimes be misconstrued without verbal cues. If you’re feeling isolated or out of the loop, feel free to give your co-workers a call just to chat.

Written by Erin McDonald

Erin is a General Ledger & Tax Manager for Wilke & Associates and is a QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor based in Oregon. Her areas of service include tax planning & preparation, software training & implementation, mergers and acquisitions consulting, and CFO/Controller services.