Booklist: New to Working from Home

With multiple workplaces closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many employees must work remotely. The following titles will help them master a new set of skills.

Not only have many libraries made the difficult decision to close their doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19, leaving those employees who can to work remotely, but so, too, have the employers of many patrons. To support library workers and their patrons alike in what may be an unfamiliar adventure, the following titles, all of which are available electronically, will help newly remote workers master a new set of skills, including managing time and creating a work-life balance, as well as managing a team from home.

Book cover for 50 digital team-building gamesChen, John. 50 Digital Team-Building Games: Fast, Fun Meeting Openers, Group Activities and Adventures Using Social Media, Smart Phones, GPS, Tablets, and More. Wiley. 2012. ISBN 9781118180938.

Chen compiles ideas for keeping workers’ spirits up while building digital skills, from sharing icebreakers on Twitter to playing virtual Jeopardy. Various ways to connect include social media, web conferencing, and more. Bonus: Seattle-based Chen’s company Geoteaming has been affected by COVID-19 and is hosting free virtual teambuilding webinars throughout March .

Douglas, Teresa & others. Secrets of the Remote Workforce. Barron’s. 2020. ISBN 9781506254333.

With more than 30 years of work from home experience between them, Douglas, Holly Gordon, and Mike Webber provide tips for transitioning to remote work. The authors address the psychological impact of working alone and gives advice on everything from setting up a home work space to maintaining professionalism and relationships (both with colleagues and family) to practicing self-care.

Eikenberry, Kevin & Wayne Turmel. The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership. Berrett-Koehler. 2018. ISBN 9781523094615.

Noting that more and more supervisors must manage employees who work in a different location, entrepreneurs Eikenberry and Turmel lay out rules for doing so (“Think about leadership first, location second.” “Accept the fact that leading remotely requires you to lead differently.”). Those who overnight have been forced to manage remotely will benefit from this concrete advice, which will challenge them to lead their scattered staff while building skills they can continue to utilize when workplaces reopen.

Fried, Jason & David Heinemeier Hansson. Remote: Office Not Required. Currency. 2013. ISBN 9780804137508.

Fried and Hansson, who built the software company Basecamp remotely, laud the benefits of working from home and share tips for making the most of the situation. While the pros of working from home outnumber the cons in many cases, the authors acknowledge some pitfalls, or “dragons,” to watch for (e.g., overeating and poor ergonomics) and offer suggestions on how to share space with a partner or children.

book cover for your creative work spacePeacock, Desha. Your Creative Work Space: The Sweet Spot Style Guide to Home Office Studio Decor. Skyhorse. 2019. ISBN 9781510712997.

Those considering extending their work at home for more than a few weeks will appreciate TV producer and lifestyle expert Peacock’s inspiration and design tips for personalizing your work space. Bright photographs showcase tiny closets transformed into cozy work areas and offices decorated with thrifted materials. The author emphasizes effective use of lighting and furniture positioning to create comfortable yet productive environments.

Salt, Simon. Out of Office: How To Work From Home, Telecommute or Workshift Successfully. Que. 2014. ISBN 9780789750921.

Author and speaker Salt details various work from home arrangements, including workshifting, or working from multiple locations. Readers will also appreciate tips for setting boundaries, maintaining a work-life balance, and successfully moving back to the office.

Sutherland, Lisette & K. Janene-Nelson. Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely—Successfully—for Individuals, Teams, and Managers. Collaboration Superpowers. 2018. ISBN 9789082854121.

This reassuring volume from public speaker and workshop leader Sutherland and editor Janene-Nelson tackles a variety of topics: communicating, dealing with conflict, tending to one’s own needs, and more. It will appeal to a range of readers, from those just getting started with remote work to those interested in building and leading teams while inspiring collaboration from afar.

Jennifer Clifton is Library Development Office Director at Indiana State Library, Indianapolis

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