WFH | Make working remotely a little easier with these tips from your colleagues

WFH | Make working remotely a little easier with these tips from your colleagues

By University Communications
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Ameé Hennig, media content manager in the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, says taking daily walks with her children "sets everything up for a GOOD day. Lots of sunshine and the activity really gets the kids in a good place." (Photo courtesy of Ameé Hennig)
Ameé Hennig, media content manager in the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, says taking daily walks with her children "sets everything up for a GOOD day. Lots of sunshine and the activity really gets the kids in a good place." (Photo courtesy of Ameé Hennig)
Consider borrowing your office chair rather sitting in a dining table chair all day, every day, says Simmons Buntin, marketing and communications manager for the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. (Photo courtesy of Simmons Buntin)
Consider borrowing your office chair rather sitting in a dining table chair all day, every day, says Simmons Buntin, marketing and communications manager for the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. (Photo courtesy of Simmons Buntin)
Mark J. Sammons, outreach coordinator in the Department of Economics' Office of Economic Education, recommends working near a window. "The natural light and fresh air buoy the spirits," he writes. This garden is the view from his new "office." (Photo courtesy of Mark J. Sammons)
Mark J. Sammons, outreach coordinator in the Department of Economics' Office of Economic Education, recommends working near a window. "The natural light and fresh air buoy the spirits," he writes. This garden is the view from his new "office." (Photo courtesy of Mark J. Sammons)

Many University employees are on Week Four of working from home, and some of us have gotten pretty good at it.

For those who are still trying to figure it out, Lo Que Pasa collected tips from employees across the University.

This list covers everything from handy technological tools to ideas for keeping the kids busy and more.

Have a tip you'd like to share? Send it to Kyle Mittan at mittank@arizona.edu.


Carolyn Smith Casertano
Assistant Professor of Practice
Department of Communication

  • Establish a routine and take frequent breaks to get up and stretch, take a walk or listen to music.
  • Manage distractions by keeping your home office clean and clutter-free (no piles of laundry!).
  • If you have kids at home, put color-coded papers on your office door (green to knock and come in, yellow to wait and red to signify you cannot be disturbed!) so they understand expectations.

Cathi Duncan Folkers
Senior Program Coordinator
Steward Observatory

Here is a pro tip for couples suddenly working from home together: Get yourselves an imaginary co-worker to blame things on. In our house, Carol keeps leaving dirty dishes and paperwork all over the place and we really don't know what to do with her.

Kirsten Ball
Research Specialist
Department of Environmental Science

I try to get up early and shower and dress as if I'm going to work; it helps with the mindset. There are so many positive things to be gleaned from the COVID-19 situation, not the least of which is important to me as a climate change researcher – the Earth is able to take a big breath in!!

Simmons Buntin
Marketing and Communications Manager
College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

Don't tell the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture facilities manager, but I went in on a weekend and stole my office chair. With our sudden move to remote work, I'd been using the formal dining room chair topped by a pair of seat pads. But after those first few days of leaning into hour upon hour of Zoom session, my back and neck were killing me. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands if I wanted to, ahem, stay in the driver's seat.

In my defense, I didn't set out to be a thief. I had ordered a chair from Office Depot and spent a good 90 minutes assembling it. But a full day of sitting in that "executive" contraption nearly resulted in a pinched nerve. Rather than risk another trial and error, I knew I had but one option: My trusty mesh-back office chair in the CAPLA Alumni and Student Center.

Cindy Davis
Employee Wellness and Health Promotion Coach
Life & Work Connections

My tips for working from home: occasional walk-around-the-block breaks and drinking plenty of water.

Misha Harrison
Director of Creative Services and Brand Management
Marketing and Brand Management

I've been working from home on and off for months and have had to get used to being in front of the Zoom camera – like all my colleagues now. This condensed video pulls together tips that the film industry knows about getting a good shot and is just what the doctor ordered to look and sound professional and confident on Zoom: "How to Look Professional on Zoom."

Ameé Hennig
Media Content Manager
James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences

One of my favorite parts of the day is taking a walk around our neighborhood. I feel like it sets everything up for a GOOD day. Lots of sunshine and the activity really gets the kids in a good place. We're setting our schedule, sticking to it, and it's working!

Adele Jenkins
Senior Program Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity

Apple's document scanner might be the only scanner you'll ever need, ever again.

Apple's document scanner is hidden inside the Notes app, and because it supports in-app sharing, you can store the newly scanned document anywhere you want. Here's how.

How to scan a document on iPhone and iPad

The document scanner is tucked away in the Notes app on iPhone and iPad. With just a couple of taps, you'll have a solidly scanned document ready to mark up, convert to PDF, and share with another app.

  1. Launch the Notes app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Create a New Note.
  3. Tap the More button just above the keyboard. It looks like a plus (+) symbol.
  4. Tap Scan Document from the list of options.
  5. Line up the document you want to scan.
  6. If the scanner doesn't automatically scan, tap the shutter button to manually scan the document.
  7. Repeat the step above for each page you want to scan for a single document.
  8. Tap Save when you've scanned all of the pages you want to include with one document.

The scanned pages will populate in a new note in the Notes app.

Heather M. Moore
Coordinator for Career Engagement
College of Engineering

A brilliant idea for people with cats: a decoy keyboard!

Maria-Lourdes "Marylou" Myers
Senior Program Coordinator
Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs

My tip is to just follow the normal or usual routine of getting ready and leaving for the office.  And just following my usual work schedule of responding to emails and working on projects that need to be completed, taking time out for a lunch break and signing off at my usual time of 5:30 p.m.

Melynda Noble 
Senior Coordinator of Projects and Events
University of Arizona Cancer Center

Some tips that have helped in the last week of working from home:

  • Get up and get ready like I'm going into the office.
  • Taking short walks around my neighborhood or sitting in my backyard on my break.
  • Taking a break for lunch away from my work area.

Mark J. Sammons
Outreach Coordinator
Office of Economic Education, Department of Economics

Here are a couple of things I'm doing:

  • Put an inverted milk crate on your desk or table as an alternate place for your laptop so you can alternately sit and stand while working.
  • Use the gained commuter time for a brisk walk, or other exercise, both morning and evening. 
  • Set up by a window that opens; the natural light and fresh air buoy the spirits.

No cute kittens or puppies to share, but the photo shows the view from my home workstation. Thirteen years of back-breaking weekends in the garden have given me a cheering view when I look up from my laptop.

Stephanie Springer
Internship Director and Senior Lecturer
Department of Public and Applied Humanities

Here's a screen time alternative that my kids (3 years old and 6 years old) have enjoyed: "Get Me Out of Here."

Martha P.L. Whitaker
Associate Professor of Practice
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

I was recently contacted by a student who is trying to balance studying from home, in the new online format, while also trying to entertain two young school-aged children. I saw the following tips from a high school friend of mine, and thought I'd share them with my student and everyone else too: 

Kids may not understand the difference between you being physically accessible and you being available. I put a Command hook on the outside of my office door with three signs, like a traffic light. They easily understood that the green light meant they could come on in and talk to me, that the red stop sign meant not to interrupt unless there was a fire or someone badly hurt, and the yellow triangle meant to knock very softly and wait patiently. It worked wonders for everyone, especially by reducing their confusion and frustration.

Bonus tip: Let the kids make the Command hooks for you. Art class!

Double bonus: Have your tweens/teens/college students make their own so they can signal when they need some private time/space of their own for homework or chilling.


More tips are available here:

For the most updated information about the University's response to the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the COVID-19 information page.

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