Staying productive during lockdown


We’ve been locked down in some form since March 12, 2020. It is times like these that I am thankful to already be working remotely, in that I don’t have the learning curve that so many others are experiencing today.

As we find ourselves isolated from each other, I thought it made sense for me to come back online and share what little I might have to offer. That is not to say I’m an expert in how to deal with such an unprecedented situation. But maybe my experience with remote work could provide some starting point for those suddenly thrown into the process.

Where to start?

You’re suddenly working from home. Your kids may be home and going through school remotely. There is no quality time available to truly learn your new tools. It’s frustrating.

My advice is to make a point to achieve proficiency initially in the core areas required to function in your role from home. A great way to accomplish this is to find someone from work and practice using your new tools. It won’t take as long as reading the manual or watching training videos. It’s likely your peers will know something unique, and you can piece together a workflow.


Start by creating a video conference call with a coworker. Share your screen. Try sharing only a specific window from your screen, such as presentation software or a spreadsheet, while not exposing your other open windows. Learn to control your microphone and camera. Mute yourself. Lead the meeting and mute everyone. Just experiment with features and you’ll quickly become familiar with things.

It’s very likely that you will feel removed from all of the files you accessed each day in the office. How do you find them now? Do they automatically map to your computer when you login remotely? Do you need special software to connect or has your company already handled this by providing you a computer to use at home?

Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse. Some of you will have no idea how to connect to your corporate network. If this is you please start here. Work with your IT department and solve this problem immediately. Discuss the rules of connecting remotely. Can you do this from a personal computer? If so, does your IT department have administrative rights to your personal system and data (you don’t want this)? I recommend using a company system if possible unless you are very familiar with the implications of your company’s network policies.

There’s a lot to consider, but focusing initially on getting connected, practicing with peers using meeting tools, and knowing where and how to access the resources you need to do your job are going to be key to being successful. The good news is that you will become proficient sooner than you think. Then you can become more capable with other aspects of working remotely now that you’ll have a solid foundation to work with.

You can do this! I wish you all the best!