BONUS | Heather Fletcher - Quick Tips for those New to Remote Work

March 25, 2020 | 13 Minutes

Heather Fletcher, GG, AJP, has a diverse background in Gemology, training, writing, creating, volunteering, and yoga. She has expertise in Colored Diamond Grading and runs a successful Etsy store of her own creations. She is currently the Candidate Manager for Mission Recruiting, LLC, where she has been working remotely since before it was necessary to do so across the globe. In this podcast, Heather joins Count Me in to share her insights into how one can stay sane and productive in this new frontier of required remote working! As IMA continues to offer various resources to help accounting and finance professionals further their careers, Count Me In further contributes with its bonus episodes focusing on excelling in this new business environment. Download and listen to Heather now so you can adapt some of her quick tips to becoming a more productive remote worker!

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: (00:05)
Hey everybody. Welcome back for another bonus episode of Count Me In. I'm your host Mitch Roshong. And today I'll be bringing you right up to another conversation on how to best manage working from home. This time Adam talked to Heather Fletcher, a freelancer and candidate manager who looks to offer some quick tips to help anyone who is new to working from home for another perspective that'll help you settle into today's new norm. Let's listen to the conversation now. 
Adam: (00:37)
So there's a lot of people who are finding themselves in an extended period of working from home. And, we wanted to reach out because, you know, you have a great article on LinkedIn and we just wanted to see, you know, do you have some tips on how people can be successful and kind of stay sane as they find themselves in this new world of probably having kids home from school and having to work full time and just trying to balance all those things. what's the advice that you can give them? 
Heather: (01:03)
Oh yeah, I mean, I feel like it definitely depends on what things are happening that are important for you. Like people with kids, obviously their type priority is figuring out how to juggle work and taking care of their kids at the same time. I've already seen people post articles on this as well. It seems like some of the best tips that are for almost everybody is to get yourself on a schedule. It's really easy to be like, well I can sleep in, I don't have to drive anywhere and deal with traffic and then all of a sudden you're just kind of lollygagging around the house until it's time to start working. So keeping to a regular schedule really is a big help on that one. I feel like that's probably one of the top tips I can give you, but it's also still really important to get a lot of sleep to take care of yourself. So you're keeping your immune system up, eating healthy instead of snacking all day cause you're at home. I really feel like planning your meals, if you already do that, keep doing that because you're going to find that as cool as it sounds to cook yourself a fresh breakfast, lunch or dinner, it takes time to set up, prep, cook, serve, and then eat those things. So if you've already got a few meals planned for you, it's going to help your day go by a little more smoothly without stressing about how long it's taking you to chop vegetables, that's for sure. 
Adam: (02:29)
And then if you're making food for other people as well as yourself, then it gets even more complicated. 
Heather: (02:33)
Exactly. Like, yeah, like people that with the kids, maybe your spouse is home at the same time too. Maybe your roommates are home. If that's the case, and you've got all those people home. Another tip I would like to share is to try and find a space that doesn't have all those people in it. Maybe a place that you can shut the door on those people for a short periods of time if you need to. Cause it's, it's really easy to be distracted if you're sitting in maybe the, maybe you're sitting in the dining room and your kids are watching TV in the living room and then maybe somebody else is in the kitchen doing stuff. So especially if you have to talk to other people, those distractions that are nearby, it really helped get you off course without even, you just don't even notice it until an hour has passed sometimes. 
Adam: (03:19)
Definitely. So it's talking about, speaking of talking with people and speaking with other people cause she coworkers or clients or whatever your, whatever your job is, what are some technologies or some tools that you've, you've learned to use over with your experience working from home? 
Heather: (03:35)
Oh yeah. Our company uses a specific one called Nextiva. That's going ti be a bigger program for a bigger company. Perhaps you might not be using that already, but Skype is super easy and it's free. So you can call anybody. That way. You can use video chat or not use video chat, whatever works best for you. you can still use your phones. You still need to keep in touch with people. Email is probably going to be one. People are going to just remember that communication gets a little more difficult when you're not face to face with somebody. So give a little leeway for the person that you're talking to. Give them the benefit of the doubt. If you maybe misunderstand what they have said cause it always makes sense to yourself when you're saying something. But sometimes from the other person's perspective it doesn't come out that way. So our first reaction can sometimes be defense or offense and give yourself just a little bit of leeway to call that person and clarify ahead of time before you react one way or the other. Because more often than not, it's just going to be a small misunderstanding that you can clear up with a quick phone call. 
Adam: (04:48)
Now as you give that example, I feel like there's a, I feel like there's a personal experience in that. You want to share a personal experience where the communication didn't go as well and you had to clear that up. 
Heather: (04:58)
I feel like, honest to goodness, it probably happens once a week for me. I have another coworker that I work with, she's got the same name as me and we talk a lot. We're really interfacing quite a bit, but every now and then I'll send her a message just thinking I'm sending her like a quick message and it will sound offensive on the other hand and I'll need to give her a call and apologize and let her know that's not what I meant. And then I've got her back 100%. Because when you start to let those like little seemingly trivial things slide, they build up a bit and the sooner you can clear up that misunderstanding, the sooner you're moving on with your day with a clear head and clear heart. 
Adam: (05:42)
Definitely, definitely. It's always good to get it out in the open right away and not let things fester because as human with friendships or with family, if you don't communicate clearly and then if the other person doesn't understand it quite well and you don't clear that up, you know that goes into 20 years of never talking to a sibling. 
Heather: (06:01)
Exactly. It's a big problem with text messages in general. I tell all my friends and family, the second your text messages bring up in emotion, stop and call because a text message is for like, yes, no thank you. I'll be there. Be there. This time when you start to get into these like quote unquote like deeper conversations that have meaning to them, you really need that tone to set the stage for what you're saying with somebody. 
Adam: (06:33)
Definitely. And it's even important to use something like a webcam because when you're saying something to somebody, you may not see their facial expressions and how they're looking. And so how has a webcam been important in your experience? 
Heather: (06:47)
A webcam has been really important, especially on my side of podcasting. When you're speaking to somebody like you and I are right now, it's really helpful to see their face, to see their happy reaction. Their less than happy reaction, they're confused, reaction, whatever it's going to be. So you just kind of giving yourself a leg up if you will, by allowing that video conferencing to happen. And I'm not saying you need to get dressed up, you don't have to do full makeup, put gel in your hair, anything like that. You just need to have your face on the camera and you're good to go. Don't stress about all those day to day appearance things that you stress otherwise unless of course you're at a certain level if you will. And perhaps you're speaking with a customer, then of course you want to, you know, judge it up a little bit.
Adam: (07:41)
So that we've discussed technologies, you know, how can, what are some tips of being a good team member when you're a good virtual team member because we know how to be a good team member. Where in the office together, you know, we can have conversations. You go see people say hi, what's a good way to be a good virtual team member? 
Heather: (07:57)
That's an excellent question. I really feel as though keeping in touch with your team members is going to help. If your team is using discord or Slack or maybe LinkedIn as their main search, go in there, respond to people like their posts. Make sure that you're asking questions when you need it. There's, it's really all you have to do is kind of respond. You don't even have to go out of your way cause folks are going to be looking, look into reach out at this point in time. Make sure you're there for them when they need it. And don't forget to give each other a call. Maybe you haven't talked to a coworker that you normally see on a daily basis and you just want to say what's up and see how it goes, how it's going. They're going to be in the same boat as you, so they're going to understand, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call, even if it's just to say what's up. but I definitely feel like biggest thing is to keep that communication line open. And like I mentioned previously, if you can also give each other the benefit of the doubt, like a hundred fold more than you normally would cause everybody's extra stress, nobody knows exactly how this is going to go. just give each other the benefit of the doubt and that's going to be really a huge thing to help each other when we're communicating in this new way and learning how to navigate this different system of work. 
Adam: (09:28)
That's such a great example. Like just today, I hadn't talk to one of my coworkers and so I said, Hey, let's do a video chat. And so we did a quick video chat and we just talked for 10 minutes and we actually didn't talk about work at all, but it was really great to see somebody else's face even for 10, 15 minutes just to say, Oh, Hey, you are still there and we can have a conversation. So I think that's some great advice. 
Heather: (09:50)
I love that. That's it. And that's, it's fun too. It kind of picks you up. Those little micro interactions keep your mood up throughout the day and they're going to keep your mood up in the virtual office as well if you keep doing them, even though you have to do them in a different manner. 
Adam: (10:05)
Definitely. It's like going by to your coworker's desk that you haven't seen in awhile and just talking to them for a few minutes and then walking back. It's, it's that same kind of feel. 
Heather: (10:14)
Exactly. Yeah, absolutely. 
Adam: (10:16)
All right, so we've given everybody some tips. We've talked about technologies, but everybody's still home. We're home working from home. How do you not go stir crazy? What are, what are some things, some self care tips you think, and we can give the listeners. 
Heather: (10:31)
Number one, don't stop exercising. Maybe your gym is closed and that's totally a bummer, but if you have the availability to walk outside your house and take a walk around the block, you would not believe how much. Five to 10 minutes of that vitamin D can help bring up your day. Take a walk around the block, walk up and down the stairs. Do a few minutes of yoga or meditation, call a friend. I mean, we can't hang out with her best friends in person right now, which means we need to be all that much more diligent in keeping in touch otherwise. So take a little break, call a family member, call a friend, something like that. And last but not least, if mental health is something you're concerned about, maybe you're not just going stir crazy. Maybe you need to see your doctor that you're not able to see right now. There are a lot of really cool mental health apps available right now. One I've even used personally is called Talkspace online therapy. You can actually talk to a doctor through video or just through text from this app. So if you don't have the ability to see the person you need to see, maybe this would be a good alternative for you. It's also a good place to find meditation apps, habit trackers, things to keep you on track while you're in this new environment that you're not used to. So utilize the technology that's out there for these kinds of things. Give it a Google search for whatever your issue happens to be. And I promise you you're going to find an app that can help you out with that. Well, Heather, I really appreciate you giving your insight and, from some of your experiences and coming on the podcast today. It's been a pleasure. Seriously. Thank you so much for inviting me on. 
Announcer: (12:13)
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