Working from home? Here’s what’s working for you

April 23, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Across Michigan Medicine, hundreds of employees are working night and day on the front lines of patient care to protect the community from COVID-19.

But thousands of others are playing their part in support roles — carrying out vital work that impacts patient care, education or research, and working from home to help flatten the curve and keep themselves and their families safe.

For those at home, everything seems new. New routines, new habits, new work areas and, yes, new challenges. There are often child care or family obligations and it’s vital that employees practice self-care during these trying times.

So what’s working for those who are working from home? Headlines reached out to employees who are carrying out their obligations remotely to find out!

Here’s a sampling of the tips they could provide:

Angie Maloney, administrative associate, hematology/oncology

Working from home was a bit of an adjustment in the beginning. So I get up at the same time as I would for work, get dressed and go to my “office.” My work space is set up in a room that doesn’t infringe on my family’s space and it’s a place where I can shut it off at 4:30 p.m. every day. Having a place where I can “leave” is important to home/work life. You need to be able to keep work as separate as possible, especially since we can’t leave the house. I enjoy working from home, but I’m ready to be back amongst my coworkers and the hospital!

Richard Page, patient registration specialist

For me, it’s all about the mindset of being “at work” despite being at home — and that takes discipline. I may get up a bit later than normal but I always keep in mind that I’m accountable to my employer. It’s a challenge for me because I miss seeing my coworkers and people around the hospital, but I have my music playing, which helps me stay focused and create the quality of work that is needed.

Kathryn Shindeldecker, MHSA, senior advisor, Quality Department

I have two girls, ages 7 and 4. My husband and I are both balancing working from home and watching them. So we have created a schedule for them, and one of the best things we did was include a morning and afternoon snack in the schedule. It stops all the “I’m hungry” complaints and helps us get our work done!

Cathy Hulett, R.N., care manager

Working from home has allowed me more time with my patients, finding out their barriers to progressive healing and to ensure their success going forward. I find that at home I have fewer distractions and interruptions. I also prep for the week as if I were going to work, which helps a lot. For instance, I prepare all of my food for the week on Sundays so I can just grab my lunch each morning. That may not seem essential, but it means I am relaxed, prepared, organized and able to clearly focus on my patients.

Grace Wu, M.S., managing director, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute

I have a kindergartener and a preschooler. Working from home has definitely been a challenge as it’s hard to be productive with two little ones around! What helps is keeping a schedule, so the kids know when to expect what. My husband and I take turns with the kids so we can both get work done. I also take time to do virtual yoga, sometimes incorporating the kids!

Katie Grzyb, MHSA, continuous improvement specialist, internal medicine

My team volunteered to join the efforts of the Michigan Medicine Telehealth Team in virtually training our providers on video visits, and that has meant working some different hours than I am used to. So with getting up extra early during the week and providing trainings on the weekends, I’ve found it extremely important to take breaks during the day to sit on my porch, walk my neighborhood, stretch and rest my eyes from prolonged screen time.  It is so important to take care of your physical and mental health right now. Recognize what you need and address how you’re feeling! Stay connected (virtually) to others and continue to practice healthy habits.

Working from home has been challenging — but nothing compared to our fearless staff and leaders at the frontlines. Thank you to all the Michigan Medicine faculty and staff going in to take care of our patients — you are our heroes!