Suddenly Working from Home? Tips for Your Sanity

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A lot of people are suddenly thrown into working from home (WFH), if they have a company/career allowing them to do so during COVID-19 closures. Not everyone has this option – doctors, nurses, medical staff, post office staff, waste management, etc. Thank you to all the people who are working who don’t have a WFH option.

I have been working from home since 2013, in different sized apartments and homes, and in different living situations: a
roommate, fiancé turned husband, my two step-daughters, and a dog. I know how stressful it can be working from home when you are on a call and the dog barks or kids come screaming into your office, so I’ve compiled some of my best WFH tips below. Please add some of your tips below in the comments section if you also work from home so that we can all benefit.

  1. Have a designated work area, even if you live in an apartment or small home. Whether it is part of a kitchen table, on your couch, a desk, an area in your basement, etc., choose somewhere as your workspace. I am fortunate to have a room in my home that is my office and I try to only go in that room during working hours to keep my sanity. If you are not self-motivated, having a designated workspace is a game changer!
  2. Stick to a work routine! I work 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and I take two breaks during the day to walk my dog. I eat lunch at my desk, which is frowned upon by many people, but it’s what works for me and allows me to get outside more often during the day. If kids are home with you while you’re working, factor time into your day for breaks with them and preparing lunch together.
  3. Keep your morning routine! If you workout in the morning, get up and workout at home. Take a shower before you start working from home instead of rolling out of bed and beginning to work.
  4. Speaking of working out, most gyms and studios are closed, including mine. There are thousands of workouts on YouTube – yoga, barre, Pilates, cardio, strength training, etc. Or you can subscribe to workout programs such as Beachbody, Obe Fitness or PaleOMG. MOVE YOUR BODY! Not only is it great stress relief, but it will keep your lungs strong.
  5. Take a walk during your lunch break. It’s warm enough outside in Northeast Wisconsin to bundle up and head outside. If you have kids home with you, take them on your walk. The fresh air benefits everyone.
  6. Limit social media and internet surfing to a few times per day for 5-10 minutes each. Set a timer because ten minutes goes by very quickly!
  7. Don’t graze!! It is easy to sit at your workspace and eat when all your food is only a few feet away from you. Eat at specific times and stick to that routine. Try to eat as healthy as possible during these stressful times.
  8. If kids are home, only allow them to watch movies when you have a long call or need them to be entertained for aa while(this probably only works when kids are at a certain age, like my step-daughters who are 9 and 11 years old). Limiting electronics until they’re needed will keep their attention longer if they aren’t watching movies/television all day.
  9. Wake up before the kids! I know, I know, it is so hard to wake up early, but the benefit is silence! Enjoy some alone time or to accomplish work before they wake up if you’re stressed about getting everything done during the day. Early to bed is the key to waking up early.
  10. Routine, routine, routine. Several of the items that I mentioned above involve a routine. It’s key to successfully work from home.

We are all in this together. We are all dealing with kids home from school, cabin fever, cancelled spring break and other trips, but we will push through this trying time in our life. Be grateful for the time you have at home and enjoy some downtime in the evenings.

NOTE: There are over 100 free courses online for adults through the Brown County Library and GALE with your library card. If you have time, brush up on one of your skills or learn a new skill! Learn more at https://www.browncountylibrary.org/research-reference/learning-resources/