Adjusting the Workplace

“Unemployment insurance is the first line of defense against poverty and homelessness,” says Rebecca Dixon, Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project, in our conversation on COVID-19 and unemployment insurance.

The Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute hosted Rebecca for a live question and answer session on unemployment insurance in the context of the current pandemic. If you missed it, or would like to it hear again, you can listen to the conversation here.

COVID-19 Employer Toolkit, provided by ThinkHR:

Federal and Select State Resources for HR

Webinar Recording: COVID-19 HR Guidance & Best Practices

Blog: When Business Threats are Contagious


Sample Emergency Family and Medical Leave Policy

Sample Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy

Telecommuting Checklist

Sample Work from Home Policy

Furlough Letter Template (COVID-19)

Virtual Meetings  Some Helpful Tools for Online Gatherings by Looking Glass Creative

Now that interacting virtually as our new norm, it’s important to remember that these encounters are still MEETINGS so we need to behave professionally. Just follow these simple guidelines provided by CMA Enterprise Inc. and have successful, productive virtual work sessions.

  • Be on time.  Don’t assume that because it is on-line, you can jump on at any time.
  • Stay professional… after all, you are still working
  • Be sure to Mute your call in so that you are not disturbing the meeting with distractions such as kids at home, or other phone calls, or conversations.
  • Find a quiet place in your home where you will not be disturbed
  • “Raise your hand” if you want to be included in the chat
  • While formal business attire may not be required, be sure to be business casual at least
  • If you just have to have that snack or meal while on your visual call, turn your camera off.  And we can hear you chewing on the tele-meeting, so please refrain or mute your phone
  • Profanity is still not a good idea (written or verbal)
  • Make sure that you test your lighting.  No sense in having a Virtual face-to-face meeting where no one can see you.

General advice from veteran workers-from-home (click here to see the full article from 83degrees media):

Create a space in your house that’s only for work, and keep work-related things confined to that area. This will help create the same kind of separation that a traditional office creates, and keep your work life from intruding on your home life.

Keep your routine, get up at the same time, shower, get dressed, act like you are still going into an office.

Make sure to leave your workspace for lunch and occasional breaks to prevent burnout.

Over Communicate. Not being in an office eliminates the “water cooler” talk so you get down to your work. Make sure you are making active contributions to your business, and overly communicating with your team when you are stepping away for lunch or to take care of other family members. The more you leave your teammates in the dark, the more they question what you may be doing.

Make sure you have a good microphone and an extra light on your face when doing video calls. Good quality sound and visuals make a world of difference when communicating through a teleconference medium.

Be accountable. One of the biggest problems with working from home for most people is that it can be too easy to get distracted by food, TV, laundry, household chores, kids, and even taking naps. If you find yourself easily distracted, it may help to schedule regular check-in times daily or sometimes twice a day. Check-ins really help the motivation, the productivity, and keeping things moving in the right direction. Agile in Tampa has this down with their daily stand-up stories.

When you start working from home, have a chat with anyone else that lives with you about what that means. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re not working. Have upfront conversations with your spouse or roommates about expectations during the workday. While you can take advantage of the flexibility, this isn’t a time to double up on chores on top of the workload. Have everyone agree to pretend that you’re out of the house for the day, to avoid conflicts that might arise from you being present, but not engaged in housework.

Some tech tools to help your new situation:

Use Loom, a plug-in that for Google Chrome that takes short recordings and sends links to people. One of the things I find in trying to explain things to people is that sometimes it helps to create a short video of yourself talking or of what’s on your screen, which can be replayed multiple times.

Try Nimbus Note for screenshots and notes.

Check out Rambox. You can put FB messenger, hangouts, Whatsapp, Keep, Slack, etc. all in one box with tabs.

Chrome profiles: Keep your business stuff separate from your personal stuff or the kids’ stuff.

Coming soon: an online marketplace where anyone who finds themselves working remotely can find additional tips or share your knowledge. Here is a link Get Remote Ready.