After 18 years of working remotely, together, Kelly and I feel like we’ve kind of got this figured out.

You see I work out of Regina, Saskatchewan and Kelly works out of Alliston, Ontario.  There are 2,684 kilometers between us and our working relationship is seamless, rewarding, and fun too! Not only do we zig and zag in the same creative direction we have supported each other through every zig and zag that life has thrown our way. And wow this is a big zig!

Kelly has her kids at home with her in this new reality, so her suggestions are golden! And my family is now working remotely so there is that too! Different perspectives, lots of suggestions!

If you suddenly find yourself working remotely you might feel a bit lost? Maybe the whole family is now at home and you have no idea how this will really work to actually get work done. Here are some tips to keep you grounded in the present so that you can tick a few things off your to-do list, and keep your business moving forward too.

  1. Get dressed! It might be cool to work in your sweats and slippers for the first few days, it may even feel liberating. You might not need office attire but get dressed and look your best. It is all about mindset. Getting dressed helps you get there.
  2. Whatever your morning routine is keep it up. Get up at the same time and since you don’t have the commute add some self-care into that time – exercise, meditate or journal.
  3. Define your space. It doesn’t matter whether it is a coffee table or a corner of the kitchen table, declare it yours. Let all of your family members know that this is your space and when you are working there you need to devote your attention to your work. Also, train yourself that the physical trigger of being at your space is when work happens. When you are there you must be present.
  4. Set your hours. Depending how busy your household is this might need to be short sprints or longer marathons. Let your family know you need 20 uninterrupted minutes, or 40 or 60. Let them set the timer and when it goes off be present with them until you start your next work interval. And if you have no one in the house set the same parameters for yourself. And when the timer dings get up and do something – stretch, throw in a load of laundry, doesn’t matter what it is, just move your body. Kelly’s tip: be prepared for this to also not work at all! Sometimes they might need more from you and you have to try to give it. If they need a movie and a cuddle, you need to adjust your day accordingly. You may need to prioritize your tasks, get what you need done and then spend some time with them.
  5. Equal living reigns! Everyone can help. Chores cooking and cleaning keep everyone busy and will keep you sane.
  6. Find an accountability partner. If you are used to working in an office environment, ask a colleague to be your accountability partner. Do a check in at 8:00 am saying, “I am at my desk where are you?” Check in at what might be your regular coffee time and say, “hey what did you get done?” or just quite simply “how are you?” These are challenging times and knowing you are not alone is just what we all need right now.
  7. Walk it out. Whether you are frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed a trip around the block can clear your head and reset your soul. Grab the kids, the dog or the neighbour’s dog and breathe in…from a social distance.
  8. One fun thing a day. Better than a vitamin! If kids are part of your co-work life, playing cards, art projects, kitchen dance parties, building a fort projects always win. Combine it with exercise. I loved Kelly’s idea that on their walks, every block someone got to pick an activity. Walk like a penguin for a block, do 25 mini arm circles or do a funny dance…come on don’t you wonder if you could walk like a penguin? It’s not easy! We think play is not just for kids, some time to just be silly is good for everyone.

If you are leading a team get some tips here on how to keep your team engaged remotely. Most of all do what you can to keep your mind and body healthy. Together we can make sure isolation is not a lonely experience.