As COVID-19 continues to spread, many of us may find ourselves working from home, as organizations attempt to do their part in reducing the impact of the virus. While there may be a number of disruptions during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important not to let these negatively affect your mental health. Toward that outcome, we’ll share tips in order to ease the adjustment to our temporary “new normal” — which may include managing both work and family life from home.
There can be a great deal of stress that accompanies the transition to working from home. The following tips can help ease the transition and increase the likelihood that you’re able to balance productivity with your own self-care.
1. Set clear working times
To the extent possible, try to maintain your typical working schedule. If you typically work 9am-5pm when you’re in the office, then try to maintain that same schedule when you’re working from home.
2. Maintain boundaries
In addition to the point above, try to maintain clear work-home boundaries. This can be tough when you’re working from home, but to the best of your abilities, try to work on having a clear off time where you’re done working for the day. Don’t let your work spill over to your time away from work.
3. Maintain connection with peers (e.g., virtual coffee chats)
Working from home can be an isolating experience. Try to maintain connection with co-workers by scheduling virtual lunch breaks or coffee chats. Find ways to connect, and keep in communication with your peers to avoid feelings of loneliness.
4. Stay hydrated, eat, and take breaks
This seems like a no-brainer but the reality is it can be easy to lose track of time and to forget to engage in daily self-care (like drinking enough water, eating regular meals, and getting enough exercise). Set break times and stick with them. Get up and walk around, stretch, and consider taking 5-minute mindfulness breaks every few hours.
5. Maintain a daily to-do list
Working from home can feel overwhelming. Try to focus on what needs to be done each day by making a daily to-do list. Focus on prioritizing each task each day.
6. Make your physical environment work for you
If you have a home office space, use it! If not, consider ways that you can create a workspace that will support your WFH efforts for as long as you need them. To the extent that you can, try to separate work from your bedroom or spaces where you typically relax. If you have to work in your bedroom, try to at least make some space outside of your actual bed to do work. From a wellness perspective, it’s often important to have a clear distinction between working spaces and spaces that are intended for relaxation (e.g., beds, couches).
7. Reduce distractions
As much as possible, consider how to remove distractions from your home environment. For some, that might mean avoiding turning on the TV. For others, having background noise can be helpful. It is also important to consider how you’ll maintain your distraction-free work environment if you have a roommate, partner, children, or pets who will be in your space during your work hours. Consider talking with housemates about how to ensure distraction-free spaces so that you’re able to focus on your work. You can also use these tips for working from home with children around.
If you find yourself stressed or uneasy about the outbreak, you may find our free online support group helpful. To get 1:1 mental health care with a professional, start speaking to a licensed online therapist today.