While it’s felt more like 67 years, here at Parqa Marketing we’ve reached the end of our third week of working remotely and practicing social distancing. While we’re proud that we were out in front of the initiative to flatten the curve, in a marketing agency full of wacky extroverts who crave social interaction and happy hours like oxygen, working remotely has been quite the adjustment.
As an agency that specializes in providing marketing solutions for staffing and recruiting firms, we understand that the charming, chatty, and hyper-social personalities that make outstanding recruiters do not translate to the droning isolation of working from home.
So, we figured we’d throw together some habits that our team has developed over the past few weeks that are helping us to get through it.
Paul Thelen – Random Video Chats
Look, a mere six weeks ago, I was that curmudgeon guy in your friend group that ignores your FaceTime call, only to call you back seconds after sans video. Maybe I’m just awful at finding my best angle in selfie mode, but I couldn’t stand video calls. Then COVID-19 came, and I embraced the lonely existence of remote work. After a few days, I was sauntering around the house like a loon having one-sided conversations with my cats. Suddenly, video chat apps like FaceTime, Zoom, Hangouts, and Teams became the best thing ever.
My tip for adjusting to remote work is to utilize video chat as much as you can. Better yet, randomly video chat with one of your coworkers.
To my surprise, the elements of my in-office workday that I miss the most are the random personal touchpoints. I miss talking about the last night’s game (don’t get me started on how much I miss sports) with someone as I grab a cup of coffee, hearing what people have on their social calendars this weekend, complaining about the weather—I even miss the meaningless elevator small talk I would have with people in our building.
Random, brief video chats have helped me fill the social void tremendously. In these unprecedented, scary, and confusing times, it’s amazing how impactful a couple of minutes of a virtual small chat can be. Best yet, when I video chat my coworkers, they actually respond, unlike my cats.
Ashley Addison – Set Up Your Work Space, Just Like the Office
Working from home in 2020 is a prevalent thing – especially in the staffing & recruiting world. Usually, having your laptop, your cell phone & a comfy spot to hang out will cover it for the day. However, you might find yourself not feeling the most productive at home with very few tools at your disposal. I was sitting in that spot about three weeks ago & I knew I had to adjust my setup. I had an old monitor, folding table, office chair & wireless mouse in storage, so it was time to pull those things out!
Once I set up my space, I found myself feeling like it was really no different than the office, and I was far more productive. I’ve actually found myself enjoying the work from home life, and I’m significantly more efficient!
Duncan McLaughlin – Maintain a Healthy Headspace
We’re a couple of weeks into quarantine, and by now, most of us are charging our phones all night just to scroll through the same three apps all day (me included). As much fun as that is, and as nice as it is to think I can just scroll my way through this whole ordeal and emerge whole on the other side, I’ve found that being a bit more intentional with my time has helped a lot.
Whether it’s dedicating an hour a day to running/walking outside, downloading meditation apps (Headspace/WakingUp are great ones), or pouring time into hobbies, little steps like these can pay huge dividends towards our mental well-being. No one is immune to the side effects of isolation, and I think as much of a protective boost that we can give our minds during this time, the better, especially when it’s this easy.
Jared Hummel – Find a Routine
I am someone that loves routine. I probably didn’t appreciate it enough until the COVID-19 challenge began. I would wake up at 5:00. Be to the gym by 6:00, workout until 7:15. Work from 8-6. Go home, make dinner and hang with my wife until 11:00, and then hit the hay.
Many can say that nothing has changed… why don’t I workout outside, I am lucky to still have a job, I should be grateful to have a home to work from and that my family enjoys. I am extremely grateful, probably now more than ever, for the luxuries that I have, but keeping the routine has been a bear!!
The emotional stress of everything, the not leaving the house, the fact that my local LifeTime Fitness is shut down and my coach @JenMobley isn’t working, the idea I cant high five a teammate or shoot a nerf gun or grab a conference room has changed everything for me.
I would encourage you to let it be, challenge yourself to find a new norm, be ok with the change, embrace it, and make changes to your daily routine. Work HARD to set a new normal… in the end I always try to go back to my guiding principles:
- Personal mental health
- Personal physical health
- Family and friends.
Keep regimented with these priorities, and even though the activities may change your life priorities don’t need too! You got this!
Jeremy Delgado – Working From Home With a Toddler
The new normal nowadays feels completely different from just a short 21 days ago. COVID-19 hit MN hard, and many have felt the wrath of becoming a work from home all-star and a daycare center all at once. What we have done here at my house is split up the parenting duties by half days. We look at each other’s calendars for the week, and we determine what are non-negotiable times that we cannot have the little one screaming in our ear or banging on the keyboard while on a conference call with a client.
We still work for the part of the day we have the little rascal, but it is the part of the day you get done what you can with the time you have available to you. When you do not have the little rascal for the other half of the day, this is when you really crush through your tasks and to-dos.
We found that there is no more 9-5 when working from home. We know we don’t put all 4-5 hours of hardcore work time when you have a 2-year old running around, so if we have to put in the extra few hours after normal work hours, we know that is what has to be done. We are both thankful we have a job, and having the kid around more really is a blessing in disguise. You do not and will not ever get these magical moments back where you can build a fort from a table, couch, and blanket and see the look of amazement and joy on your little ones face from such a simple thing.
Times are tough; we will get through this.
Appreciate your loved ones more, give leniency where needed, and always be kind!
Brittney Hurley – Change Out of Your Pajamas!
It might seem obvious, but let’s be honest…we all struggle with this one. While it’s been tempting to stay in my pajamas all day, doing so seems to create a slower mood overall, and I don’t feel as productive as I do when I get dressed for the day. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you shouldn’t keep it casual and still wear a hoodie or your comfy pants, I am just encouraging you to change out of whatever you wore to bed.
The simple act of changing your clothes triggers you to start your day and be productive. It may even be worth throwing on a nice shirt here and there to help boost your confidence for the day. So try not to get too comfy, this will all be over eventually, and when it is, you will have to go back into the office, and you don’t want those nice shirts collecting to much dust.
Chanel Schmidt – Start Your Day with a (Virtual) Team Huddle
There’s no doubt that working remotely comes with its fair share of both challenges and blessings. One of the hardest parts is not being able to sit side-by-side with your team every day—from the time you’d usually spend brainstorming and problem-solving, to laughing and nerf-gun shooting, it can get pretty lonely.
It’s critical to maintain community and togetherness during times like these, and one way the Parqa team has done that is by hosting virtual huddles at least three times per week. This has been a long-standing tradition for our team, but it’s been so cool to see how the distance doesn’t stop us. I’d highly recommend starting your day with this kind of 15-minute check-in. After all the only way to get through the times we’re in is to do it together.