Photo by Nelly Antoniadou on Unsplash

This is a difficult moment in the world; but now with vaccines on the way, hopefully things are looking up. Previously I shared my experiences cooking and innovation during the pandemic.  Six months later, we are still working from home. This time I thought I’d explore what I’ve learned while working from home during the global pandemic.

For one, digital fluency has increased. We have all learned how to host online virtual “lunch & learns.”  I have hosted many virtual L & Ls on solid-liquid filtration, process drying, and critical applications. Contact me if you are interested in an online program. I also recorded myself giving a presentation I had hoped to give live at AICHE in Fall 2020.

All this virtual meeting helped me learn how to focus the conversation. My skills have improved in asking critical questions leading to optimized decision-making. These conversations force everyone to focus on the task at hand, be clear about objectives, and dig deep to get the answers.

Finally, I have learned to read eyes. In the past, when speaking with clients you could see everyone’s body language. This could help determine the direction of the meeting. Now, with video calls you have to pay more attention to eyes: How are they gazing, where are they looking, are they blinking, etc. All this provides clues about the interaction’s success.   

Working from Home & The Day Ahead

Time management is also something that I’ve been improving on daily. Even though I’m not going into the office, I try to look at the week and block out meetings, real work, and daily exercising/yoga. I’ve started using the Pomodoro Technique. This time management method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses a timer (real or virtual) to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Knowing that I am only working on that item for a particular amount of time has improved my focus and increased my productivity.

I’ve also taken to finishing the day by wrapping up certain tasks, writing down the unfinished tasks, and filling in my work plan which keeps tracks of my hours and habits. This helps me create a boundary between work and my personal life since I’m no longer driving home and unwinding. Of course, my five minutes of yoga breathing/meditation at the work day’s end also helps.  

I’m sharing all of this in the hopes it might help you too as we continue to work remotely. Stay safe. I look forward to traveling and meeting with you again. Contact me if I can help with your individual objectives and unique challenges.