When I received the order to work from home, my first reaction was abject terror. Let me be clear: the office isn’t exactly my favorite place on the planet, but it was part of a deeply established routine. It was not just a place to get work done… it was a place to escape bored children, put laundry and dirty dishes out of mind and interact with colleagues to solve interesting problems. Now, I’m stuck in a house with two children and one very bored spouse. This encouraged me to speak with several remote work experts and get some real advice on surviving quarantine.
Working from home can be nice! Especially at first. No commute often means a bit more sleep, but sleeping late can turn into skipping your shower… Which can turn into skipping real clothes… Which can make your days feel like some sort of purgatory between a “work day” and a “day off.” It’s a slippery slope. I’m not going to suggest avoiding a little extra sleep if you can make it work, but I am going to stress the importance of routine.
Keep your mornings as close to normal as possible. Even if that means waking up early and pretending like you’re getting ready for your usual commute. But instead of getting in your car, sit at your designated workplace at home. Break for lunch at your usual time and wrap up your day at your usual time. Ignoring household chores may be more challenging while working from home, but it’s crucial to do so. I won’t even go into the obvious home distractions like streaming television or social media. We’re all adults here, right? You already know better.
Many gyms are currently closed, which is breaking a lot of fitness routines. Unless you have workout equipment at home, you may be scratching your head a bit on how to keep up with your physical health. I recommend starting a Body-weight Fitness program. There are tons of free apps and sites out there which can help you start a new fitness routine that needs nothing but your body to complete. These are good workouts, too! Prepare to sweat. You may even decide to save money on the gym once this all blows over.
Isolation can be hard whether or not you have other people stuck with you. Children present challenges, but so does total isolation if you live alone. This is the perfect time to use FaceTime, Skype, Slack, Discord or any of the other popular communication tools to break down that barrier. Catch up with friends and family face-to-face whenever possible. Don’t just text, schedule a time to chat live. If you have a group of friends, you can also start a group video chat.