As businesses and organizations nationwide attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, employees may find themselves working from home for the first time in their career.
But for Tim and Tracy Robinson, co-owners of Moodus Media, that’s just everyday life.
The Robinsons operate the digital marketing agency from their home in Falls, providing digital advertising, social media management, film and video production, graphic design and web design services to clients.
Tim had worked remotely in the past, but it was a significant adjustment for Tracy when she joined last April, who formerly worked for Keystone Community Resources.
Knowing the challenges of transitioning to a home work life, the couple shared their biggest tips, including sticking to a routine.
“Even though we work at home, we have a defined schedule and try to work 9-5,” Tim said.
Outside of those hours, they try not to do anything work related, and their business phone goes to voicemail at 5 p.m.
“You have to set that boundary for your clients and your own well being,” he said. “It’s hard to resist that urge to work all the time at first.”
This can be especially challenging when your workspace intertwines with your living space. The Robinsons have converted a room in their home dedicated to Moodus Media.
Maintaining communication with your team is also key for working remote operations.
The Robinsons have other employees who work remotely, and they stay in touch often to ensure everyone is on the same page with projects since they’re not working together in the same space.
They also reminded home workers to find ways to get out of the house when possible.
“Cabin fever is always a problem,” Tim said. “There is an advantage of working from home, but man, you do miss going out and being out of the house.”
Luckily, working from home may provide more flexibility for some people. The Robinsons enjoy having the ability to take a break from their workday to grab lunch (or with the shutdown of non-life-sustaining businesses, grab takeout) or take a walk outside.
“You have to find something to break up the day,” he said. “Cabin fever is the hardest to adjust to. It will always be there.”
The Robinsons have two children at home in cyber school, so the mandate temporarily closing all schools in Pennsylvania has not impacted the family in that regard. Their children, ages 10 and 14, remain on their own schedule as well as they complete their schoolwork at home.
A mutual respect allows everyone in the home to complete their work. For instance, Tim and Tracy know when their children have a test and cannot be interrupted, while the children remain aware of when their parents are on important conference calls.
Gina Suydam, president of the Wyoming County Chamber of
Commerce, also has years of experience working from home. Her main advice for employees doing it for the first time is to not be too hard on themselves.
“You may not be able to work a 9-5 schedule
from home, especially with children home,” she said. “You may not be able to work at full capacity from home.”