Working Remotely while "Second Shifting"

Updated: Aug 15

Evolve with us everyday! Gain tips from a like-minded community of women on how to stay centered, connected and strong during this unprecedented time. The Evolve platform offers multiple channels for you to recharge, continue to grow and have a positive distraction from the news of the day. Our special sauce is collective reinvention - and in our pivot to remote community and training, we’re reinventing alongside you in real time!

It’s the first week of the new home! For many of us, this means working remotely (often in close quarters with partners doing the same!), while kids are learning online (and pets are barking?)! As we write this, Judy has school age children at home who need help with adjusting to learning online and Linda has adult children returning from college who will need to reintegrate back into the household. With all of their laundry.

Women who work - remotely or on site, paid or volunteer - face a “second shift” later in the day. Whether it’s childcare, eldercare, or household responsibilities (shared or not), women often schedule their lives around these other roles. This is even more true during the current health crisis where women are trying to stay focused on their work while also attending to their care-related responsibilities.

Picture making lunch, slacking a co-worker and teaching your nine year old how to log onto zoom. Not an easy feat! Adjusting to the new normal, with work + life + school intertwined, coupled with the general anxiety of the health crisis is enough to drive any of us insane.

But it’s early days and we need to be patient and find ways to stay strong and focused. Evolve is here for you! Here’s what is helping us to stay grounded, accept change and be practical about what it will take to get through each day in one piece:

Breathe: We hold our breath when we are anxious. Sometimes when we’re working Linda will realize she’s been so focused that she’s forgetting to breathe! The first thing we need to do when we wake up is to do a deep balloon breath- breathe through our nose and expand our abdomen and then breathe out. If nothing else, breathing helps to release anxiety in the body that we hold without even realizing.

Set daily intentions: Evolve believes creating intentions helps shape not only the outcomes of our work (those are goals) but how work and life actually happen. During this time of transition, create intentions for how you want to be such as patient, open, empathic, generous with the people with whom you work and live. Return to that intention when times get frustrating which will inevitably happen (especially as the novelty of being at home together wears off).

Make a daily schedule: When working remotely or from home, it’s easy to get lost in the kitchen with ALL the snacks! Or to clean all the surfaces in the kitchen instead of emailing a new colleague for a phone or video chat. If you make a daily schedule with time blocks (exercise, cook, email, post to social media, spend time with partners, children, talk to friends and check in) there is more of a chance you’ll do it. We stick to things more often when we write them down.

Carve out your own work space: Even if you are in tight quarters right now, it’s important to have a space of your own. Maybe it’s the corner of the kitchen table. Plant your laptop there and try and keep things that inspire you nearby - a plant, a notebook, a picture, a personal mantra. Anything that makes you feel calm, centered and focused.

Stay active: Being active can energize your work life now and boost your immune system. It also helps to have exercise during your day to give you mental focus. Now is the time to try out those yoga, pilates and HIIT apps that you’ve wanted to but didn’t make time for.

Delegate to others in your household: You kids are home and they will be seeing in real time how you are trying to manage it all -- running a restaurant, a workspace and in some cases a school! Enlist your children to be on board and take on more household responsibilities. It’s a way to role model that we all have to pitch in and take on some of the “second shift” work. It will also leave your kids and partner with new lifelong habits :)

Keep a Win book: Delight in what’s positive in the situation. How can you reframe where we are now to see the crack of light in the darkness that we are in for your career? A disruptive situation can uncover new opportunities. Maybe you slow down. Maybe you take a course online. Maybe you say no to a role that no longer serves you. For example, in our work lives this situation has opened the door for Evolve to create virtual offerings and connect with women across the country. Jot down three things that you feel positive about everyday. It will lift your spirits and give you a sense of how you strong you are and that you can evolve -- and adapt to change

Reconnect: Now more than ever, Linda and I are reconnecting with women in our community to check in. We are also getting back in touch with our own support systems and networks as we adapt Evolve. Send your friends and colleagues an email, text asking them how they are doing. Reach out to friends and colleagues you know that might have a hard time coping due to being in between jobs, fearing job loss, or living alone and working freelance. Also reach out to women you consider professional mentors (or friends who have good career advice) and help them brainstorm ways to stay engaged in their work and also gain some ideas for yourself!

Breathe to end your day: Find a way to end the “work day” and transition into your evening with a ritual. If it’s not breathing, what can you do to signal to yourself that your “work: for the day is over? Here’s a tip: keep a list of what you consider to be your “work” vs your other “jobs” and what you do to unwind that is fun (what’s neither work nor a job). Commit to doing one thing from your fun list at the end of the day.

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