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Five Simple Tips for Working from Home

Adjusting to New Styles of Work During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 18, 2020

1. Stick to Your Routine

Review what's on your work schedule the day before to get prepared. Then, first and foremost, get a good night's sleep to help you stay healthy and keep your immune system in check. Try to reduce the amount of light in your room at night (sleep mask, blackout curtains, etc.) to ensure deep sleep, and limit blue light two hours before bed. When starting the day, stick to your regular morning routine—take a shower, get dressed, work out, eat breakfast, or make that pot of coffee (like we could skip that). We're creatures of habit, so sticking to these routines will help you to stay more focused and engaged from the start. Remember to take breaks (if you can) and try to get outside for some fresh air. Most importantly, log off at the end of the day to recharge your mind and spirit and enjoy time with your family and/or pets.

2. Create a Dedicated Workspace

Dedicate a room in your space where you can do focused work. If you don't have an extra room or office (many of us don't), try finding a place that can accommodate moving things around to create a workspace. Working in an area with plenty of natural light is a great way to keep you in good spirits. A window that looks out at nature is even better! If you don't have the luxury of ample natural light in your space (or it's a rainy/overcast day), add desktop lighting to reduce eye strain.

Evaluate and adjust your space to be as ergonomic as possible. Adding an extra monitor, propping up your laptop to eye level, and using an external keyboard and mouse are a good start. Many companies offer wellness subsidies to help with these work tools, so check with your company to see what may be covered.

3. Minimize Distractions

Simple things like no TV or wearing headphones to cancel out unwanted noise might help you stay focused. If family members are at home (many of you may be home with children because of school closings), maintaining boundaries may help you concentrate. If you're on a conference call, remember to mute your mic when you're not speaking, so that home background noise doesn't cut into your work conversation.

4. Communication Matters!

We are social creatures, and sustaining relationships with others is critical. Keep in touch with your coworkers, friends, and family during this time. Take advantage of technology by calling, video conferencing, emailing, or utilizing messaging software to ensure you're still having the casual, water cooler conversations you’re used to having in the office. Focus on maintaining relationships with your colleagues so that everyone feels seen and heard, and a part of the team.

5. Be Compassionate

Working during such uncertain/unusual times, whether remotely or not, can be tough on anyone. It's important to remember to be compassionate to ourselves and others. We don't always have a complete picture of our coworkers' health backgrounds or home lives, and others might not know ours. Acknowledge the stress others feel and offer support and kindness wherever possible. No one should feel isolated. Also, remember that the range of emotions we are going through is universal. Emotionally, we are not alone!

And finally, don't forget that laughter is the best medicine, so do what you can to find time to laugh, have fun, and joke around. If these five tips don't help us through this, humor will definitely help ease the burden.