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Updated: March 17, 2020

Working from home these days? Maine experts share useful tips

Stock photo showing a work station at home with a laptop, phone, notebook and coffee cup Courtesy/ With more Mainers working from home because of the coronavirus crisis, Mainebiz asked some communications professionals for advice on staying and feeling connected.

With so many Mainers now working from home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, some may have trouble adjusting.

For practical tips on how to stay focused and connected, Mainebiz asked some communications, public relations and marketing professionals for their thoughts.

Here's what they recommend for individuals and businesses.

Marnie Grumbach portrait
Courtesy / Marnie Grumbach
Marnie Grumbach is the founder of Fluent IMC, an integrated marketing communications agency.

Marnie Grumbach, Fluent IMC: "Resist the urge to cancel or postpone internal creativity sessions. A simple tip is to schedule weekly creativity videoconference sessions on your team's calendar beginning this week for the foreseeable future. Prioritize this time as part of your team's new routine." 

Michelle Philbrook

Michelle Philbrook, Mishmash: "Use the Pomodoro method [pioneered by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s]: Pick a task, set a timer for 25 minutes, and don’t let yourself do anything else. No snacks. No checking email or your phone. There is nothing in your email that can’t wait 25 minutes. Then take a 5-minute break (if you want to) and do it all again. You’ll be amazed at how fast time flies and how much you’ll get done."

Linda Varrell, Broadreach Public Relations: "Set up a work routine. Figure out when your most productive times are, use those to ‘chunk time’ to get big things done. Set frequent break times away from your screen and desk to walk outside, get a snack, drink water, walk your dog. It’s important even if the breaks are really short. Don’t try to multitask — over time it’s not worth it.”

Gillian Britt portrait
Gillian Britt

Gillian Britt, gBritt PR and Eat Drink Lucky newsletter:  "Working from home does not mean you are alone. Staying connected while practicing social distancing does make it trickier, however. I find Slack, text and phone calls are great for staying in touch when you can't see someone face to face. It looks like meetings over a cup of coffee will have to be virtual for the time being, so I'll be doing more with FaceTime and WhatsApp. I guess I better clean off my desk and pay attention to what's in the background."

Laurel Getz portrait
Laurel Getz

Laurel Getz, PR consultant: "Be proactive about staying in touch. Avoid long silences or leaving your employer to wonder what you're working on. Send a status update on a current project, an interesting relevant article, a thoughtful recommendation or an idea to enhance business.

"Use technology to stay connected and increase productivity. Video calls are easy and accessible by using platforms like Zoom, BlueJeans, Skype or even FaceTime. Office conversations and quick brainstorms can easily happen by using chat services like Slack, GChat, Microsoft Teams or even WhatsApp, which is a great free option. These platforms enable remote workers to stay connected with clients and collaborate with colleagues in-real time." 

Shannon Kinney portrait
Shannon Kinney

Shannon Kinney, Dream Local Digital: "This is not the time to let your marketing channels go dark, getting the word out about what you do and staying top of mind with your customers is more important now than ever. If you can be a resource for them during this challenging time, do so. Let them know what to expect and how you are doing."

Nancy Marshall, Marshall Communications: "Thank goodness for cell phones, social media and the internet with all its tools to keep us connected either via Facebook Live, Zoom, GoToMeeting or any of the other services. I am a big advocate of letter writing (yes, using an envelope and a stamp), and I believe that sending a letter is a tangible and enduring way to show someone you care about them.

Nancy Marshall
Provided file photo
Nancy Marshall, founder and CEO of Marshall Communications.

"The real magic in human relationships is when people are face to face in the same space (there are actual happiness chemicals that pass between humans like oxytocin and serotonin) but in the absence of those meetings, we need to make an effort to stay connected in other ways.

"I personally plan to read more books, go for walks outside, organize my desk and file cabinets, and continue recording my weekly podcasts."

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March 17, 2020
This is great advice for everyone working from home during the coronavirus crisis, as it is being called. As a long time member of the virtual assistant community, it's nice to read so many helpful tips for all the people temporarily transitioning into our virtual world. Thank you Michelle Philbrook for your mention of the Pomodoro method. It's a great tool. - Jaylene Gonyea, Owner Business Assist
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