Good Morning! March 30, 2020, and today Granger Whitelaw discusses working from home – and how to do It right. It’s not always as easy as you think, so grab your coffee and let’s go!
Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability.
Listen to the full episode at the link here:
Granger Whitelaw: Good morning. This is Granger Whitelaw with a little just talks Monday morning, March 30th, 2020 just about through the month of March, heading into April. another milestone for the year, making it through another month. I would say time flies generally. and it does really fly generally for me and I think you’re most of us here in Saigon, in Vietnam and Southeast Asia with the tremendous growth we’ve been seeing. But this last month and certainly the last couple of weeks has been really feeling slow and dragging with all the changes and stresses that we’ve all been experiencing with business and trying to restructure, how we do business and how we manage our personal lives as well. So today on Monday morning coffee, I would like to talk about, working from home, staying healthy and happy, which is obviously very important to do and how you do that, can be different for different people. not just work but your mental health as well. So let’s talk, you may know most of this stuff. certainly you’ll figure it out through trial and error, but very important when you’re working from home. And I have worked at home, and remotely cause I travel a lot for the better part of 25 years.
Granger Whitelaw: It’s very important to set up your work environment and make it, a business type of environment as much as possible so that you can focus, you know, a lot of people, say, Oh I can work from home and it’s no problem and well will they try to do it and they find it’s not as easy because there’s so many distractions. So your working environment and your equipment is a very important thing to consider and do properly. Get a good chair. that gives you some ergonomic support. I stand up. Desk is fine. Two of you like to work at a standup desk. It gives you comfort and less stress on your body. This is what we’re looking for. Your knees and your back.
Granger Whitelaw: I use an ergonomic keyboard if you can. And a big screen, a 24 inch screen, 27 inch screen, 22 inch screen, anything you can where you can really have a great view of what you’re looking at. It’s easier on your eyes as well. It keeps you focused. don’t sit at the kitchen table and work off your laptop. really any table like that. Try to set a desk environment. if you have to work off of a kitchen table, which I can understand because I’ve had to do it before or a dining room table really is better. where you could have some isolation, put a monitor on there, click your laptop into the monitor. So you really have a big screen, a even a big screen. TV works great and it’s great for conferencing. So video conferencing, which we’ve spoken about earlier and we’ll touch on today and don’t work in the kitchen.
Granger Whitelaw: There is food around and obviously it’s a high traffic environment, for kids and family to go to. So you really want to be away from everything. I’ll tell you a funny story or two. I, a good friend of mine actually has been in quarantine for the last week or so, and, they have a little boy, a couple of years old who is high energy and really high energy as young boys can be. So he is a lawyer and has had to get up in the morning, put his coat and tie on, so to speak. although he doesn’t wear ties, but, and really say goodbye. Daddy’s leaving and walks out the front door to the hallway. Now mind you, they’re on quarantine. not their family specifically, but the building, unfortunately. So, he does this, the wife, takes the boy back into the bedroom, puts him in the bath while my friend comes back into his house, goes into the master bedroom, locks the door and works for the day without being able to really speak on the phone.
Granger Whitelaw: And if he needs to speak on the phone, he needs to tell his wife, Hey, I gotta take a phone call and, and she will distract him, the boy, and go out on the balcony and close the door and play with him. for a while until he can come and get off the phone again. So again, a clear work environment he has established for himself. I have another friend who working on the third floor of his house and has, takes his daughter’s bedroom and converts it to an office during the day hours while she and her, his son and wife are downstairs and that’s his space during the day. And that’s his work environment. So setting boundaries with your kids, your partner, your roommates, doesn’t mean that you’re always available to run errands or do things. It means you have to go to work and you need to set those boundaries.
Granger Whitelaw: What an interesting time we live in. So if you’re going to do videos, and you’re going to do conference calls, make sure you have proper light on you and to be looking to see you. I’ve been on some conference calls. We’re sure they’re on the video, but it’s, their whole body is dark. You can’t see them. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not, but think about that. I think about how people are going to see you, especially your clients. You want to be very available to them. Bright, aware. certainly know where there’s a coffee shop or something nearby. It has wifi and well that’s a problem for us here. Now Vietnam because coffee shops and restaurants are closed. So if you go down, you go down and perhaps you need to tether off of your phone to get, some wifi service. I wouldn’t recommend doing video off your tethered phone, but certainly you can do a phone call, or maybe listening in on the call without video
Granger Whitelaw: and for that, make sure that you have zoom or WebEx, or any meaning in some type of, video conferencing, UberConference for phone calls that we’ve talked about this extensively before. So I don’t need to repeat those. And of course you have your WhatsApp and your Slack and other ways you can text and communicate if you can’t get on the call. The other great thing I would recommend is learning how to do videos, products like loom and others where you can actually do a little video and show people, what you’re working on if you need to do with a video interactive capability as opposed to just typing text, look at those services. It’s really helpful to communicate an idea when you can actually show the video and make sure you take breaks. so two that set up a daily routine.
Granger Whitelaw: This is really crucial. when you are trying to ensure you’re being productive and comfortable working at home, it’s important to take every day and set up some type of organization, right So wake up, get dressed, brush your teeth, get dressed, put some clothes on cause you’re not at home, right You’re at the office so you want to kind of look good, feel good. My mom always told me when I was younger, you know, put a tie on, stand up straight and you will act differently, right It just changes you when you kind of get dressed up and dress well. I always tease people about wearing blue jeans to work, right Pet peeve of mine, you know, it’s not casual, it’s work and you should dress appropriately. So, but you know, if Jean does your thing, Jean does your thing and make a task list, be prepared for your day, figure out what you’re going to do because again, you’re at home, you can get distracted, follow that task list during the day and you will get things done.
Granger Whitelaw: And obviously it makes sure that you create some healthy rich teams for proper eating. take breaks, go out and walk around for 20 minutes, a half an hour. You’ve got to keep your health up when you’re working at home. It’s really important not only to eat well, but to exercise. stretch. Keep that mental health up. Super important. Getting out of the house or the office during the day is essential for that. You know, do some errands and think about things you haven’t done for a long time possibly. you know, a project that you’ve left behind. It’s not all about staying home and watching Netflix, right That can be a really big distraction. Got to, don’t feel guilty about taking breaks and doing those things, but have a designated work space and really stay focused.
Granger Whitelaw: Graduate Laufer Lotus talks. I hope I have given you something to think about today. It’s Monday morning, March 30th, a little late here, getting going for the weekend, but it had a couple of technical difficulties. I hope you have a wonderful week. Clearly. try to social distance. Keep your hands washed. I work from home. Or if you’re at the office, be two or three meters apart, no more than 10 people. the government has been very clear about that. So let’s try to stop this thing in its tracks. Vietnam, let’s be an example to the world. I know we can do it. We’ll show you all a great week. I’ll speak you on Friday. Until then, Granger Whitelaw for The Lotus Talks – have a great week.