Tips to Overcome Work From Home Challenges

April 28, 2020

Skt News Article April 2020 Featured Image Working From Home

For years, our customer service team has been working from home part-time, while other SKT employees, including payroll and billing, have been performing their duties exclusively from their home offices. Currently – due to the COVID-19 situation – most SKT employees have transitioned to full-time, remote work, and we know many customers in our service area have, as well. It’s a privilege to be able to work from home, and despite any issues we may run into, we all agree that the benefits outweigh the challenges.

“I would never have guessed 20 years ago that I could do my work from home.  Technology is the BEST!”  said Connie Fleming, SKT billing analyst.

Kathy Lowery agrees. As a customer service representative, she may be a familiar face if you have ever stopped into our office in Clearwater. Once the office closed to the public due to health concerns, Kathy went from being in the office full-time to 100 percent remote work.

“I feel blessed to be able to work from home and to have a great SKT family,” Kathy said.

Working from home can be a challenge at first, so we asked our employees to share some tips from their experiences. We hope they will be helpful and insightful:

Creating a Comfortable, Inviting Workspace

Making the space your own is key, our staff say. One of the perks of working from home is that it’s (ideally) a quiet environment and there are less distractions. Set up your space with this in mind and don’t forget to think about the lighting, temperature, potential noises, etc. Do you want your space close to the kitchen to make snacks and drink refills easily accessible? Is there a bathroom nearby? Is there a comfortable spot for your furry friend to curl up while you work?  

“Sometimes, when my window is open, callers may hear my rooster crow; and now I have a canary who sings his heart out down in the kitchen. But I don’t think anyone minds! On the wall of my office is a picture of Dorothy and her friends from the Wizard of Oz that my granddaughter colored for me before she left with her family to live in Germany for a season. ‘There’s no place like home.’”  — Cathleen Smothers, Marketing Assistant 

No Dress Code

Some of us question whether or not this is really a challenge. Nevertheless, what works for one person, may not work for another. Connie Fleming, who works from home full-time normally, likes to get up and get dressed like she’s going into the office. It helps her feel more professional and productive. For Diana, it’s all about staying warm and comfortable.  

I have to dress extra warm since my office is in the basement. My favorite part of working from home is getting to wear my favorite pair of super comfy exercise pants and a cozy sweatshirt. ” 😊 — Diana Weidman, Customer Service Representative 

Whatever you decide, just keep in mind what you have in store for the day, and make sure you’re prepared to jump on a video call, if necessary.  

Sticking to a Schedule  

When you’re on a roll working on a project, it can be easy to lose track of time.  

I tend to get in the zone when I’m at home and end up working through lunch or working late. Sometimes if I’m really busy, I’ll set an alarm to remind myself to take a break.”  — Megan Harper, SKT Marketing Manager 

Sitting for too long can be bad for your health. Be sure to get up, move around, stretch, or stick your head outside for a few minutes to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Our staff love to take a walk during their lunch hour on a nice day. And don’t forget to drink water!  

Staying Focused with Family at Home

With the stay-at-home order in place and schools closed, many people are sharing workspace with a spouse or children, which can pose new challenges.  

My family knows that my office is off limits during work hours. They know to only come in if it is an emergency. If they do come in for something they know to stop and listen to see if I am on the phone before they start talking to me. Because my kids are all older, this is much easier with us all doing work and school in the same house. I would imagine it would be much more difficult with younger children at home.”  — Michelle Snell, Customer Service Business Representative 

Unexpected Visitors

Whether it’s a delivery or neighbor stopping by, knocks on the door can be a distraction.  

“The biggest challenge for me is people coming to the door and ringing the doorbell. Recently (just this week) I’ve put a note on my front door letting people know that I work from home, so I may not be able to come to the door. For those I’m expecting to stop by, they know to notify me first, so I can watch for them and will wait a few minutes if necessary. For UPS, FedEx, and my mailman, they simply leave any packages on the porch and leave.”  — Linda Rausch, Customer Service Representative  

Avoiding Other Distractions 

The dishes are in the sink, the laundry needs to be switched over, and when was the last time I dusted?! It would be easy to get sucked into my household chores. Take the extra time you’re getting without the commute to take care of any distractions before your shift starts, our staff suggest. 

It can be tempting to try and do things around the house that need to be finished, however I make sure I stay on track by setting myself a list of things I need to get done at work to avoid the temptation.  — Jacob Hamilton, Customer Service Specialist 

Missing Co-Workers and Face-to-Face Conversations 

Especially when working from home full-time, it can get a little lonely. It’s easy to get that human connection with the help of technology.  

To overcome some of this, I can chat with them using Microsoft Teams, Video Chat for meetings, or give them a quick call on the phone to see how they are doing.  — Suzanne Webb, Marketing Assistant 

Whatever your circumstances, we are all going through a confusing and stressful time while adapting to changes and a new norm. We wish you and your families all the best. We couldn’t have said it better than SKT Customer Service Specialist Jacob Hamilton: Stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and stay home as much as possible everyone!