March 25, 2020
As we all navigate the current reality around COVID-19, we face new challenges. Working from home is one of those challenges. For some, this is a dream come true. For others, it can be a nightmare. If working at home is new for you – and not going well yet – don’t worry. It can get better. Here are few tips to help you feel successful.
Choose Your Mindset
What is currently happening in the world can feel unsettling and scary. It can be hard to focus when so much is so unclear. Your mindset is the lens you use to see the world, and it directly influences your perception and reactions. Before you start work, take some time to determine how you want to feel (even if you don’t feel that way yet). Your mindset can set the tone no matter where you are working.
Create a Dedicated Space
Try to find a space at home that you can designate just for work each day. Ideally, it will be a space you can walk away from it when you’re done for the day. Avoid working in the bedroom. This can lead to poorer sleep, and sleep is essential for a healthy immune system.
Our physical therapists offer tips to help you make your work area ergonomically correct to help you avoid neck and back pain.
The best piece of advice I can give after working from home for many years, is to get dressed before you start working. It doesn’t have to be dressed for the office; it could just be changing into clothes that are still comfy but aren’t “technically” pajamas. Getting ready can help create the sense of a new day and motivate you to get started.
Make sure you have the tools you need. Whether it is additional software, headphones, or remote access, gather what you need to work effectively. And don’t forget about proper office ergonomics. Correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing, and good desk posture can help you and your joints stay comfortable while you work.
Create a Routine
Creating a routine helps add structure to your day. Get up and start your day just as you would if you were going to the office. “Arrive” to work on time. Set reminders on your phone to take breaks. Use breaks to work on your personal self-care: Sit down for lunch with your family. Get outside and take a walk. Try an on-line exercise class. Read a book. Practice meditation.
Staying connected to co-workers can be challenging. If you normally have time during the day to just talk with your co-workers, then build that time in at home. Get creative. Use the tools available – email, online collaboration, and teleconferencing to help you feel connected. If you can, use video conferencing with your team to help with feelings of isolation.
Unplug at the End of the Day
Work/life balance can go right out the window when you work from home, so it’s important to create a definite end time. Make sure to unplug at the end of the day. Turn off your computer and stay away from your workspace until the next day.
Remember, we’re in this together. Be gentle with yourself and others. We’re all facing new ways of working and living. Check in with co-workers. Talk with a trusted friend or loved one. Or connect with your Employee Assistance Program or other mental health professionals for more targeted support.