The way fundraising professionals work has changed in a matter of weeks.
While there have been plenty of tips shared recently, let’s do a quick recap on some reminders for us working from home during these unique times.
This can be a great work alternative for many, transforming your home office into an efficient, personal non-profit organization can pose issues that can derail your effectiveness on the job. Let’s review 10 helpful tips to help you navigate the transition and set yourself up for a work/life balance you can stick to during the current social distancing and beyond.
1. Bring Your Non-Profit Office Routine Home with You
Stay on task by keeping the same work routines while working from home. This will help you stay focus and efficient. Get up, get dressed, and make a commitment to be at your desk at the same time every day.
2. Assess Your Obstacles
A home is not typically designed to be a full-time office, so expect a few challenges as you go throughout your day. Planning ahead can help eliminate many of them before they become disruptive. Keep note of when you are expecting visitors, or if children will be in the house. Do you work better in a busy environment? Try turning on a podcast or the radio to mimic the white noise of a busy office.
3. Set Expectations with Your Colleagues
Don’t skip a beat when it comes to completing your projects when you can’t meet with your team, volunteers or donors. Establish a plan early on to keep the workflow moving and meet regularly with them to check in on the progress. Conference calls and free online meetings, like JoinMe, Zoom, Webex, and GoToMeeting, are great ways to get the whole team together.
4. Find a Dedicated Workspace
A disorganized desk is a stumbling block that leads to a disorganized mind. Fortunately, since many of us work on easily transportable laptops we can create a similar workspace at home, or anywhere our work might take us. Keep supplies, like printer ink, pens, and paper on hand so you won’t have to search when you need them quickly.
5. Create Obstacles to Social Media
Social media is good at bringing people together, but it can be a constant distraction for people, too. Eliminate the temptation to chat by making it harder to access those accounts. Log out of them prior to beginning your workday and stick to specific time periods when you can access them.
6. Work Ahead
Everyone’s routine has had to adjust to this new situation and many people will struggle initially. Don’t let that be you. Prepare for any possible slowdowns by committing to work hard to stay ahead. Not only will this help you complete your work, but you’ll also become known as a reliable person to turn to in times of crisis.
7. Set Time for Breaks
You need to take breaks during your workday but without the natural interruptions you get to have in an office, it’s easy to get sucked into hours and hours of sitting at a desk. Make a goal to set aside time to take a walk outside, have a cup of coffee with your spouse, or throw the ball around with your kid every day. Or for those who deal with a mid-day energy slump, schedule time to take a walk outside or a short nap. Twenty minutes is sufficient to get back the energy you’re lacking.
8. Set Expectations with Your Family
One of the most frustrating things about working from home are the constant interruptions your well-intentioned family cause throughout your day. You need to set rules that everyone can live with. If you often conduct business over the phone, set rules that will help to keep the noise levels down. If you need a specific length of time to get into the work, plan that out and create a schedule that you can hang outside your closed door.
Assess your needs, then prioritize the rules that are most important to helping you get the job done.
9. Prepare Ahead for Your Next Day
One of the most helpful things you can do to set you on the path to a great day is to prepare the night before. Make a list of things you want to accomplish, get the items you need ready to go and review your schedule to make sure you are aware of the phone calls and meetings you’ll need to make throughout the day. This will set you up to get right to work with few distractions prior to sitting down at the desk.
10. Establish a Designated Finishing Time
When Friday comes around and you are a few hours from ending your work week the temptation to end your day early is strong. Getting your routine set early on, and sticking to it, will keep you from going down that slippery slope. Keep your designated finishing time religiously and if you need help staying committed try cutting your workday short on Friday afternoon to reward yourself for a week of 8-hour, or 10-hour, or 12-hour days! Is there really an 8-hour workday in the non-profit world?