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Homework: Adjusting to Working Remotely

Wednesday, April 15, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Homework: Adjusting to Working Remotely

By Darin Matthews, FNIGP, CPPO, CPSM

Working from home is not exactly a new concept. In the past we have seen this called remote work, telework, and telecommuting. Rather than come into the office, of course, duties are performed at a remote location which is usually a home office (sometimes the dining room). Some organizations have used this occasionally and some not at all, depending on their respective policies.


With the current pandemic in the US (and abroad), the majority of public procurement offices are shutting their doors and asking their employees to work from home. This is quickly becoming the new normal and it is hard to say how long it will last. So, while many of us are working from home, here are some suggestions for making the most of it.


Right Technology – Whether it is your own computer or one that your organization provides, this becomes more important than ever. Being able to participate in video conferences and access key systems is essential.


Designated Space – It is helpful to have a spot in your home that you consider your workspace. Working at the kitchen counter is possible, but “going” to work in a certain place will help put you in a work frame of mind (it can also help at tax time).


Established Schedule – Try and keep a routine schedule that is consistent with how you worked in your traditional office. Begin work at 8, for instance, and then “clock out” at 5. Remember to take scheduled breaks and lunches too.


Stay Plugged In – During a time like this it is easy to feel isolated and blocked off from the world. Do all you can to stay connected with your colleagues, which some are likely to be friends too. Go the extra mile to check in with your staff frequently. Maybe even have a virtual gathering after work?


Limit Distractions – We all have lives with many important things in them, but remember how noise or background events can impact your co-workers you are talking with. Just keep this in mind for things like music, television, pets, and your spouse operating a leaf blower.


Fresh Air – I believe it is important to get out of the house when you can. Taking a quick walk in whatever weather you are experiencing can be good for the body and mind. Of course, stay safe and follow your local distancing guidelines.


Keep a Balance – While it is important to keep up with your work and related deadlines, it is also necessary to maintain a proper work-life balance. I believe this has always been important, but perhaps even more important today. Sander de Vocht, a European CEO, reminds his staff to “go out for a walk every now and then. When you meet with colleagues do not forget to spend some time socializing and to catch up on personal level.”


Finally, remember we are all in this together and we are all human. We each need support and compassion, both to give and receive. There are better days ahead, so stay the course and stay safe.


Darin is the director of west coast operations for Negometrix, a provider of digital procurement solutions. He has 30 years of experience in public procurement and speaks throughout the world on procurement and supply chain management. Darin is the author of several books and industry articles, and is a columnist for Government Procurement Magazine.

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