by Cecilio Martinez
April 22, 2020
Hi! My name is Cecilio Martinez. I am the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (AAMPO) GIS Manager. I have been working for the AAMPO for almost 17 years. I live approximately 47 miles from the office. On a good day, it takes me a little over an hour to get to work. I drive a 2009 Nissan Xterra with over 260,000 well-deserved miles. We do a lot of family trips to national and state parks.
Several years back, before telecommuting was cool, the Alamo Area MPO implemented a Telework Policy in a progressive move to offer employees with an amenity to not only save on gas but help reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and vehicle miles traveled. I have been telecommuting once a week for the past nine years. Now, with the nation’s current quarantine, I am joined by my fellow coworkers in a world of telecommuting. Here are some tips to help your telecommuting experience.
Tip 1: Create Your Own Workspace
Your ability to make home feel like work is important for your psyche and productivity. If you don’t have an extra room to make an office, then set aside a space in your house that is not a common area to make your office space. I also sometimes use noise cancelling headphones and music to focus my thoughts on work. It helps muffle the distracting sounds of home life and helps me stay focused in my workspace.
Tip 2: Develop a Morning Ritual
You probably have rituals at work – a morning cup of coffee, browsing the news, checking in with your coworker. Apply those at home too. Go to bed when you usually would and make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep. Get up when you are supposed to, shower, brush your teeth and change your clothes. Have breakfast and report to your workspace at your usual time. Developing a routine will help it feel like work.
Tip 3: No White Board, No Problem
At the office, I had a huge white board where I would write down everything I had to work on. At home, it’s old school with a sheet of paper and pen. Making a list will help you to stay focused on the goals you want to achieve that day.
Tip 4: Communication is KEY!
At work, instead of picking up the phone or sending an email, I would walk to that person’s office and ask them the question in-person. I guess this is another old school mannerism of mine; I feel that more can be communicated in person. Even at home, I find this to be true. In this new quarantine world, some amazing solutions like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams have proven to be necessary to communicate with the MPO team.
Tip 5: Take a Break
The guilt of working from home can be overwhelming. You may feel awkward because you have the luxury of being at home on the workday. However, you are working an 8-hour day and you must take breaks to step back and stay productive. Try a walk around the neighborhood and then come back to work.
These are but a few tips that may help your telecommuting experience. Telecommuting is not for everyone; some people need the physical office experience to stay sane. Today, however, what was looked at as an amenity has become essential. Be safe and stay healthy, my friends!
If you would like to learn more about the Alamo Commutes program, please contact Lily Lowder at firstname.lastname@example.org.