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Opinion: Remote work a challenge even for young professionals

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When COVID-19 hit, transitioning to working from home should have been easy for a tech-savvy, adaptable young professional, right? Not exactly.

I didn’t have much experience working remotely full time, so when it became my new reality, I reached out to some of my fellow YPs for a few best practices. After a week of working from home, here are the tips that have helped me the most.

Stay connected with technology and have an office space.
Springfield Contractors Association Executive Director Megan Short shared, “For those of us who live alone and now work alone, a sense of community is even more important. Scheduling regular conference calls and video chats helps you still feel connected. Having a space set aside for work and developing a routine also helps you acclimate to separate ‘work time’ and ‘home time.’”

Make a routine and keep it.
Get up at the same time and get ready. Stay motivated and ready to work. Springfield Little Theatre Marketing Director Megan Buchbinder admitted that working from home is harder than she expected. “I wake up at the same time every day and do my same routine as if I was leaving to go to work. I shower and fix my hair and put on (minimal) makeup and even though I wear yoga pants every day, I put a nice-ish top on and look a little put together,” she said.

Find a home office with a view and take breaks outdoors.
Amie Davis, senior human resource specialist with the city of Springfield, said the best decision she made was choosing an office space with a nice view of the outdoors. With spring arriving, she also pointed out there are countless opportunities to take a break and explore the outdoors while still practicing social distancing. “It will give you vitamin D and fresh air – feels less isolating,” Davis said.

Give yourself some grace.
We are all dealing with a lot of change and anxiety, so give yourself grace and time to figure it out. Evangel University Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Fund Hector Cruz advised, “It’s OK to admit we aren’t the masters of moving to remote work environments or tech requirements either. Give extra grace to your co-workers and be ready to request grace too. We’re all learning how to do this together. Let’s lead with a positive attitude.”

I’m grateful to these YPs for generously sharing their tips with me. It reminded me that SGF’s young professionals have very intentionally nurtured strong connections with one another and that will be an asset getting us through this challenging time successfully.

Katie Jones is the talent retention coordinator for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at kjones@springfieldchamber.com.

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