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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

USG COVID-19 Resources for Alumni

Working from home during COVID-19

Section updated: March 20, 2020

These are uncertain and anxious times we are all facing as a result of COVID-19. With social distancing, self-quarantining and many businesses encouraging employees to tele-work, thousands of Clayton State alumni are now spending more time at home.

But even at home, work has to continue. We asked alumni who normally work from home to provide some advice for those new to this professional dynamic and we received some great feedback.

Starting the day right is critical. Kandis Webb ’06, an account manager for Amazon, as well as a resume writer and career coach, encouraged keeping your same morning routine.

However, she said, “With no commute, you have time to do something else.” She recommends to do something that brings you happiness or peace, such as working out or meditating.

You should also prepare yourself physically, not just mentally, like it’s a regular work day. Fred Hicks ’99, president and chief executive officer of The Hicks Evaluation Group, LLC, notes it’s important to get dressed as if you’re going into an office.

The most common responses we received was to set up a designated work space within your home and setting a schedule with to-do lists.

“Creating a workspace in your home will help increase productivity and tell your brain ‘it’s time to work,’” suggested Jasmine Chinnery ’13, senior associate of education for Junior Achievement of Georgia. Others noted your workspace should be separate from your bedroom or living space to further encourage work and limit distractions.

Technology will be important while tele-working. You might think about upgrading your Wi-Fi, says Brigitte Collier ’14, who works in the IT field for Intercontinental Hotels Group. Further, consider asking your manager to approve you for VPN access, which will ensure you will have access to all documents and programs you would normally have available to you at the office.

Aaron Panlilio ’16, information technology infrastructure support at ArcherPoint, also endorses using group collaboration communication software, such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. He says, “Using a webcam during calls helps add a sense of personality.” Webb also notes that this digital connection with team members can keep morale high.

Chinnery also notes to keep track of the accomplishments you are making while at home. “It’s important to keep your supervisors informed of the progress of different projects…so they know you are being productive,” she says.

At the same time, Webb shares you don’t want to over-extend yourself out of a fear people won’t think you are actually working while at home. Rob Rogers ’14, corporate relations manager at The Georgia Institute of Technology, addresses this by saying, “No one is going to penalize you if you stepped away to put a load of clothes in the wash.”

Finally, working from home is important for our physical health, but we also have to consider our mental health. A popular recommendation was to get out of the house for a walk.

Chase Moore, vice president of University Advancement and External Affairs at Clayton State, tells the story of living in Washington, D.C. during the heightened tensions of 9/11.

It’s vital he says “to find that space outdoors, in nature, to breathe deeply and find your sense of calm. Wherever you live, make the time and find the space where you can feel the sun on your skin and remember this too shall pass.”

These are trying times for all of us. Many of our alumni in health care are not working from home; in fact, they are on the front lines of this crisis. We owe it to them to heed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health officials and practice social distancing. The Alumni Association is here to help in any way we can. You can continue to follow updates from Clayton State. Please also remember to follow these CDC guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.