What a crazy time in history. Our telecom and data center industry has been quickly forced to support a world that has turned virtual overnight. Businesses now have to get up and running with virtual and secure networks quickly and adeptly, while maintaining the same if not better level of customer service. And yesterday’s office worker is today’s multi-tasking, at-home worker bee, diving into new systems, new training, and new rules of engagement– while trying to distract the kids long enough to be successful.

So now seems like a good time to talk about working remotely. Here at JSA, this isn’t our first rodeo. JSA has been 100% virtual for 15+ years, with team members spanning North America. So we’ve asked our JSA family to weigh in with some helpful tips to get us all quickly adjusted to our new remote reality. We hope you find these best practices helpful. Reach out at [email protected] if you want to learn more or to weigh in too.

Jaymie's Tip

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Jaymie's Tip

Ideally, find a: workspace with a door;  a reliable Internet connection; a trusted neighbor, friend or nearby family member that can take your kids/dogs in a quick pinch; a smartwatch that reminds you to get up and walk yourself;  a daily planner (yep the old school paper-based kind) where you can plan out each day’s to-dos – and cross the items off with true satisfaction; and an unbelievable work family who shares your dedication, creativity and self-motivation.

This quick pic of my personal work space features a few of my favorite things: 1. A CCO (Chief Canine Officer) 2. Water bottle 3. Tea in a Christmas mug (because why wait for a season of peace & hope)  4. Old-school journal for all my notes and lists 5. Blanket as I’m always cold 6. Plants for additional comfort, beauty and air quality and 7. Window for inspiration.  If you have a pic or list you want to share– comment below!

Dean's Tip

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Dean's Tip

Love the sound of your environment. Play music. Open windows. Fresh air, birds chirping and even the sound of outside traffic can be inspiring. Also, go ahead and splurge on a great desk chair. After spending dumb money on cheap chairs for years, I finally bought one that was made for the long run (Herman Miller). Also, house plants. 

Vanessa's Tip

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Vanessa's Tip

Working from home can be a challenge at times, but also very rewarding. You can get up early, do a review of your priority to-do list, scan all of those emails that popped into your inbox from the night before, and read the latest news – all while commuters are stuck in traffic.  It’s easy to get a head start on what’s important to tackle first. With the added flexibility though, it does takes some discipline. 

It’s also important to set up some parameters with your family to limit interruptions, so you get can in the ‘zone’ and drive results. In addition, I highly recommend to make sure to build an exercise routine into your day. This gets you out of the house for a bit, and is a fab way to clear your head, relieve some stress and re-center for the rest of the day. 

Karissa's Tip

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Karissa's Tip

Working from home productivity is all about drive, mindset and a lot of self-care! As you start your day – try to get in a few moments of silence, clearing your head through meditation, prayer or journaling. Put good foods into your body and before you get to that coffee, try sipping room temperature water with lemon in it to flush out toxins and refresh your mind and body. Before sitting down at your computer, check your to-do list/project list so it’s easier to stick to those tasks and keep a schedule for the day. Obviously, many other things will come up, but having that core list really helps! Also, be sure to schedule much-needed breaks where you can in your day – balance outdoor time/exercise with those social media breaks we all like to take, too. If your family is home with you, spend your break with them if you wish, but remind them that when you stick to your work schedule, you will have free, uninterrupted time in the evening to spend with them.  Drink lots of water throughout the day, and turn on the music! I find music keeps me energized to work, and I have even playlists with music designed to help with focus and concentration. Last, but not least, let the sunshine into your workspace!

Jeff's Tip

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Jeff's Tip

I’ve worked from home for over 25 years.  I have found that working in sweat pants and t-shirts isn’t always in the best interest of creating a productive day.  Although I may be comfortable, I’m not always at my best mentally. That’s why I found it important to “Dress for Success”.  For the most part, I put on a collared shirt, sometimes even a sport coat. Nice pants, fun socks and dress shoes. I find that it’s all about the mind set. If I had to go into an office I would have to dress business casual, so why not just play the part at home. It truly sets the tone for the entire day.

Carl's Tip

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Carl's Tip

Working from home indefinitely doesn’t mean an end to professionalism. Your career is still very much in progress, so you’ll want to continue to put your best foot forward. Stick with your usual morning routine – get up at the same time, get out of your pajamas and get ready to make your mark. Stick to your usual working hours and avoid carrying your work with you late into the evening. Take the extra time saved by not commuting to spend more time with family or on yourself learning new skills or exercising.

Sheetal's Tip

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Sheetal's Tip

Instead of remaining permanently in my dedicated office space, I move my desktop computer between several rooms of my home, spending a few weeks to a few months in each location. It helps to have, quite literally, a different point of view… and even helps change up the background during client and team calls!

Megan's Tip

Megan's Tip

Megan's Tip

One of the most valuable things I have learned while working from home is the power of walking away, taking five minutes to do something that will calm your mind, and coming back with a fresh perspective. We’re all human and there will always be something that frustrates us at work. For me, instead of reacting in a negative way, I will take five minutes to walk away and go say hello to my dog. Having that five minutes to decompress helps me come back to my desk with a fresh perspective and a calm mind, allowing me to react more positively and be more efficient! If only there were dogs at every office!

Kealey's Tip

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Kealey's Tip

I’m big on dedicated spaces for designated activities. I usually find that doing certain tasks in certain areas of my home helps me stay focused on whatever is important at the time. I’m fortunate enough to have a designated office at home but I give myself the freedom to move away from that space when it’s appropriate. I check my emails on my couch in the morning. While my couch is usually for hanging out with the family and Netflix, I find that the leisurely attitude that comes with that space helps me transition nicely into my workday. I take client calls and do most of my work-related items in my office because I tend to feel more disciplined and professional in that space. If I’m tasked with a writing project and need a change of scenery, I’ll move to the kitchen table or my outdoor patio if the weather is nice enough. Having a space where you only do work allows you to shut down at the end of the day and move into an area of your home where you don’t feel the need to work and you can enjoy your evening with family and friends! James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results” has excellent advice on creating habits that have immensely helped me!

Katie's Tip

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Katie's Tip

As someone who works from home, it’s important to not be sedentary all day. A workout regime, as well as consistently being active, is something that helps not only my body, but my mind. In a time where gyms are closed, look to online resources that provide home workouts that can supplement your gym time. Additionally, get outside! Go for a run, walk your dogs (or cats!) and enjoy that time to yourself.

Stefanie's Tip

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Stefanie's Tip

Working from home is truly a blessing. I’ve been doing it now for the last 6 years but for the “newbies” coming from an office environment in these crazy times, it can be a slight challenge. To begin, one must have sold internet connection, knowledge of tools like zoom or skype for connecting with co-workers and also a quiet, inspiring workspace.

I chose to set up my office in a back room that looks out at the mountain range here on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. After I wake up in the morning, look out my window and give thanks for the day, I go into the kitchen, turn on the Keurig and brew some green tea. After adding my manuka honey and lemon, I head back into my office and open my window and admire that heavenly view and remind myself how blessed I am to be able to work from home with an amazing team and not be confined to an office. For a moment, I pause and take it all in before cracking open my laptop to start the brand new day. Setting a daily routine is imperative for success!

Once the day is almost through, usually around 3pm since I begin at 6am HST, I like to air my brain out and step outside. I’ll either go play in the dirt (garden) or take a walk down my street to the local beach park where I can surf, paddleboard, or just admire the beautiful ocean. Working from home is truly a blessing – no commute, fewer disruptions, the ability to cook yourself yummy, healthy food for breakfast & lunch to power through the day, and most importantly, it gives you the most valuable thing, time. Working from home gives you time with loved ones, whether your partner, children or even your Labradoodle or pet rooster, something you’ll never get back if you were stuck in an office.

Terri's Tip

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Terri's Tip

Love your workspace! I have nice notebooks, candles, pen holders, plants. etc. I try to make it my own “retreat” space and constantly try and refresh it with little things that bring me joy.

Mary's Tip

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Mary's Tip

I had to find a separate designated space in my home to work. Somewhere with windows for natural light and fresh air is perfect if you can find it. I wanted to make sure I did not get in the habit of working on the sofa because then I would be on the sofa ALL DAY and night. It also helps to surround yourself with relaxing things — such as plants, yummy smelling candles, use a soft paint shade on your walls, and don’t forget to put pictures up of things/people you love or places you want to go.

Bri's Tip

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Bri's Tip

I have recently discovered a new tool to mute background noise during calls called krisp.ai. I no longer need to worry about my barking dogs!

Buffy's Tip

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Buffy's Tip

Create an environment that matches your style and personality!  Recently, I transformed a spare bedroom into a bright and peaceful workspace. Also, be sure that you are eating right and exercising.  Get out of your pajamas, and don’t overload on coffee.