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Working through change: Tips for working remotely and staying sane through the outbreak

Welcome to the new normal. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re all learning to make some changes to our normal routine to keep business running as usual. I’m so proud of the way the Centerline team has pivoted to working remotely, while staying connected and on top of our client work.

Even still, this is a strange time for everyone. Working in the midst of a global pandemic—with schools out and kids at home and the news rushing in—certainly isn’t your standard “working from home” experience. But the more we’re able to make the best of this time, the easier it will be.

Here are a few things I’ve found helpful to making this new normal feel as “business as usual” as possible.

Keep your regular schedule, or adjust as needed.  It can be easy to blend home life into work life when you’re working from home, which can leave you feeling exhausted from trying to balance both. Try to keep your usual meetings—even simple check-ins—and keep your calendar updated with on and off hours. But if it’s helpful for you, look at adjusting your working hours so you can find the right rhythm for you. It’s important to take breaks to juggle kids or adjust to sharing your WFH space with a roommate or significant other. Breaks will help manage your time between work and family.

Make your work station work for you. The couch can be nice for a couple of hours, but it’s not a great solution for the long term. A dedicated space that mimics your office setup will be ideal for making your workspace feel separate from the rest of your home. Take a look at some of our Centerliners’ setups and read some of their tips for making the most of remote work.

Make time for yourself. Take a real lunch break! Drink your coffee on the porch before you get started for the day. Get a workout in, if you can. Between work and family responsibilities, it can be really difficult to find a moment for yourself. But doing so can make a world of difference to your mental health.

Solidarity, solidarity, solidarity. Our company chats are a lifesaver in these strange times. Working parents are able to empathize with each other about conference calls interrupted by adorable intruders and share home learning and activity resources. Our daily Spotify DJ hour makes it feel like we’re still in the office listening to the same speakers. Virtual happy hour and Pizza Friday give us some much-needed face time with the coworkers we miss seeing every day. Communication is key right now.

Be kind to everyone—including yourself. We’re all doing the best we can. Give yourself (and your team members) a little grace because not every day is going to run perfectly. This moment in history will pass, but we all need to work together to come out of it stronger than ever. Keep supporting one another—we’re in this together.

– Tami

See how Centerliners are adjusting, and take a look at some of our home setups!

“Editing works a little differently from other departments…When I have to access something that can’t easily and quickly be downloaded, I’ve found it’s often easier for me to switch my shift hours. I work late in the evening and night or early morning when there are fewer people trying to access the company server. There’s far less lag in my work and I can move much faster.” – Nicole Opyr, Senior Editor

“It’s been an adjustment having to set a new schedule that doesn’t involve being in the office around other people. Reminding myself to get up, walk around, eat a snack, or just look away from the computer is more difficult than it was before! I personally feel more comfortable sticking to my normal routine of getting ready, putting on regular work clothes, and treating my work day as if it were any other. That gets me in the mindset of being ready to tackle the day… even if just from my kitchen table. – Amy McKeel, Strategic Account Director

“I love being in my own space and I’m ridiculously introverted so it’s nice having only the company of my dog all day long. To be honest, the only difficulty I’ve found has been setting up space for a workstation. My apartment is one room and very small. When I’m in-house, I’m working off of two monitors and a Cintiq, and I have this giant desk and computer. There is NO space for any such thing here and I only have a single little round table! So, currently I am working from a solo screen which shares the table I have to eat at ( a bit precarious, but we make it work ).” – Haley Revels, Junior Motion Graphics Designer