This past week, AINS implemented a company-wide telework policy to protect employees and business operations from the spread of COVID-19. Although the situation is temporary, AINS remains committed to facilitating the best possible work environment for the sustained productivity and well-being of our team. We reached out to AINS employees to describe their telework experience and they responded with a variety of tips, suggestions, advantages, and disadvantages regarding remote work.
While it’s impossible to recreate the work environment of the office, AINS has allowed employees to take home whatever equipment is necessary to ease their transition. “My desk space is smaller, but I’m using a laptop now, so it’s okay,” says Software Developer Jared Brower.
To maintain a positive workspace, many employees have opted to set up their desk near windows with plenty of natural light. “My desk at home is surrounded by windows and plants,” says Software Implementation Specialist Emily Lindsay. “I find myself very awake and alert near the natural sunlight.” Additionally, some employees burn candles and diffusers to maintain a calming environment. “I have a diffuser permeating the air with scents of eucalyptus and peppermint,” says Software Implementation Specialist Juan Gonzalez.
Schedule and Breaks
Many employees emphasize that maintaining a good schedule with productive breaks is key to preventing burnout and stress. “When I log off for the day, I log off completely,” notes Technical Writing Supervisor John Gatewood. “Work takes place in my office and during office hours.” Most employees adhere to their normal office hours, though there are some exceptions: “The reality is that [work] usually extends before and past the ‘listed times,’” says Juan.
Many employees take breaks at midday to get out of the house and stretch. “At lunchtime,” says Product Manager Will Fitzgerald, “I will either take a quick walk or do some exercising in the family room.” Proposal and Marketing Manager Kyle Bishop walks his dog around the neighborhood after lunch, adding that the exercise “helps keep the blood moving to stay productive and prevent the ‘afternoon slump.’”
Advantages and Disadvantages
Several teammates named the increased interaction with their pets and children as a plus. “When I need a quick break during the day, I will give my cat a treat. Needless to say, Cheezit is loving telework,” says Will.
Business Analyst Hodd Brown named the added family time as both an advantage and a disadvantage. “It is nice to spend more time with the family and help them understand more of what I do, but I also miss my coworkers,” says Hodd. “[My kids] are a lively bunch—they like to gossip and tell on each other, and they like to talk about movies and sports while I’m reminding them to do their school work. I found it better to sit outside and talk to my coworkers while they destroy the house.”
Some employees have noted difficulties working in a more confined space. “It has been a little difficult transforming a one bedroom apartment into a workspace for both me and my boyfriend, who takes sales calls all day,” says Product Manager Sophia Chu. Others, however, are happy about the change: “I’ve enjoyed the quieter environment, having more time for breakfast, and finally getting use out of my coffee machine,” says Jared.
Suggestions and Must-Haves
Having the right beverage available is a must-have for many employees. “I always have three beverages available: a caffeine source, water, and a wildcard—like seltzer,” says John. “With headphones on and some tea next to me, I’m able to remain as productive as I am in the office,” notes Sophia. Other must-haves include positive desktop ornaments: “I have a bright orange torii gate I brought back from Japan and a Jasmine plant on the desk as a reminder of keeping an open mind and a free spirit,” says Juan.
Some even suggest wearing office attire during work hours. “It helps to still dress for work every day so I can look forward to changing into pajamas when it’s all over,” says John. Hodd notes that dressing up for work helps to maintain the “routine that [he’s] had for 20 years.”
No two telework environments are the same, and techniques that work for one employee might not work for another. The solution is to employ a variety of techniques to keep oneself alert and on-task. While it is unwise to perform many extracurricular activities in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the team is still encouraged to get fresh air and exercise, so long as they practice social distancing and wash their hands.
As in everything, communication is also key. “My team does regular Zoom calls to check in with each other, making sure we’re all doing okay and are on top of our assignments,” says Kyle. “It helps to have that person-to-person connection while teleworking.”
If you would like to read the employee testimonials, please click here.