WFH Tips & Tricks | Mental Health & the Work-Life Balance
In the current COVID-19 world of Work From Home (WFH), Remotely Working offers tips and trick to make WFH easier. If you have an issue you would like discussed or a favorite trick you’d like to share, let us know and we may feature it in an upcoming column. You can submit an article here.
While there have been some positive developments in the current pandemic recently, it looks like may Research Administrators will continue to remotely for at least a portion of this year. Additionally, as communication and networking tools improve it is likely that even after we are able return the office, remote work will continue to be an option for many. With this in mind, the Catalyst Committee has been collecting tips and tricks for what has helped us to be more productive and still keep balanced at home, which we will regularly compile and share with you.
Create a Workspace at Home
I align my work responsibilities as closely as possible to my former traditional workday. Start and stop times may be more fluid than when I was in my physical office and the dress code may be slightly more relaxed, but there is a stop time. Changing my mindset from business to personal takes a measure of discipline, as we all want to answer one more email, review one more report, or check off one more item on our never-ending commitment list! Keeping my day structured, however, keeps me grounded and affords just enough balance to reset and get ready to do it all over again the next morning. – Rosemary Dillon, Director, Special Projects, Office of the Vice President for Research, Temple University, Catalyst Copy-Editor and Committee Member
Have a separate office space with good workspace (desk, office chair and large screens); keep regular hours; and close the door at the end of the day (just like I did when I was on campus). – Terry Campbell, Executive Director, Research Management Services, University of Ottawa, Catalyst Co-Editor
Between endless meetings, I try to find ways to intentionally take a break. I may use the restroom, put in laundry, clean the cat box, get the mail…just something to encourage me to get up from my seat for a couple of minutes between meetings. – Mark Lucas, Chief Administrative Officer, University of California, Los Angeles Department of Neurobiology, Catalyst Committee Member
Schedule lunch every day and block off that time on your calendar, and then try to get some exercise outside, even if it's just a short walk. It's good to give your brain a break, and there are a variety of health benefits to exercising and getting outside. If I really don’t want to exercise or the weather is atrocious, I'll use that lunch break to read something enjoyable (definitely not work related). –Tyler Tulloch, CRA, Grant Services Manager, Michigan State University Extension, Catalyst Committee Member
On days when I find myself more prone to distraction, I use the Pomodoro Technique. There are many apps and websites for this, but I typically just open a tab for Tomato Timer. – Karen Bone, Proposal & Contract Administrator, Florida Atlantic University, Catalyst Co-Editor
I have found that white noise of some kind can really help me to focus when there are noises all around me vying for my attention (a loud tv in the next room, leaf blower outside, the pitter patter of not so little feet in the hall). I now have a fan or a heater blowing in the corner or there are some very good white noise apps for some variety. – Trevor Johnson, Associate Director, Office of Sponsored Programs, Emory University, Catalyst Committee Member
Zoom burn-out is a real thing. To mitigate, I look for opportunities to schedule “walking meetings,” which are phone calls. This allows me to stretch, walk around the backyard, and chat with someone in an old school way. – Mark Lucas, Chief Administrative Officer, University of California, Los Angeles Department of Neurobiology, Catalyst Committee Member
Authored by Trevor Johnson, Associate Director