10 Tips for Successfully Working from Home During a Pandemic
By Ann D'Adamo
March 18, 2020
By Ann D'Adamo
March 18, 2020
Between heightened anxiety and newfound isolation, working from home during a global crisis can be difficult, especially for those who are new to being away from the office. Below, our Social Media Coordinator and remote work aficionado, Jade Axman, shares ten ways to manage your wellbeing within the confines of your makeshift home office.
1. Set a schedule
While it’s tempting to sleep in and abandon your usual routine when working from home, it’s more important than ever to schedule your day and stick to it. Not only will creating a schedule keep you feeling productive, but planning your time each day helps keep you motivated. I suggest setting your alarm early and implementing a morning routine that will set you up for success and clear your head. Making a cup of coffee and well-rounded breakfast, journaling, or getting ready as you would for a typical day at the office can all help to maintain a sense of normalcy through this high-stress time. Try out a few new practices and see what works best for you!
It’s been said plenty, but meditation has been proven to help those under significant stress and anxiety to manage their symptoms and be present. That said, when it comes to meditation, many don’t know where to start or have difficulty “shutting off” during the process. As someone who has practiced this skill for a few years, I suggest starting with a guided meditation, which is easier to follow for beginners, for at least 15 minutes a day (preferably in the morning or during lunch). Many meditation teachers and apps offer guided programs specifically aimed at easing stress, anxiety, and fear of the unknown for free online.
Need some recommendations? I suggest:
3. Make your own workspace
With kids out of school, roommates staying home, and pets who love to cuddle, working from home can be full of new distractions. It’s important to set up a space in your home that makes you feel comfortable and allows you to stay tuned into your work. Think back – ok…way back – to your school study sessions. I suggest finding a spot in your home free from distractions and potential interruptions, if that is possible. If is not, try to define your lounge areas (bed, couch) from your work area (a kitchen table, a desk, or, for me, the living room floor/coffee table combo) so you can feel a degree of separation. I also recommend adding elements that create a sense of calmness or ease while working, whether it’s burning a candle, opening windows for natural light, grabbing snacks, or setting up office supplies.
4. Stay connected
Working from home for long periods of time, especially when you are not accustomed to being remote, can feel isolating at first. Whenever possible, try to utilize video conference tools or even just a phone call to maintain a sense of connection with your co-workers. If you can hold a meeting via FaceTime or hop on a phone call instead of emailing, now is the time! Get creative and consider hosting a virtual lunch or happy hour via Zoom to promote fun and stay in touch.
5. Unplug when necessary
While it’s good to stay informed and up-to-date on this ever-changing situation, consuming too much news can take a toll on your mental health and heighten anxiety and fear. If you find yourself obsessively watching the news or clicking on articles on Facebook, even if you’re just trying to stay in the loop, take some time to assess your current consumption level and adjust as needed.
6. Use breaks for stimulating or creative hobbies
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be stagnant. Now is a great time to pick up a new skill, get a hobby, and be creative. Stimulating activities such as working out, reading books, writing, or learning a language can help you beat cabin fever and stay engaged. Don’t feel like you need to conquer the world one new talent at a time. Use breaks to try out new things you may not have gotten around to otherwise; you never know what you’ll learn!
Suggestions from our team:
7. Get outside, or close to it
Staying in tune with nature can help beat feelings of isolation and help our minds decompress. If you have a backyard or live near hiking trails, a lake, or state park, take advantage of it, when possible. If your living situation, however, doesn’t allow for this without potentially putting yourself at risk, open windows to let in fresh air and light throughout the day. Another idea to feel virtually calm is to set up a relaxing nature-forward video stream on your computer or TV. From lakeside views to drone footage of mountains, many of these videos are available on YouTube and a variety of streaming platforms.
Visual Nature Walks:
8. Practice self-care
During this time, it’s essential to take care of your own health, both mentally and physically. Take preventative measures to boost your immune system and protect those who are at a high risk. Do things that help you relax, whether it’s a face mask, a hot bath, or even some binge watching of your favorite TV shows. Try to remain calm, dive into comforting activities, and focus on maintaining a positive mental attitude when you can.
9. Support your community and industry where you can
Working from home can be tough when you aren’t used to being remote, yet despite that, it’s something not everyone is able to do. As more industries and communities are affected, it’s on us to provide support in whatever way we can. Consider buying gift cards to your favorite bars and restaurants, reach out to freelancers and partners if you have work they can assist with, donate to local causes, and share resources for industries and small businesses that are most affected. We are in this together.
10. Check off that to-do list!
And finally, working from home doesn’t mean neglecting your responsibilities. In fact, completing the task at hand is a great way to stay focused on the present moment. Checking off a to-do list will help you feel accomplished and productive, which can provide a needed boost during this time. With this being said, it’s sure that unpredictable circumstances may arise amidst your usual duties, and when they do, start by focusing on solutions and what you can control. Staying proactive can help you reduce anxiety and plan for the future.
NOTE: If you feel you are in crisis, please seek a professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).
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