“I’ve worked from home for most of my 20+ year career and never ever had so many calls and meetings,” writes journalist and podcast host Amy Westervelt.
“I’ve kept it to myself for a full year but I cannot anymore: y’all are doing this wrong.”
And so began a Twitter thread of the work from home mistakes many of us have been guilty of this past year – from overdoing it on Zoom calls (and not getting any work done), to having meetings for issues that could’ve been sorted out on email. We’ve all been there.
Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned from the pros.
1. You don’t need to have a meeting about everything.
In fact, lots of things – including ‘quick chats’ – can be done via email or Slack. Or *gasps* on a phone call.
Colleague emailed me 3 times yesterday asking for a meeting as I couldn't publish her web page because she hadn't provided the URL for a link to link to.
The last thing I want is a stranger calling me to recite a string of numbers, letters & slashes at me. Paste it into an email
— Alan Jones (@thebesteveralan) January 26, 2021
2. You don’t need to switch your camera on for every meeting.
Audio works just as well. Give your eyes a rest. Plus, leaving your camera off can reduce the carbon footprint of your Zoom, Teams or Google Hangout session by as much as 96%, according to new research.
Lol. True for those working from home pre-COVID. My sister has been working from home years before the pandemic. Always had daily meetings and conference calls online but mostly audio, not video.
— Daphne Tolis (@daphnetoli) January 26, 2021
3. You don’t have to be free *all* the time.
There is such a thing as meeting-free days – and these might just be about to become your new best friend. If the meetings are getting too much, block out your calendar for a day or two each week so you can actually get stuff done.
If it’s feasible, let your colleagues know you’re not attending meetings on those days – and stand firm if they try to encroach on that sacred time.
It can get out of hand for sure. My company started designating days as meeting free (at least once a week) and I also block my own calendar off for think/work time, if I’m not getting enough of that.
— Kenneth aka ברוך (@klphotos) January 26, 2021
4. You don’t have to accept every meeting.
If a meeting appears in your calendar and you don’t need to be in it – you don’t need to be in it. Hit that decline button and feel sweet relief.
Turn down meeting requests that you don’t want to join. Tell them to email you if they need anything
— ShchurMoney (@ShchurMoney) January 26, 2021
5. You don’t have to be contactable 24/7.
Ok, so some jobs do need to have 24/7 contact, but most office jobs do not – so don’t be afraid to let your colleagues know when you’re clocking off. And, if there’s one person who thinks it’s ok to message after hours, stick your phone on flight mode.
My coordinator called me once at 8 pm to do some extra work that could be done the day after. They think we’re available 24/7 because we’re working remotely 😅!
— Areej Turki ✨ (@AreejJuaid) January 27, 2021
6. You can set an agenda and time limit for meetings.
Otherwise, it’ll will overrun, people will inevitably switch off (or start doing something else on their laptop), and productivity will go through the floor. Short and succinct saves everyone’s brains!
Short (daily?) huddles w immediate office team a must. Otherwise, all meetings should have an agenda and time limit!
— Donna Albert (@dalbert57) January 27, 2021
7. You can take a break – or three!
We’re working from home in a health crisis: you need to take regular breaks for the sake of your own health and wellbeing. Your eyes – and hunched shoulders – will thank you for it. Steer clear of eating lunch by your laptop. Go for that walk. Avoid ending up like Susan.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.