Tips for Working From Home

Common-Sense Ways to Get the Most Done During the COVID-19 Crisis

Working at homeThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives for the foreseeable future and more of us are working from home now on a full-time basis. With the change of environment may come a few new challenges, including difficulty focusing on work and a sense of isolation. But there are some things you can do to take control of the situation, help you get your work done and improve the way you are feeling. 

1.    Create a designated work space.

One of the greatest challenges of working remotely is keeping your work and home lives separate. Try to create a work space that is comfortable – with a chair you can sit in for extended periods and good natural light if possible. Also, make it a place you can walk away from at the end of the work day. It doesn’t have to be a separate room, maybe just a table away from the rest of the house. And if you need that table for another purpose, be sure to pack up your work things when you are finished, to create a definition between your work and home lives. 

2.    Get dressed.

It may be tempting to work in your pajamas all day (except during those video conference calls!), but you will be more productive if you prepare yourself for the work day. Right now, with the dismissal of so many everyday routines, getting up in the morning, showering, brushing your hair, even putting on makeup, makes you feel more “normal.” It also serves as a signal to your mind that it’s time to get things done. 

3.    Add further separation between your work and home lives.

That means keeping clearly defined work hours so your work time isn’t spilling into much-needed personal time – especially if you live with other people. By building in time to recharge your batteries, you’re more likely to get your best work done and be a better, more collaborative colleague during “office” hours.  

Another tip: Create transitions between your home and work lives (and back again). If you are used to listening to the news in the car on the way to the office, turn on the radio at home before starting work. At the end of the day, take a walk (alone or with your partner or dog) to signal to yourself you’re back “at home” from work.

4.    Minimize distractions.

While it’s important to stay informed about COVID-19, don’t let the news interfere with your ability to get your work done. With reports being pushed out throughout the day, it’s easy to get distracted – or even anxious about the situation. Stay focused on the work you need to do.

That said, give yourself permission to take occasional breaks. You do that during your normal day at the office and you can do it for brief periods throughout the day while working at home – as long as you can get back to work.

5.    Keep the lines of communication open.

Thank goodness for social media, video conferencing, texting, email and other conveniences. While it’s easy to feel isolated and alone when you are working from home, remember your colleagues, manager and direct reports are just a minute away via phone call and other forms of communication.  Have a question?  Be sure to reach out to others, just as you would if you were in the same building with them.

6.    Remember there are people who can help you if you are feeling down.

Working from home adds a lot of new stresses to your life and it’s good to know where you can turn for help if it all gets to be too much. Many mental health counselors are now doing therapy via phone or video conferencing. Check at work to see if your employer has an Employee Assistance Plan with free mental health counseling. There are also a variety of mental health resources in Broward County, including 211 Broward, which can direct you to counseling. Just dial 2-1-1 for assistance. 

For tips on how to maintain good mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.