Tips & Resources > Work/Life Balance

How to Work Better from Home in the Age of Coronavirus

More than ever, mothers are finding it necessary to work remotely. Millions of people have been suddenly forced to work from home due to the social distancing restrictions put in place to fight the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, millions more have lost their jobs as businesses suspend their operations under the strain of the coronavirus situation.

If you are out of work because of the coronavirus situation, you will find many high-quality remote positions at MotherWorks.co. Important Tip: Take a moment to register and upload your resume, it will improve your chances of being seen by employers looking for remote workers.

If you need to transition to remote work, there are steps you can take to improve your remote work experience.

Create Your Special Workspace

Do you have a dedicated space in which to work? If you do not have the luxury of an extra room, look for space in your home where you might create a “pop-up office.” It helps if it can be away from the television and other distractions. Your desk should be big enough for a desktop or laptop computer, monitors, file holders, and basic office supplies. An inexpensive room divider like a shoji screen or curtains can help set the space off and give you a little more privacy to work. Emphasize to your family that this is your workspace and should only be used for that reason, unless you give permission for other uses (like homework). It may not be your She-Shed, but you should try to make your home office a warm and inviting space in which to work. Good lighting and decorations make all the difference!

Gear Up for Remote Work

Once you know where you will be working, be sure you have the proper equipment for the job you will be performing remotely. A laptop will give you more flexibility as far as where and when you work, especially if you are not able to establish a dedicated workspace in your home or if you plan to travel while working remotely. However, remote positions such as graphic design are often better served by a desktop computer with a large hard drive and a high definition monitor. If you are freelancing, choose a laptop/computer with the most memory and hard drive space you can afford, so you have the flexibility to take on projects large and small.

If you have been suddenly forced into working remotely due to the coronavirus, you may find the equipment you have at home is not sufficient. For example, if you use a two-monitor set-up for your work computer, you will probably need the same set-up at home. Ask your employer if they can provide you with suitable remote equipment to use until you are able to return to your office.  Your desktop computer will have to be equipped with a camera in order to participate in online meetings.

Select Your Online Meeting Software

There are many options for hosting online meetings, with the audio, video and chat capability. Some, like Skype and Google Hangouts, and geared toward personal use. Others are focused on small organizations. These include GoToMeeting, MeetingBurner, Join.me, and Zoom. If you work for a large organization, you may use a system like Webex. All offer free plans for shorter meetings. Additionally, some employers may provide you with proprietary software that will be needed for you to perform remotely for them. For example, trainers and educators may use special software to facilitate distance learning.

Upgrade Your Internet Service

Your ability to work remotely depends on a reliable internet connection with enough speed and bandwidth for you to accomplish your daily tasks and communicate effectively with co-workers. With so many people home and online, your service may be slower than normal, and you may experience outages. You may need to upgrade your connection if have to attend online meetings or send and receive large video or audio files. Check with your tax professional to find out if you can write off some of this extra cost as a business expense.

Get the Right Software

The software you will need to perform your remote work will depend on what line of work you are in. Those working in HR or accounting or IT have very different software needs than writers or designers. However, almost all remote workers will need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection in order to easily access company data and network resources. 

Don’t Forget Work/Life Balance

During the coronavirus crisis, one of the biggest challenges for moms is finding ways to keep a work/life balance. Since schools are closed and children are home, moms are trying to balance remote work responsibilities with childcare duties. As instruction moves online, children are learning how to work from home too! Without sports, play dates and visits with the grandparents, it’s hard to find time for self-care. It’s a stressful time for all of us. It’s important to find time to exercise, and to communicate regularly with friends and family outside the home, even if that means gathering around a computer.

Most importantly, though, don’t beat yourself up if all does not go perfectly at first, especially during these challenging times. Just as you learned on the job when you started your last onsite position, you will be doing the same when working remotely.

Take a deep breath. You’ve got this!