Association pros share their remote work environments and new routines as they find normalcy in a workday shaken up by COVID-19.
Work rituals don’t look like they once did—and they may not look the same for a while. Despite that, association executives far and wide are making do with their new work-from-home remote environments, and many are even thriving.
We recently asked Associations Now readers to tell us how they’ve created new comfort zones and routines away from the office. (Some even shared photos!) Check it out:
Executive Director, Western Arts Alliance
Early every morning, I take a 2- to 3-mile walk around the neighborhood before sitting down at my desk around 8. After lunch, I head back out for 20-30 minutes. The walks are restorative, allowing me to decompress, breathe, and re-center. Plus, it’s spring in Oregon and so beautiful out right now.
Assistant Director for Membership, New York State Council of School Superintendents
I have an office in the basement, and I was always hesitant to use it. It’s kind of cold, I can’t hear what’s going on with the kids, but with the addition of a space heater I am gladly “getting away from it all,” and now I find this space almost a safe haven. I can focus on the work I need to get done while checking in with my colleagues and members to keep those connections alive. We might not be able to see each other face to face, but keeping connections alive right now is what will get us through this.
Executive Director, North Carolina Retired School Personnel
Keeping a schedule. I get up, walk the dog, shower, get dressed, check on the kids’ school schedule, and then walk down to my makeshift office in our guest room. I have my wall calendar hanging on the closet doors and track deadlines, reminders, and projects my staff may be working on. I set my alarms for the many Zoom calls and webinars, as well as breaks to get up and walk around the neighborhood, provide homework help, and prepare meals.
Senior Coordinator, Event Services, SmithBucklin
A balance between seeing the outside world and having a focused view is key. The weather alone can have such an impact on daily attitude, and the light provided can make or break video calling. Rain or shine, light or dark, however, the view of just a bit of nature (urban nature or leafy foliage) connects my small workspace to the greater picture that life does go on outside of my cubicle. Remembering things do progress and we will have a world to return to helps motivate and move forward now that my daily in-cube visual of my goals isn’t an option.
Tobin Conley, CAE
Strategic Consultant, Technology Management, DelCor Technology Solutions
Two things are essential for me to have a productive home office. First, I need desk space (which is why I commandeered the dining room table). Second, I need natural light—this not only helps keep me from looking like I’m from witness protection in Zoom meetings, it also reminds me that there is still a big beautiful world out there, and someday (who knows when) I’ll rejoin it.
Lisa Junker, CAE
Director, Publications, Communications, and Marketing, Entomological Society of America
I’ve definitely found that I need a way to mark the shift between “work” and “home” at the end of the day—my commute used to give me time to downshift, and now that’s gone. Exercise of some kind seems to do the trick nicely—even a short walk lets me discharge some stress energy and get into a more relaxed frame of mind.
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