Gephardt: Advice For Working At Home From A Telecommuting Veteran

Mar 30, 2020, 6:55 PM | Updated: 8:42 pm

OGDEN, Utah – Thousands of Utahns are working from home because of the COVID-19 outbreak, including much of the KSL staff.

For those not used to it, concentrating while working remotely can be challenging, to say the least.

Inside her garage in Ogden, Christina Miller works on the data side of corporate events and conferences: compiling numbers, leads, opportunity costs and so on.

“My best job description is probably as a data geek,” Miller joked. “I’m a geek translator.”

Miller said she’s been geek translating from home for well over a decade. Her first piece of advice to anyone new to telecommuting is to have a routine.

“Get up, take a shower, do a morning routine,” she recommended. “Don’t wear your pajamas all day. That’s probably the most critical part of all of it is finding some new routine that works for you.”

Include breaks in your routine and when you’re going to stop working for the day. Don’t keep the laptop on the nightstand. Answering emails at 4 a.m. is a no-no.

“That’s where the routine keeps structure, so you don’t like suddenly have your whole life become work, work, work and more work,” Miller said.

Miller said having a dedicated space for work can help parents manage that work-life balance easier. Or, at least make it clearer for the rest of the family.

“You can lock the door and say, ‘Stay out and leave me alone. I’m working right now,’” Miller said.

For her, music in the background helps her focus while the TV distracts. The opposite might be true for others while some may work better with no noise at all.

Telecommuter Christina Miller recommends getting noise-canceling headphones to help block distracting neighborhood noise.

“You are going to have to try it out and see what preferences you like,” she said. “But, it doesn’t take that long and you will find something that works really well.”

To help her stay on task, Miller is a believer in to-do lists. They don’t have to be anything fancy.

“I use the notepad and just write out my daily list and keep that going and see what I need to do,” she advised.

She also breaks her workday down into two-hour chunks.

“I try to focus in two-hour work spurts and so I’ll work on email for two hours, and then I’ll switch to a project for two hours and I take breaks in between those times,” Miller said. “So, that helps my brain focus for that two-hour amount of time so I’m not thinking I have to focus for an entire, eight-hour day.”

As part of that, she’ll turn off her email notifications.

“I do my email at a set time and do that very specifically so that I’m not being consumed by that bombardment of emails coming in with that pressure, ‘Oh, I’ve got to respond to that email!’” she explained. “Now, I control my workflow and what I am doing.”

And, a must for Miller: Make your workspace as enjoyable as possible.

“Surround yourself with things that make you feel calm. You have a lot more freedom in your office. So, that keeps me from getting overwhelmed…surrounding by things that you love and make you feel good,” Miller said. “All of that helps me be more content and stay motivated and not get distracted.”

Also, she said, be sure your home workspace is set up ergonomically so you’re not hurting yourself.

Having a decent, comfortable office chair will help you stay focused on your job and not your back pain.

Coronavirus Resources  

How Do I Prevent It?  

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick  
  • Avoid touching your face  
  • Stay home when you are sick  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash  
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.  

How To Get Help  

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.   

Additional Resources  

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

A rendering of a cell site simulator. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

Utah placed limits on police use of spy tech; Do they go far enough?  

For months, the KSL Investigators have been asking questions about spy technology law enforcement uses but doesn’t want to talk about. What exactly does the high-tech tool do, and what happens to your information if it gets caught up in a digital dragnet?
2 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Why you should stop using your work computers, phones for personal use

Many Utahns are still working from home, spending a lot of time on their work computers. That can make it easy to forget it's not a personal computer. But KSL's Matt Gephardt has three reasons why you should use your work computers for one thing — work.
2 days ago
fireworks injuries study...
Matt Gephardt

Study: More people need E.R. care after playing with fireworks

A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may throw a wet blanket on your 4th of July plans – or at least make you think about bringing a wet blanket with you just in case your family’s celebration adds to a troubling trend.
4 days ago
Peter Ingle talking to Matt Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Too risky to insure? Why your homeowner’s insurance could go up in smoke

There are good reasons for an insurance company to drop your homeowner’s coverage. But what happens when you’re dropped for something you have no control over? KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt went out to find: can they do that?
5 days ago
FILE - Thousand gather at the Utah State Capitol to support a woman's right to choose. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera

‘It was hastily passed’: Medical, legal experts raise concerns about Utah’s abortion trigger law

Senate Bill 174, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020, was crafted, in part, to send a message. Now, medical and legal experts are sounding alarm bells about how it will work in practice.
8 days ago
FILE - Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shopp...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Americans shy away from using credit cards abroad, missing out on best exchange rates

As COVID-19 wanes, travel agencies are seeing a massive spike in bookings as folks look to spread their wings and travel abroad.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Gephardt: Advice For Working At Home From A Telecommuting Veteran