As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, it affects everything from traveling to the availability of finding household products. Many companies are allowing as many employees as possible to work remotely until the spread of the virus has slowed. Although many are excited about being able to work from home, others aren’t in favor. Working remotely can be like a double-edged sword. Yes, you get to work in the comfort of your own home, but it can be hard to focus when the pile of laundry suddenly looks more appealing than your work to-do list. Staying productive can take a little extra effort when the show you’ve been wanting to binge on Netflix is at the end of your fingertips. Plus, working alone can be a downer for those used to socializing at work. So, sit up straight, eat some breakfast and put on some pants while we give some work-from-home tips to keep you productive.
Here, There and Everywhere
Location can be vital when it comes to working from home. It’s important to set up space in your house that’s designated solely for work. That means get off the couch and get out of bed. Working from the couch can create mental associations that keep your mind busy with professional obligations, even during personal time. If you live in a small apartment, set up a desk and chair to separate the professional from the personal. Investing in a good chair to keep you properly aligned throughout the day is important.
Plan on It!
Working remote lets you create your own schedule. The structure of your day can be influence by other people. Working remotely can cause your day to lack its normal structure. It can be tempting to wake up late and work at odd hours but sticking to a schedule is good for your mental health. Setting a schedule also increases your quality of work. When planning your day, pretend as if you were going into the office, then stick to those hours. Tracking your house helps keep yourself accountable. Try to avoid working on the weekends and keep an eye on how much time your spending on work each day.
Get up and get active! Arrange to have an active meeting with your colleagues. Walking meetings can be beneficial as long as you stay at least 6 feet apart! Working from home means you have flexibility with your schedule, and you should use this to your advantage. Schedule your daily workouts, just like you schedule your work meetings. Schedule them before you start working, during lunch or after hours.
It’s important to take breaks throughout the workday. Letting stress build up can be unhealthy and create chronic stress if prolonged. Taking a short break where you allow yourself to get some physical and psychological “space” from work can bring many rewards. Working around the clock does not mean you are making your best contribution. By taking a brisk walk, you interrupt the cycle of stress that can lead to being overwhelmed. Breaks allow us time to restore ourselves physically and mentally to a healthier place. Taking short breaks throughout the day keep productivity higher and leave you feeling more energized. Try going for a bike ride, walking around the block or even have a five-minute meditation session. Your body and mind will thank you for it! When you are not on duty, try to disengage from the crisis at hand.
Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
Working in teams to minimize the amount of time you’re working alone helps. If you see someone “drowning” in work, be quick to help them! Sometimes we need help, and it’s OK to ask a colleague to help you with a project that may seem overwhelming.
Overeating can go hand in hand when you have a remote job. If your home office is next to your kitchen, you may want to rethink your home office space. Look for a space that’s far away from your kitchen to avoid mindless eating. Ditch the snack drawer. Keep tempting treats in your pantry so it isn’t in your direct vision. Be sure to limit your intake of coffee and alcohol. Finding healthy replacements for snacks that are front and center help curve your desire for a sweet treat. Food is the fuel for your body, eat smart and your body will thank you for it!
It can be traumatizing when going through an event where your city and the government shut down. After a disaster, it is important to take care of your emotional health. Pay attention to how you and your family members are feeling and acting. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs to protect yourself and your loved ones. Take care of your body by eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding alcohol. Sharing your feelings with a friend or family member helps maintain relationships and allows you to rely on your support system. Taking breaks and doing activities you enjoy is important. Stay informed by watching the news for updates from reliable officials. You can also ask for help from a counselor, physician or by contacting the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.