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Community Manager
Community Manager

Best Practices for Working Remotely

Now that many of us have now been instructed to work from home, we are challenged on how to be effective and efficient. 

  • Space; With my husband also working from home, I have had to find a place separate from him as our workstyles are very different. I have set up a small table in our family room near the sliding glass door, so that I get a lot of natural light and I can open it when it is warm enough. 
  • Staying Connected: My colleagues and I use a couple of tools to stay connected.  
    • Slack is great for instant messaging. And when i step away, i can still get messages on my phone or tablet. We can set up rooms and groups.
    • Video conferencing: To keep from feeling so isolated, many of my meetings are now video conferences. It seems silly, but it is nice to see people's faces when you are meeting with them now that we are not meeting in the office. 
  • Balance and limits: Generally, i like to work from about 7:30 -4pm, but in crunch time i will work later. Knowing that i have that flexibility, i will sometimes run an errand or see my PT in the middle of the day and then work a little longer. 

There are but a few ways i'm managing my remote work.  How are you doing this?  What are your experiences with working remotely? 

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7 Replies
New Contributor III

Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

Well, of course, having "flex time" is one of the advantages of working at home, for whatever reason. That's one reason people become consultants instead of working for a company. On the other hand, some people don't like the isolation of it, or the fact that you won't have shared resources, such as the company library,  so there are trade-offs. People have been doing this for a long time, and not only when there's an epidemic, so there's lots of information available. When  the situation calms down and we're allowed to congregate again, you might check your local public library; you'll find lots of books with titles like "How to become a Consultant", "How to start  a Home-based Business" and similar titles, that deal with all aspects of working at home and starting and running a home-based business. There will also be answers to questions you haven't even thought of to ask. You might also check the ACS website, and in general look on-line for similar information. Good luck!

Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

I just read this article Basics of the Six-Meter Commute by former ACS staffer Nancy McGuire. She has some good advice as well. 

New Contributor II

Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

C&EN hosted a Twitter chat series on #COVIDisruptions last week with Chemjobber, Jen Heemstra, Maria Gallardo-Williams, and Fay Lin. Some good tips came out of the individual chats on impact on employment (Chemjobber), impact on faculty (Jen Heemstra), transitioning to online teaching (Maria Gallardo-Williams), and grad student mental health (Fay Lin). Here are the links to the individual chats: 

Grad stress: 

Online teaching: Virtual teaching

Impact on faculty:

Impact on employment:

You can also search for the hashtag #COVIDisruption. Thanks, Jodi, for the suggestion I share this here!


Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

I appreciated so much of the advice from these chats last week...  Here is one of them:

Linda Wang_C&EN on Twitter: "Jen, how are you personally handling this all? it's a lot of changes in...  

Jen Heemstra @jenheemstra Mar 25
Replying to @l_wang_cen and @cenmag
Yes. Lots of changes. Lots. I'm finding that with combining family life and work life, I can get overwhelmed more easily. I'm learning to reset my expectations, adjusting some goals, and developing new coping strategies to compartmentalize when I'm overwhelmed.

Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

And another...

Linda Wang_C&EN on Twitter: "What has been your biggest challenge these last couple weeks? #COVIDisr... 

M Gallardo-Williams @Teachforaliving Mar 26
Replying to @l_wang_cen and @cenmag
Down time. I'm working from home and I want to keep on working. I'm forcing myself to shut down the computer at a reasonable time, or I will just keep going!

Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

And a third... for good measure

Linda Wang_C&EN on Twitter: "Any final thoughts or pieces of advice you'd like to share? #COVIDisrup... 

Fay Lin @xiaofei_lin Mar 27
Replying to @l_wang_cen and @cenmag
#COVIDisruption has challenged almost all aspects of our lives, and unfortunately we may run into people who are not supportive or consequences beyond our control.
One of my mantras: Be kind to yourself even if others are not during this difficult time

Re: Best Practices for Working Remotely

When I first started working remotely, other colleagues passed along the tip of being aware of the work style preferences of colleagues... a good tip under any circumstance, but particularly now!