by Bri Huedepohl, DHSc, RT(R)
Director, Contract Services
03/26/20

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some form or fashion. From schools, hospitals, health providers and supply chain, to Congress and behind-the-scene workers providing delivery and cleaning services. Kids are home. Parents are home. Add pets to the mix and you have a whole circus to tame all while still managing your workload because yes, you are now being forced to work from home as well.

I’m proud to work for an organization that’s committed to serving our members; helping them perform at their best. In this time of upheaval and uncertainty, our thoughts go out to the caregivers on the front lines battling the virus.

There are also many individuals employed by or supporting the health systems who are now working from home to help keep the virus at bay. This is likely a new situation for many and, combined with concern for friends on the front lines of care, can make the transition to work from home even more chaotic.

So how can you reduce your work-from-home chaos?

Hold a household town hall to address the new environment.

While many Americans are now facing working from home for many weeks, schools are shut down forcing children to be homeschooled, and pets are excited to have people around all day. It’s time to hold a town hall with all household occupants to set expectations and boundaries. Consider assigning tasks or jobs to different family members. Change it up each week so they don’t get bored.

Define work hours and work zone.

Defining your work hours and work zone not only keeps yourself from working too many or too few hours but it provides a sense of control and balance in your defined work zone during your defined hours. It also keeps you focused on your work task and lowers your anxiety of trying to define what to do.

Be sure to set up and take breaks.

Force yourself to take lunch and timed breaks. It’s easy to just plow ahead to get work done. Ensure you are taking breaks so you can stay focused. It also gives you time to recharge and allows for anyone within your household to have that chance to “pester” you during those defined breaks.  

Set up an exercise regimen.

Stress is at an all-time high. COVID-19 is disrupting our everyday lives. We are being asked to self-quarantine, limit the size of our social groups, shelter in place, things we humans are not used to. After the computer has shut down, create a dedicated time to exercise. Get the whole household involved. Be creative. It doesn’t just have to be a walk or a jog, play tag, hide and go seek, kick the can. Get that heart rate up and help alleviate stress.

Turn off the noise, aka the TV, social media and connect.

Finally, take the time to turn off the noise. Limit your time spent on TV and social media. Keep in touch enough to know what’s going on in your area and then turn it off. Set up Zoom or FaceTime calls with your coworkers even if the conversation isn’t work-related. Some coworkers may not have a family at home so remember to schedule time to ensure no one feels isolated during this work-from-home period. If you lead a team, set up weekly calls to connect and check in.

I think this is only the beginning and we’ll be expected to work from home longer than we think. Don’t delay and get yourself organized to work from home today!

Wash your hands and be well.

About the author. In her role at Vizient, Bri Huedepohl is accountable for identifying strategic suppliers and initiatives that bring forth value in various forms to both acute and non-acute health care organizations. She uses her extensive experience in radiology and capital health care supply chain to lead a team of portfolio executives responsible for $97M in revenue associated with 75 medical capital supplier contracts. Huedepohl holds a doctorate in health sciences, with an emphasis in global health.