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How To Ignore Looming Housework and Other Telework Challenges

by Mary Isner / June 4, 2020

It’s time once again for some friendly pointers from Miss Telework Manners. In this installment, I offer solutions to two additional challenges you may be facing as you continue to navigate the unexpected transition to full-time telework. Happy reading!

Dealing With Distractions While Working From Home

Dear Miss Telework Manners: I just love working from home! I am getting so much accomplished. My house is clean, my laundry is done, my lawn is mowed. Just one teensy issue: I am not getting much work done! When I am supposed to be working, I find it so tempting to do household chores instead. How do I deal with the distractions? It is only going to get worse as the weather warms up.

-- Good Housekeeping

Dear Good Housekeeping:

As someone who has worked from home for the majority of my career, I completely understand. When you are working from home it’s guaranteed that there will be distractions. Just last month, I had a small fire in my garage in the middle of the workday. Now, that’s a distraction! (Talk about a hot mess!) While a small fire or other household emergency is something you cannot plan for, most household distractions can be planned around. I find it very helpful at the beginning of my day to think about what needs to be completed for that day both at work and around the house. Then, I map out my day to ensure that my work gets completed during business hours and household chores don’t get in the way. For instance, today I have to write a blog and participate in a videoconference. I also have to homeschool my two children and clean my bathrooms. My plan for the day looks like this:

6 a.m. - Clean bathrooms

8 a.m. - Set my kids up with their schoolwork for the day

9 a.m. - Start writing my blog while periodically checking in on my kids while they are completing their schoolwork

11 a.m. - Videoconference

Noon - Lunch break with my kids

1 p.m. - Return to writing blog and hopefully wrap it up by the end of the workday

Another thing that has worked well for me is to set small rewards throughout the day. For instance, if I complete a section of a document, I reward myself by taking a small break to play with the puppy or complete a small household chore. I find that taking small breaks throughout the day after completing work can be very rewarding and it also increases my productivity. Good luck to you and stay well!

Telework Forever?

Dear Miss Telework Manners: Like many others, my company has implemented mandatory telework due to the coronavirus pandemic. I have found that my productivity has gone way up and I have a better work/home life balance. I never want this to end! (The teleworking that is…the pandemic can go away soon please.) Any tips for making the case to my company that we should continue with the telework momentum?

-- I Don’t Want to Stop Teleworking!

Dear Don’t Want to Stop Teleworking: I hear you loud and clear! While I have teleworked for much of my career, I have also worked in a brick and mortar office and I can tell you I am so much more productive teleworking. I have to believe that a lot of employers will continue with teleworking to some degree if they see that teleworking to this point has led to an increase in productivity. My advice to you is to keep being super-productive while you are teleworking! I truly think that even after all of this passes, teleworking will become the new normal for many organizations. Good luck to you!

I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and healthy telework environment! And, for goodness’ sake, wash your hands and stop touching your face! Be well, everyone!

Tags: Telework

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Mary Isner

Mary Isner

Mary has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked as a facility planning analyst for Fentress since 2003. In her free time, she enjoys baking, decorating, and spending time with her family.