Tips for Working Virtually

by Megan Hendricks, Executive Director, MBA CSEA

With the recent concern about COVID-19, many of our members are finding themselves working remotely. Here are some tips from MBA CSEA's Executive Director to help you minimize distractions while maximizing productivity.


In light of recent concerns regarding COVID-19, many of our member schools and employers are considering (or have already implemented) working from home. For some, this will be a relatively easy transition. Maybe they've done it before, or their work style lends itself well to working independently. For others, it may be quite an adjustment! 

As someone who has worked remotely for 10 years, I have experienced the ups as well as the downs.  Here are some tips to help minimize distractions and maximize productivity in your new environment.
  1. If possible, set up a home office. If you have a separate area within your house where you can set up your laptop and work items, all the better. If not, try to find a corner in a room that's only used for work purposes. This will go a long way in helping you feel like you're at work, as well as maintain important personal/professional balance.
  2. Get dressed for work every day. This may seem to negate one of the best things about working from home (working in your pajamas!), but it may help your productivity because you will feel more like you're going to work. It's also important if you're doing video meetings!
  3. Take breaks if/when you need to. Don't feel like you have to stay at your computer all day. I imagine you take breaks in the workplace, so it's no different when you're at home. Breaks are important to avoid burnout.
  4. Turn off distractions. Unless you are used to having multimedia distractions in the workplace (TV, radio, etc.), you might want to avoid those at home. Think about other distractions that you might not be doing consciously as well – like searching the Internet.
  5. Stick to your normal routine as much as you can. If you get coffee at a certain time, do that at home. If you go to the gym during your work day, find a way to work out at home. That goes for your work routine as well. If you usually spend a certain amount of time checking emails, working on projects, etc. stick to that process at home as much as possible.
  6. Engage with others virtually as much as you need to. Utilize video chat vs. phone or email if it will help you connect and feel closer to colleagues. When using video chat, be aware of the lighting around your work area. You may need to move a lamp or adjust your environment in another way to make sure you can be seen by your colleagues.
  7. Get out of the house if you can. A walk around your neighborhood - or even your yard – might help give you the breath of fresh air you need.
I hope these tips help you make the most of your hiatus from the workplace. Stay safe and healthy!