Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Ask Alumni: Making the Most of Telecommuting

With many professional communicators now working from home because of COVID-19, we asked CCI alumni for their advice on making the most of telecommuting. 

For the most updated campus information related to the coronavirus as well as resources for students, faculty, and staff, please visit utk.edu/coronavirus. 

Wendy Bishop

JEM, 1995

Copywriter/Editor, Jewelry Television

Have set working hours if you can. Don’t work in the same room where you sleep or relax. Try to set boundaries so you don’t feel “on” all the time and take breaks during the day to get up, step away or go outside. My husband and I have a puzzle we’re working on in our dining room when we need to take mental breaks. It’s still hard some days because I miss being with people and the social interaction, but a phone call with a coworker, instead of a text or email, can help you feel more connected to the outside world and give you someone to talk with. Keep in touch with friends and family and don’t be too hard on yourself as we’re all trying to get through this challenging time.


Richard Goins

MS C&I (PR), 1997

Communications, Change Management and External Affairs Strategist, Go! Communications Consultants

1. Get a daily schedule in place. Rigor is good, especially as the days get long.

2. Get your sleep! Critical.

3. Eat well and hydrate. Your skin will thank you!

4. Take one hour for long walks and jump rope.

5. Call your mother!


Jamie Lonie

PR, 2010 & CCI Board of Visitors Member

Nonprofit Digital Marketing Specialist, Amplifi Digital 

Here are 5 super tips for remote work that can make us both more productive and generous when we #WFH:

1. When you need to explain something complex, make a screen recording.

2. When you need to manage real-time group collaborations, use Zoom Breakout Rooms.

3. When you need to hold a video conference, include a link within the calendar invite. 

4. When you want to talk with your company or nonprofit supporters, do a live stream. 

5. When times are uncertain, be generous and do nice things for others.

My colleague, Edith Aseby, and I recently wrote a LinkedIn blog post with more details on each tip.


Rachel Stacy 

PR, 2017

Senior Account Executive, The Bulleit Group PR Agency

Try to keep up the level of open communication you would have in the office! I schedule short breakfast calls or video lunch meetings with my coworkers where we talk about what we’re reading in the news and why it matters. Have to draft up a statement in a rush? Hop on a call with a team member and work through the edits in a Google Doc. It’s faster than going back and forth via email, and the collaboration will make it better. Not only does this communication keep your team aligned, it makes everyone feel a little less lonely. 


Taylor Veal 

AD, 2016

Healthcare Supply Chain Analyst, The Resource Group

Plan your day in the morning so you know exactly how much time to spend on tasks. Eat lunch away from your workspace, just like you would at work. I love scheduling virtual lunch dates with coworkers and friends. Find a playlist you love; it’s tough to work in silence. 

Though many say to get up and get ready for your day, unless your company requires it, I would say find a happy medium. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable, sweatpants are a perk of WFH! But you can brush your hair, put on minimal make up, and change out of what you slept in to feel more put together. 


Danielle Whaley

JEM, 2017

Associate Director of Athletic Communications, Carson-Newman University

Waking up at, or close to, my usual wake-up time for work and going through my normal morning routine of a work day puts my mind into work mode. Designating a specific spot in my house to do work keeps me more focused. Taking occasional breaks to walk and stretch helps too!