4 min read

Fall is Here: Resources to Help You Succeed in the Current Normal

9/21/20 9:00 AM

As seasons begin to change, and summer starts to give way to fall, many of us are finding areas of our lives are still in flux. The ripple effects of COVID-19 have spread further, and longer, than many of us anticipated, bringing change and uncertainty into many parts of our lives:

  • As schools (re)open for the fall, how our children will learn looks fundamentally different, with many school districts choosing some version of virtual or hybrid learning.
  • We've gone from "the world's largest work from home experiment," with many organizations planning a return to the office ASAP, to many considering how to integrate remote work in some form permanently.
  • Many states are still in some phase of reopening, with continued restrictions on group sizes creating challenges for socialization, networking, and relationship building.
  • Some organizations work tirelessly to keep their employees on payroll while others, including friends and family members of employees, are furloughed or losing jobs to layoffs.

As we march towards fall, continuing to juggle schedules at work and home, your individual needs, and the needs of your staff, will no doubt change as national and local circumstances change. To help ease the work from home burden, I've compiled a few articles and video courses that you and your team may find helpful in maintaining balance and remaining productive in our current normal.

Time Management

Time Management: Working from Home (LinkedIn Learning). In this 1.5-hour video course, bestselling author and productivity expert Dave Crenshaw offers best practices for anyone who works full-time or occasionally from home.

How to Craft the Perfect Schedule as a #WFH Freelancer (Wonolo). While this article is geared towards freelancers, the author provides actionable tips for crafting the perfect schedule for you through their nine-step work schedule template.

How to Work From Home: 20 Tips From People Who Do It Successfully (Hubspot). As this Hubspot article calls out, all too often, YOU can be your worst enemy when it comes to working from home. The author has helpfully compiled simple, practical tips from other #WFH veterans to help put you on the road to productivity.

Parenting + Virtual Learning

Supporting Your Kids' Learning at Home (LinkedIn Learning). This 1 hour, 20-minute course provides you with the essential information you need to guide the learning journey and keep children up to speed with educational goals and requirements. Learn how to structure a successful workday, provide constructive feedback, and use games to keep kids engaged.

Balancing Work and Life as a Work-from-Home Parent (LinkedIn Learning). In this 28-minute course, learn how to establish a concrete personal plan to reduce stress, set boundaries, and embrace each day with new motivation. Discover tips on how to successfully juggle your job and your life as a work-from-home parent, how to set boundaries that lessen intrusions, boost your productivity, and keep your work time from trickling into your family time.

These online learning tips will help parents prepare for a successful school year, even if it is virtual (USA Today). The title may speak for itself, but also includes solid tips on how to do everything from reducing distractions to providing brain breaks.

Creating a Comfortable Space to Work (and Learn) from Home

For Comfort and Productivity, Think Ergonomics (Office Gallery Int). Are you still working from your dining room table or sitting on the couch with a lap desk? It might be time to make your office space more comfortable. This post outlines various ways that you can improve the ergonomics of your space to increase both comfort and productivity.

Creating a Productive learning space at home (Khan Academy). If we take the time to create a comfortable and productive space for the parents, we should also take time to evaluate where our kids are learning. This article lists seven tips for creating a productive and comfortable learning space at home for our children.

7 Tried and True Secrets for a Productive Home Office (themuse). One or more of these seven tips may help adjust your space just enough to create a little more efficiency into your day. Small changes can make big differences. These tips can transfer to remote student learning spaces as well.

After you read and watch the resources listed above, share them with your staff. Remember that while these tips are focused on individuals making changes for the better, as a manager, your actions influence others. Part of being in a position of authority means being a role model, which means taking to heart the same recommendations that we make to our staff.

Reach out and make sure your staff knows that you are available and interested in having discussions with them about any concerns they may have during this time. Ask for feedback as you continue to evaluate your return to the office plan. Even if that feedback isn't what you wanted to hear, make sure that your staff knows you appreciate it.

Don't wait for someone to work up the courage to approach you. If you see a staff member who may be overwhelmed or is struggling to juggle everything that COVID-19 has brought into their life, reach out and initiate the conversation. Similarly, if you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to Human Resources or your support network. Have an open and honest discussion about the challenges you are facing – it can do wonders for your mental and physical health.

Working together, with clear and consistent communication, will help us all get through this current normal and into whatever the next one looks like.

Kristin Lopes, SHRM-SCP, PHR

Written by Kristin Lopes, SHRM-SCP, PHR

Kristin is XCM’s HR Manager and responsible for the HR data systems in the US and India locations. She is responsible for all HR focus areas including compensation, payroll, benefits, employee performance and compliance. She has led the US location to be a Boston Best and Brightest Companies to Work for award winner 2017-2019.