Working From Home During a Blizzard? S’no Problem!

If you live in the northeastern part of the United States and have been pummeled by snow over the past 24 hours, you are probably working from home today. However, a snow day doesn’t need to be a lost day. It can actually be a great time to concentrate, catch up and even get ahead.

Here are some tips for you to work most effectively from your “home office.”

1. Get dressed. 

I am not saying you need to put on your suit and tie to work from your couch, but research shows that your mind associates pajamas with relaxing and downtime. The most productive people who work from home get up, shower, and put on real daytime clothes (ladies, yoga pants will do).

2. Be thoughtful about the type of work that you are doing at home.
Is there work that you just can’t seem to complete in the office due to, for instance, an open work environment? Think about what is on your plate, and take care of the tasks that require focus and concentration. Many feel it is easier to write and individually brainstorm at home compared to being in the office.

3. Keep in touch with your team.
We are fortunate to work in an environment where most, if not all, have smart phones, tablets, email, video chatting and more at their fingertips. Just because we aren’t face-to-face with our colleagues doesn’t mean we can’t be in touch. Use this technology to let people know what you are working on, set expectations and let your team know when you’re unavailable.

4. Speaking of technology…
Make full use of technology available to you. Set up your laptop to have remote access to your files even when you are not physically in the office. Forward your office phone so you can be reached on your mobile device and set your out of office message to let people know where and how you can be reached. Don’t forget to use your calendar to let your colleagues know when you’re available.

5. Don’t forget to “leave” work.
It is important to set work and personal time boundaries, and to be conscious about the hours that you’re working. When you are done for the day, shut your computer, step away and recharge to get ready for the next day. And hey, if there is still snow on the ground, maybe it’s time to go outside and build a snowman?

If you have other ideas on how to maximize productivity when working remotely, send me a tweet @MelissaBarry.

Melissa Barry is the Chief of Staff at Ketchum. As Chief of Staff, Melissa directly supports Ketchum’s CEO, Barri Rafferty, and her senior team by providing counsel on agency transformation, strategy execution, and operational excellence. Prior to this role, Melissa was part of the Organizational Effectiveness team where she spent her time consulting to groups and individuals in the areas of change management, employee engagement, and team effectiveness. Melissa received her graduate degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and her undergraduate degree in Human Development from Cornell University. She is a certified HCI Human Capital Strategist and is qualified to administer several assessments including MBTI and Social Styles.