The Work-From-Home Ministry
Have you been tasked to bring your work home due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic?
For some, working from home is not a new concept as many employers in the last decade have welcomed the idea of teleworking due to the benefits for both the employees and the company. According to FlexJobs, over 4.7 million Americans either worked remotely or telecommuted at least half-time by 2018, doubling the number of those who had done so just ten years earlier. Moreover, remote work has grown by 44% in the last five years, as reported by Careers Wiki.
At Harvest Media Ministry, our staff is either setup to work from home or are full time remote positions. Because of the nature of our work and through the aid of technology, we generally don’t need to be in the same building to work collaboratively with each other or with our clients.
During this time, employers worldwide are encouraging or requiring people to work from home. That’s why we thought it’d be a good opportunity to share some of the things we’ve learned over the years adapting and finessing our individual work-from-home lifestyles as well as our team efforts.
1. Set Office Hours
Just as you know when to arrive at the office and when it’s time to leave, it’s also important to keep a work schedule when working from home. Not only will your coworkers and clients, patrons, or donors know when is the best time to reach you, but it will also allow you to work a routine into your work day. Even if the classic model of nine-to-five doesn’t suit you well, it’s important to block out the time of day that you will be working.
2. Have a Designated Office Space
Chances are by now you have figured out a healthy work-life balance. Typically, this balance is kept by having a clear divide on the time you spend between the two. Working from home sometimes poses a challenge to this separation because it is all done under the same roof. That is why it is important to have a space in your home that is designated as your workspace. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t leave this space during your work day, but it does help keep you from distractions when everything you need is in one place.
3. Keep Distractions to a Minimum
For many, our cell phones can be a distraction no matter where we’re working. Having access to games, social media, and other content while working can be detrimental to your productivity, and this may be worse when working from home because you’re the only one holding yourself accountable. If you find that your cell phone is distracting you, keep it in another room while you are working at your designated office space. If you don’t already use a time tracker, consider using one that pings you or reminds you if you have been idle for some time. We use and like Harvest App (link) but there are many others that you can use on your desktop, laptop, or cell phone for productivity.
4. Give Yourself a Break or Two
Depending on the length of your work day, it is important to schedule your breaks and take them. Give yourself adequate time during the day to get up and walk away from the computer screen and phone. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seems to be the standard for full-time U.S. employees, but adjust this as you feel necessary and include it in your daily routine schedule.
5. Socialize and Stay Connected
Depending on your personality type, you may find that you will miss the constant interaction you have with coworkers and the community within the office. During social distancing or mandated quarantine, it may not be an option to get out and socialize, but there are still ways to stay connected with your team. While scheduling your online team meetings, be sure to allow time for employees to talk about things aside from work. For us, we “go around the table” and discuss any prayer requests or praise reports and we make time to chat about our personal lives. It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need and be more proactive about nurturing relationships.
6. Take Sick Days
Being able to work from home doesn’t necessarily mean you should be working if you’re sick. Part of the reason to stay home is to keep the virus from spreading, but you should also take the appropriate amount of time to rest your body and mind if you do come down with something. Keep in mind that sometimes it’s best to take the time off to get better so that you can be your most productive self in the long run.
7. Set Ground Rules
If you are working from home and your spouse, kids, or anyone else living with you are also home, it’s good to establish some ground rules with them. Make sure everyone is aware of your office hours and be clear about needing your space to get work done. If you have kids at home while schools are closed, make sure you establish a routine for them that complements your schedule between working hours and breaks. If your spouse is also working from home, try to coordinate your work schedules so both of you won’t be locked into a meeting at the same time. Be sure to communicate your needs and expectations with everyone at home.
If working from home is new for you, be sure to leave some wiggle-room in your plan to be the most productive. Sometimes, what has worked for others may not work well for you. Be positive and intentional with what you are seeking to achieve with your ministry, and adjust accordingly. Be prepared to feel some frustration, as with anything new, but use that energy to figure out a solution to the problem at hand.
Do you have any tips to share about successfully working from home? Let us know!
We know that not all industries lend themselves to the ability of teleworking or telecommuting. If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule and more than likely cannot work from home. If this is you, we want you to know that we truly appreciate and commend you for what you are doing during these trying times. Our organization is here to help.
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About the Author
Karen Flores is a content creator specializing in digital communications and marketing. She began her career in video production in 2007, combining her love for performing arts, digital photography, and creative writing and subsequently discovering her passion for filmmaking. Her formal education includes a BA in Film & Television and an AAS in Digital Film Arts. She has been serving ministries at Harvest Media Ministry since 2013.