Working From Home During COVID-19

The world has shifted. A health crisis is on our doorstep and unknown territory lies ahead. We’re told not to panic. Instead, it’s suggested we arm ourselves with factual, relevant information, shut down the news after a bit, and try to focus on things we can do to practice distancing, self-care and to enjoy productive, happy days.

If you’re one of the millions of workers finding yourself in a tizzy to create a make-shift office from your dining room table with files in a tote bag and a messy kitchen nearby, you are not alone. For those still blessed with sustained employment amid COVID, at-home or remote working might be new, but it doesn’t have to be magazine-style perfect. Let’s take a peek at how to create a successful remote working environment – whether your dining room table, a spare bedroom, unfinished basement, or patio corner. Check out these tips:

  • Designate a space. Claim it, set it up, and prepare your work space so you’re ready to go. Hang your nameplate if you need to, but let your at-home peeps know this is your kingdom. For greater comfort, put out some fresh flowers, light a candle, and throw on your favorite playlist or podcast. Make your area “you.”
  • Make sure you’re connected. You’ll need important tools to connect with your company’s network: Zoom or other conferencing platforms; calendars; data files; cloud storage; etc. – waiting until you need it could be disappointing if things don’t work or connect correctly.
  • Maintain a routine. Go ahead and “get ready for work.” If you hit the gym at 6 a.m., modify your workout at home or take it outside, but keep the same schedule. Changing from nighttime pajamas to daytime pajamas 20 minutes before it’s ‘go time’ might not yield the most effective workday.
  • Take breaks. Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve lunch, a mid-day walk, or a break. Stepping away from your computer for a little fresh air is necessary and can help with perspective and focus.
  • Close the kitchen. This is my personal challenge. You don’t snack all day at work, you certainly don’t need to at home. Designate lunch and snack breaks and then step away from the refrigerator.
  • Connect with people. Cats are cute and dogs are loyal coworkers, but you need to connect with other humans – besides your family. Schedule a weekly virtual meeting or happy hour with your team. Conduct a department staff meeting so everyone can connect. Speaking of connections…peep the virtual beauties we created for you below – don’t let yourself be a potato!

With the increase in virtual meetings on Zoom, we created a host of backgrounds for those who love Merriam to download and use when conducting online meetings. We hope you enjoy these beautiful images of Merriam and we encourage you to invite others to come visit when the time is right.

For the complete collection of Merriam Zoom virtual backgrounds, click here.

Quick instructions for downloading and using images in Zoom (must be done on desktop, not mobile):

  1. Click link to Google Drive; select image you prefer and click the three stacked dots (right upper corner); choose download. Image should save to your downloads folder.
  2. Open Zoom on desktop and sign-in. Click on settings (gear beneath your profile pic).
  3. Select virtual background and then click the + sign next to choose virtual background to add images (select the folder where you saved images from Google). Select the image of your choice and click open. Once the image appears in the box, click the X in the upper right corner. The image you selected should now be your virtual background on Zoom.

    Tip: if there is text on your image, deselect “mirror my image” so the text does not appear in reverse.

Happy zooming–be safe out there!