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Workplace investigators working remotely part 2: Some ways we adapted our workdays this week

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On Monday, several of my RT colleagues shared a “chain blog” about some of the humbling lessons that they learned from various mishaps occurring during their first week working remotely. In response, a few other colleagues and I would like to share some of our successes – things that have gone well or solutions that we have implemented to potential issues.

Allow me to start.

Cory Boyd: I love to multi-task. The only thing better than the sense of accomplishment that comes from getting one thing done is the joy of getting two things done at once. For example, I am always the first one to every meeting or on every conference call. Now, instead of sitting in the meeting room waiting, I jump rope in my kitchen waiting for the others to hop on. I’ve also combined my mental focus on a call with my colleagues with some mindless physical activity such as dusting or mopping, and replaced the occasional stretch and coffee break while working on a project with a break to change the laundry. The focus remains on the work, but my home has never been cleaner.

Sophie Martel: My university children are at home, trying to finish their courses online. I am now wondering, what is the bandwidth of our Internet? Can they both be following an online lecture while I am conducting a video interview? In order to prevent unwelcome surprises and disruptions, we now have an Internet calendar that prioritizes certain tasks. Priority #1 is an online university class that can only be viewed live. My work comes a close second but apparently my online wine and cheese is at the bottom of the list.

Will Goldbloom: Last night I forced my partner into an uncomfortable conversation about – you guessed it – goal-setting. Nothing is as charming to hear from your partner (while being stuck in a small space with them) as, “What your goals for the next three months?” The news cycle for this outbreak requires us to focus on day-to-day changes in horrifying statistics. The social distancing measures stop us from thinking about the next travel vacation or outing as a way to motivate you to finish a report. So much of doing work and getting work done is about the things you want to do and the ways you want to grow when the work is over. I’m trying to create goals that I can steadily work on that build up to me being able to do things I never thought were possible. First up – confidently completing a hand-stand.

Elizabeth Bingham: For me, social distancing has coincided with a period of time when I have lots of writing to get done. There are pros to this – I haven’t (yet) had to deal very much with the technological challenges of conducting remote interviews – but there are also cons. Not only are the distractions at home endless, but sitting at the table to write for hours followed by sitting on the couch to watch Netflix for hours can make one pretty antsy. I’ve found a couple of things helpful. First, I try to break down my day into manageable and distinct pieces – I’ll work on one file for X amount of time, then move on to another file. Mixing things up like this helps keep my mind engaged. Second, I try to start and end my work day with a little movement. Exercise – even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes – helps to delineate my work time from my personal time and keeps cabin fever at bay.

As noted by our colleagues in their previous blog post, for those who are able to continue to work from home, it may create a need to learn and implement new technologies. What we’re finding, however, is that to be effective in the current crisis, working from home may also impact the structure of a “typical” workday, and our overall work-life balance, in a variety of ways as well.

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