Working From Home 3FINALLY! The chance to work from home. Something you always wished for every morning while you hustled and bustled your way to work. Running late, fighting traffic, or cursing the day after you spilled coffee on your shirt.

The COVID-19 social distancing has given you your chance to work business on top and comfy on the bottom, but do you find yourself and your schedule feeling out of sorts, less connected, and more distracted by mounds of laundry and dirty dishes? Is it keeping you from being your usual productive self?

Hope For The Warriors has offered virtual work opportunities to their veteran and military spouse and family staff for more than 9 years. We have staff spread out across the country, in 19 states and even at duty stations overseas. To help you get into the groove of working from home, our staff has shared their tips and tricks for staying productive…even with little ones at home.

HOPE tips for a successful and productive virtual workday.

Tip 1: Get out of your pajamas and put your work clothes on! We’re not saying you should put on a suit and tie, but get up, shower and get ready for your workday in casual attire.

Tip 2: Although your bed and couch are super comfy, grab your laptop and to-do list and head to your kitchen table or create a makeshift desk. Make this space calm and inviting, just like you would in an office.

Working From Home 4Tip 3: Schedule out your workday. Fill in empty spaces in your calendar with the tasks on your to-do list, but don’t forget to block off time for lunch and short breaks to take a walk, run, practice yoga, or meditate. Checklist is one of our staff’s favorite to-do list management tools!

Tip 4: While others are stocking up on toilet paper, stock up on coffee, tea, and water. Trust us, you’ll want an afternoon pick-me-up.

Tip 5: Check-in with your team members using Facetime or HOPE’s personal favorite, Zoom, that is currently offering free services. Or just try an old-fashioned phone call to connect.

Tips 6: Cut yourself off.  Sometimes it’s hard to end your workday when you have access to all your work materials, especially when you don’t have to worry about picking up kids from daycare, school or taking them to after school sports. Close the office door or tuck your laptop and work materials away. Because checking just one more email or completing one more task can turn minutes into hours.

HOPE tips for staying productive while parenting and home schooling.

Tip 1: Always remember, above all, you are a parent first.

Tip 2: Breathe…Working from home while also being mom and dad (and the snack machine) has its challenges and at times it can be extremely stressful and even frustrating! This is why taking a BIG deep breath and reminding yourself of tip #1 is important.

Working From Home 2Tip 3: Work together at the kitchen table. Invite your children to do schoolwork alongside you at the table or at your desk. This helps you stay on task while showing them firsthand the importance of a good work ethic.

Tip 4:  Schedule your meetings around naptimes or when your spouse or family can lend a helping hand with the kids.

Tip 5: Forgive yourself for your child’s extra screen time…REPEAT…Forgive yourself for your child’s extra screen time. If you are looking for some great educational apps and resources, visit our recent resource blog. Also check out the Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook for daily animal encounters and activities, as well as the National Aquarium for daily videos.

Tip 6: Use all the baby gadgets! Pull out the baby monitor and put the child lock on your office door when possible and you have extra supervision.

Tip 7: Create flexibility in your schedule. Be willing to get up earlier or work later depending on the hours that you were able to work during the day.

Tip 8: Find humor in the chaos. It’s going to be OK.

Recently, HOPE staff started a group chat titled, “Describe things your pets and children are doing during your workday but call them your co-workers. Here are few funny ones:

“My coworker fell asleep by my desk and then passed gas SO RANCID I had to turn off my meeting camera and take my computer to another room.”

“My coworkers are super bossy, demand all my attention and prefer to communicate by whining and crying. One never wants to work and instead watches “Horsey” (aka the show Spirit) all day, still plays with baby dolls and can’t be trusted with paint. The other one wears a diaper and makes me change her. She insists on putting everything in her mouth and stalks me.”

“My coworker decided he was done with house arrest and secretly jumped into the Amazon truck during a delivery. He enjoyed his 5-minute car ride and then had to be ‘delivered’ back home.”

Tip 9: Share what you do with your kids and make them aware of your schedule.

Tip 10: Make a home “command center” in a highly trafficked area of your home using a large white board or chalkboard to write the daily schedule and activities of the day.

Working from Home