TREC is here to support the environmental community as we all face the new challenges presented by COVID-19. See our resources and stay up to date.

Staying effective during COVID-19 pandemic

With COVID-19 details changing daily, if not hourly, the information contained in these posts may not reflect the most recent developments.

Many of you have sent me your internal and external communications about the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for sharing. Both in our E-Updates and in our ongoing conversations, TREC will be sharing with all of you what we’re hearing.

Most importantly, you all are taking the social distancing advice seriously which is crucial right now.

Most groups have taken the important step of asking staff to work at home to protect the health and safety of their employees to do their part to curtail community spread. Many of you are likely reading this from make-shift home offices. A couple things that you can do to improve your effectiveness at home are:

  • Use video calls so that you can still see others on your team. This helps a lot with isolation. You can get access to free programs like Google Hangouts, FreeConference and Zoom. Here is a list of free options. For meetings of more than 3 people and 40 minutes, the paid version of Zoom is also inexpensive via techsoup.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Working at home requires you to be even more proactive. Let your supervisor and your teammates know what you’re doing and when you’ll do it by, and what obstacles you’re facing. Much of this was communicated informally when you were in the office, now you will need to communicate it intentionally.
  • As much as possible, contain your work time to set hours. Bookend the workday with a regular routine, for example going for a walk as if it were a commute, so that your day isn’t all blurred together between home life and work life.
  • Set up a workspace where you can sit, or sit-stand, using good posture which means not just working on a laptop on the couch.
  • You can find more recommendations about remote work in this TREC webinar.

In keeping with CDC recommendations, events of more than 50 people are being cancelled. I noticed in your organizational communications that many of you are wisely postponing small gatherings as well. This is critical to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, partners, and community members. Thank you for making those tough decisions.

I know that these cancellations make you concerned about your fundraising. Now is the time to get creative! Share ideas with each other on how to raise money using new approaches that don’t require in-person events.

The other short-term policy that many of you have implemented is to cancel all work travel for March and April. Again, this is a smart decision now. Let folks know that these short-term policies will continue to be reviewed and might be extended. The situation is still evolving rapidly.

With all that is going on, we can expect that all of us will be less productive. Many of us are dealing with kids who are home from school or caring for parents, relatives, or neighbors. Give yourself and those around you extra kindness and support. Remember that the impact of this crisis is not the same on all members of our families, organizations, and communities. Folks with medical conditions, differing abilities, additional responsibilities, and less financial means are the hardest hit.

Likely it is important for you to slow down a bit, and consider your impact even more carefully. Remember that this extraordinary time gives us an opportunity to show who we are, so let’s make sure we are practicing inclusion and living into our values.

Be well and keep reaching out to each other and to TREC.

Background Image: American Rivers | Scott Bosse