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Jobs in the Time of Corona: Remote Work Tips & Tricks, Part 1: Before You Start & Setup Ideas

May 19, 2020
  • You can use sticky notes to create a system of reminders for working from home!
    photo by Luis Villasmil

This blog comes from a workshop that Career Services and Student Affairs presented in early May 2020 to assist students with ideas and information to keep in mind for telework. It is formatted like a LIST so it’s easy to look over. Part 2 will cover tips for during work, networking, and social aspects of working remotely.

More of an auditory learner? Email us for the hour-long video that goes into these topics and more in greater detail!

Questions? Email Holly Puckett hollypuckett@lclark.edu

AT THE START OF OR BEFORE WORK

  • Consider your office setup - what do you need to do your job? Do you have a door that closes, or are you working on your bed? Differentiate your work time by moving things around (a sign on your door, sitting the opposite direction on your bed from how you sleep) and try to make it comfortable yet separated from the rest of your life.
  • Communicate with your employer and your housemates what you need from them to succeed this summer.
  • Have a conversation about what the employer expects you to have on hand in your work-from-home space. Ideas to get you started:
    • Who will you talk to at the law firm about tech questions?
    • How will you access documents for assignments? Possible answers from the employer include: you will have remote access to our servers through a VPN, someone will email you what you need for assignments, or you will get a link to a cloud-based storage system for client files (dropbox, clio, etc.)
    • Are you planning to use your own laptop? Do you share the computer with others in your family or is it secure for private emails?
    • Password protect any devices that you might use to view sensitive information.
    • Designate a space for your work notes or physical papers that allows for confidentiality. A locked drawer would be best, but a folder that housemates know to avoid also works. Tell your employer if you have confidentiality concerns.
    • Will you be working multiple jobs this summer? Tell your employer so you can confirm that there are not any conflicts issues across the cases you will see from different employers.
    • Is your wifi strong or spotty?
  • Ask your employer their preferred communications style, including:
    • Frequency of communications: How often you should check in with them and update them on your status? Daily? Weekly at start or end of week?
    • Manner of communications: Text? Video chat? Email? Phone? A chat program like slack? (A combination of these is likely, depending on how detailed or complicated or urgent the communication is.)
  • Learn about and become competent in whatever systems your employer uses.
  • Follow your employer’s lead on document management and do not create your own online or cloud-based systems for documents. Do make your own plan for safely keeping your work documents, emails, voicemails in a separate location on your own computer so they are logically organized in a consistent, routine way (and easy to access and share with co-workers, including file naming).
  • Tracking billable time - if your employer doesn’t tell you how to do this, ask.
  • Confirm that your cell phone voice message is appropriate and professional.
  • Schedule Confirmation and ongoing updates:
    • Confirm employer’s start date and end date expectations
    • You can put your work hours in your email signature.
    • You can start a thread about your schedule where you send emails back and forth about hours worked and availability - or they may have a time system for you to use. Follow your employer’s lead.

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