Even though we continue to provide our regular services during regular business hours, P1 Group has temporarily closed offices for those personnel not deemed “essential” in compliance with government and state COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
Some of us have jobs that allow us to work remotely with very little change to our actual work. But for most of us, we still face the very big difference of not reporting to an office, seeing our co-workers face-to-face, and the routine that goes with actually working on site.
For Jerry King, Senior Mechanical Estimator in our Lawrence, KS, facility, keeping the company’s success top-of-mind helps him stay motivated.
“I try to keep in mind there are others depending on me to get work done so the company stays solvent and we all stay employed,” Jerry said.
“My grandkids are next door, so when they come around I let them know I am working and will have to do things with them later. If they just want a little love, I take the time to hug them and hear their thoughts then get back to the task at hand.”
Sometimes, knowing you’re needed is the best medicine. Las Vegas Project Engineer Liz Ferguson checks in with the foremen to stay focused.
“I find that staying in the same mindset and not disrupting my normal routine keeps me focused,” Liz said. “Checking in with the foremen each day helps as well. They know I’m readily available and the daily interaction helps me mentally.”
If you have a wandering attention span while working online, Senior Controls Engineer Justin Foster at P1 Group’s Lenexa, KS, headquarters recommends extensions that can help you reduce use of time-wasting social media sites.
“My preferred option is LeechBlock, which has extensions for both Chrome and Firefox,” Justin said. “It allows you to set custom time ranges and decide what sites to block within those ranges. You can also set a limit of how long you may browse those sites before it blocks you.”
Project Coordinator Roxanne Sturgeon makes sure her team gets a personal touch each day, sending pictures from home along with humorous or motivational quotes.
"I try to to send some sort of greeting with a picture, quotes, just something to touch base with my entire team each day," Roxanne said.
Here are some more ways P1 Group associates stay motivated and on-track while working at home.
“Set ground rules with the people in your space. Designate a room as a make-shift office with natural light. Try to avoid working from the couch or recliner as well. Schedule breaks and take breaks in their entirety. Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour.” –Brad Dorrell, Safety Specialist
“With three grade-school-age children, it’s all about organization and scheduling. My wife and I have developed a plan around who will be working with which child at what time. It’s a work in progress as we’re trying to learn all the online programs are kids using.” – Eric Affolter, Senior Project Manager
Staying aligned with the company culture while working remotely helps with the morale. Sending memes to coworkers, chatting on the phone, “water cooler talk”, checking in to see what others are working on. Taking the time to keep connections and relationships is important and extremely valuable through this. –Jennifer Morris, Operations Coordinator
“Take the opportunity to call more customers and associates. They are struggling with the home-bound work environment too and will welcome the chance to hear from you. Get a Bluetooth headset to improve your conference calls, be respectful of your family or housemates, and above all, be patient.” –Glenn Shain, Vice President
“I start the morning almost the same as I did, only I get an hour extra each morning, and I get to wear shorts. Both of those are great motivation for me! Not having to commute gives me extra time I didn’t have before which allows more time to also help out around the house.” – Ted Thompson, Senior VDC Specialist-Sheet Metal
“I like to get up at my normal time, get dressed (ish) and get right to work. Without the commute time, I can dive in a little earlier than I normally would and ease into my day. By the time most others are online, I’m warmed up.” –Victoria Hoffman, Marketing Manager
“Create a regular routine but also make sure to take breaks. Take a little stroll outside, get some fresh air and take a much-needed breather. Email, call or FaceTime/Zoom with your coworkers, after all they are family too. I think it’s important to communicate with the people you physically spend almost every day with, even if it’s just to check in and say “hi!” –Misty McConnell, Project Coordinator
“Take it one hour at a time. As things change fast and closures are happening, do what you can in the short term. Have a plan that is flexible and make sure dates for bids and projects are updated frequently.” –Cliff Pray, Project Manager
“I have found that getting up and getting ready for work as if I was going to the office has helped get me focused and ready to go in the mornings, as opposed to rolling out of bed and starting to work in my pajamas.” –Beth Martens, Marketing Proposal Specialist
“We have a daily team update call. This helps me get into the work mindset and ready for my day.” -Shannon Boer, Project Coordinator
Senior Project Manager Rick Ellis shared an article written by a relative that reminds us we’re human when we allow the humanizing elements in that are now part of our day.
“I really like the idea that kid and pet distractions are welcome,” Rick said. “Over the last week, kids and pets have made unplanned appearances in most video meetings. Each incident has served to lighten the mood and humanize the format.”
And at the end of the day, we’re all in this together, supporting each other and our families in this “new normal”.