JVS Human services is halfway through a “Work from Home Success Group” seminar tailored to help people navigate challenging times. For more information on the new program, contact employmenthelp@jvshumanservices.org or call Gerard Baltrusaitis at (248) 658-8862

JVS Human services is halfway through a “Work from Home Success Group” seminar tailored to help people navigate challenging times. For more information on the new program, contact employmenthelp@jvshumanservices.org or call Gerard Baltrusaitis at (248) 658-8862

Photo by Jacob Herbert


Southfield nonprofit helps to promote healthy work-from-home life

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published November 20, 2020

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SOUTHFIELD — While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the United States, many Americans have been displaced from their offices and forced to work from home. As nice as it sounds, being able to roll out of bed and work in your pajamas isn’t all it’s made out to be.

Working from home can often cause a sense of isolation, and productivity levels may drop. The separation of home life and work life while working from home is hard to overcome for some.

Southfield based JVS Human Services — a nonprofit agency that provides counseling, training and support services for people with disabilities, job seekers, seniors and others in need — has stepped in to help.

On Nov. 11, the company launched a free “Work from Home Success Group” on Zoom. There were two sessions held before press time, with two more scheduled for Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. While the final two sessions’ registration is closed, the agency says there is a plan to do another workshop in the future.

“Many of us had a significant change in employment starting about eight months ago,” said Jason Charnas, JVS director of business and career services. “That was all of a sudden laid off or furloughed, or working from home in an environment that most of us hadn’t expected. This is an opportunity to bring a group of people together that want to talk about how we can do this better.”

Among the guest speakers at the event are a chair yoga instructor to provide tips on improving our flexibility, concentration and strength, while boosting mood, and reducing stress and joint strain. A tech specialist from JVS will provide productivity tips to workshop attendees.

“This is something new for all of us,” workshop facilitator Gerard Baltrusaitis said. “It’s not something that we’ve been taught, so getting acclimated is something that is necessary. Whenever there is change, there’s stress. A lot of people are experiencing that stress, and because of the isolation, it’s more difficult than ever to relieve that stress.”

Baltrusaitis’ job through the workshop is to provide attendees with pieces of content meant to educate and provide suggestions that tailor to their biggest needs.

Both Charnas and Baltrusaitis have fielded suggestions on some of the more pressing issues those working from home were dealing with: time management, communication skills, making a comfortable work-from-home environment, and separating a work life and home life while working remotely.

“If you’re working in your kitchen, your dining room or your family room, it’s important to put it all away at the end of the day,” Charnas said on differentiating work life and home life. “Whatever it is that you do when you are working from home, move those pieces of work so that your living space doesn’t look like an office. The opportunity to put that stuff away provides some closure at the end of the work day.”

One of the biggest hits those working from home have taken is the lack of the ability to collaborate. In an office, taking breaks to chat with coworkers is a good way to break up the day and increase productivity. Getting used to working alone all day is a difficult adjustment many have had to deal with.

“My suggestion is reaching out to coworkers or other individuals that are in the same situation,” Baltrusaitis said. “Any situation is a lot easier to tackle when you feel you’re not alone on an island. Connect with other individuals and try to retain as much normalcy as possible.”

At the end of the day, working from home is a process that takes time to get used to. While having high expectations is appropriate, Charnas said it’s important to be kind to ourselves through everything. A lot of the disruptions and delays that people face outside of the office would not be as prevalent if a normal office life was maintained.

The ability to pickup the phone and call a coworker and friend is something that has not been taken away through everything. Utilizing that can go a long way in maintaining a healthy life while staying home.

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