For those of us fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, this first week of self-quarantine has been a test on many levels of finding ways to stay productive in a new environment. You might be dealing with noisy kids in the background breaking your concentration or interrupting conference calls, going a bit stir crazy indoors, or feeling disconnected from your colleagues and community. Our Maryland-based team has been working from home for the past week, and in that time we’ve been able to stay on top of business as usual thanks to our remote-friendly communications tools. Beyond that, we asked our team members to share what’s helped them stay sane and productive while practicing social distancing, and here’s what they had to say!
Our CEO Todd Fisher counts this among his top essentials to stay productive (and we have to admit, a home-brewed pot beats our usual Keurig in the office!). Merry Keane, on the other hand, prefers espresso—and lots of it.
Music or Podcasts Playing in the Background
Miss hearing the usual chatter around your office? Our BDR Kristina Stotler has been listening to 80’s hits to keep the mood upbeat around her household. Chris Todd has also been keeping on top of his favorite offbeat comedy podcasts, including: Doughboys, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Off Book, and Newcomers: Star Wars.
Staying Connected to Colleagues
Our team uses tools like Basecamp, Flowdock, and Zoom to interact with one another and manage projects throughout the day. You might even try implementing a virtual lunch break or happy hour with your team to stay connected and catch up on how everyone is doing.
Our team also held a fun contest on St. Patrick’s Day to post a picture of yourself on Flowdock wearing green, and whoever was decked out the most won a $100 gift card to Amazon.
The Right Chair or Pillows for Back Support
The right chair makes all the difference in staying comfortable and productive throughout the day. Frankly, we’ve never appreciated our office chairs more. (Some of our team members even took theirs home with them from the office!) If you don’t have the right chair at home, a good pillow can help add extra lumbar support when you need it.
Switching Up the Lunch Break
Joanna Dinh from our development team appreciates being able to eat lunch with her loved ones for a change, and Sheri Thomas and Bob Graw both mentioned using the lunch break as an opportunity to get outside and stay active, whether on a run or Bob’s favorite onewheel.
Maintaining Your Routine
Tony Glass from our sales team tries to keep on the same schedule as if he were commuting to the office, with Marketing Coordinator Frances Miller echoing his sentiments and aiming to wake up at her usual time and get outside before starting her work day. Eating healthy, balanced meals at regular mealtimes and wearing normal clothes—as opposed to pajamas all day—also helps avoid too much disruption from your typical day-to-day.
A Designated, Ergonomic Work Space
Especially for those who are sharing their new work environment with kids, a separate space where you can shut (or lock) the door and get some peace and quiet is ideal. If you don’t have this in your home, still setting up a designated work space with your laptop, monitor, extra lighting, and even a little plant or other desk decor you might have at your office can create that separation and help you feel more productive. The couch gets old after a day or two, so with ergonomics in mind, strive to maintain good posture and have your computer screen at eye-level.
Among our favorite tools for productivity are an extra monitor to display the CTM call log as well as our call center friendly JABRA headsets. (Not to mention the CTM Contact Center plan which has all the functionality you need to operate calls from anywhere in the world.) 🙂 Noise-canceling headphones are on Tim Cronin’s must-have list to help drown out any extra noise from kids running around in the background.
Finding Ways to Give Back
This is a stressful, challenging time for many of us and our loved ones, so a number of CTM employees have sought out ways to give back to our local community. Some ways we’re doing this include donating blood to the Red Cross, purchasing gift cards to help small businesses stay afloat while they’re closed, or making sure students in need still have access to meals while schools are closed. Our Product Manager Rick Ruth has even taken in 3 cats from his local shelter to foster for the time being—bringing his household total to 5 cats.
Which brings us to our last, most popular way to stay sane: with the help of our beloved pets. Our new furry coworkers help calm any coronavirus-related anxieties and make us feel less like we’re talking to ourselves. This picture of some of our CTM pets says it all, right? #PetsMakeEverythingBetter
We hope you and your team are also finding ways to ease anxiety and establish your new working normal during these uncertain times. As always, we’re here to help if you need anything. Just give us a call, send us a chat, or submit a ticket to connect with us.