Photo by: Freemixer via Canva
2020 was a year of big changes for everyone, including us training professionals. We transitioned from working in the office and training rooms to working remotely, we became homeschool teachers, we lost the ability to socialize in our usual ways, and some of us even lost our full-time jobs.
I am among the group that transitioned my spare bedroom to a new home office. I have days where I long to see a familiar face (aside from my spouse and dogs!). I miss going to the office every day and seeing the bright and cheery faces of my colleagues. However, my role is a bit different than some. As a virtual classroom producer, I get to interact with clients and colleagues in our live online workshops, as well as my team during Teams meetings. Even so, there is still the feeling of cabin fever and isolation some days.
Now that we are a full year into these life-altering changes, how can we maintain positivity and stay motivated in our isolated work settings? It recently dawned on me that arranging my work-from-home (WFH) day is like a lot of the tasks I complete on a weekly basis in the virtual classroom. Here are five tips for setting up your WFH day. I’ve incorporated each one into my day to stay on track.
1. Start with Your Pre-Course Material
Before your workday begins, check your social media accounts, news updates, entertainment sites, and the weather forecast while you are sipping your first cup of coffee. I do this before I produce every virtual course. It helps me stay fresh and able to engage in small talk with our clients as I welcome them into the classroom.
2. Log In at Least 15 Minutes Prior to Starting
This could be something as simple as turning on your computer 15-30 minutes early while you sit with your second coffee. You might need to plan out your schedule for the day, check those overflowing emails, or complete some required updates. I always log on 45-60 minutes early when producing a virtual session to give myself ample preparation time.
3. Introduce Yourself to the Day
Although some days can be tricky, try to have a positive mindset and let that energy follow you throughout the day. Send good morning messages or video chat with friends and colleagues to start your day with positive energy. I look forward to interacting with clients in the virtual classroom. I also find interaction helps to build rapport and trust, especially when learners can’t see me! At the beginning of each course, I make sure to do a quick introduction that includes something fun or unique about myself.
4. Take Breaks
During your workday, make sure you check in with yourself. To avoid mental overload, make sure you take breaks, even if it’s simply a quick five-minute walk every hour for some fresh air. In the virtual classroom, best practice is to take a short break roughly every hour. Also, check in on your colleagues; just a quick message to see how their day is going. This can be helpful for both of you, especially during a tough day.
5. Reflect on Your Key Takeaways at the End of Each Workday
Maybe you received good news from your boss. Maybe you shared good news with someone else. Reflect on that. Do you have a project you need to complete by a certain deadline, or a task that’s shifted direction? Make a to-do list to help keep you focused. We use action plans in the virtual classroom to give our clients an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned and think about how they’ll apply it back on the job. This is a good practice for you as well!
What is your routine for staying fresh and positive each workday? I’d love to hear your tips!