COVID-19: Reality of Staying Home and Working Remotely

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Most of us are facing the reality of social isolation and a new problem of being confined in a house all day and every day. Many people are not used to working from home and may not feel as efficient as when they sit at their desk at work. So what could be done?

Establish a dedicated workplace

It’s important to create some sort of physical boundary at home, find a room or a part of a room you can temporarily use as an office space to help you develop an isolation between your work and your home life. Ideally, it should be a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted by family members or other distractions.

Keep a morning routine

Although it’s tempting to sleep longer, roll out of bed and start working right away, or even check your email on your phone while you’re still in bed, it’s best to stay with the same schedule that you had when you were commuting to work. Get up at the same time, exercise, meditate, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, have coffee, take your medications and supplements – whatever you would do if you were going to work.

Establish time boundaries

Work the same hours as you did regularly, for example from 8 am to 5 pm, with a scheduled lunch break. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and forget to stop for lunch. Take a good half hour away from your computer – and don’t sit and eat while working, get up and go for a walk, or do a burst of exercise to distract yourself.

Create a project schedule for yourself

There are typically different distractions when working from home. It’s still important to make a list of projects that you are working on and assign priorities to those projects. Sticking to a plan is easier when working remotely, because you are less likely to be pulled into unexpected meetings.

Socialize with co-workers

When you work in an office setting, part of your daily routine involves chatting with co-workers about non-work issues, whether it’s over lunch, brief chats in your office, in the bathroom, or whatever. While working remotely you can have meetings with co-workers, but they may be all business. Organize remote “happy hours” via Skype or Zoom, or just spent some time in a chat room talking about life, etc. You need to feel that you are still a part of the office culture, not just a “cog in a wheel”.

Remember to move

While you’re working onsite, it’s more likely you will have reasons to get up and move – to go to a conference room for a meeting, to chat with a co-worker in another office, etc. But when working alone at home, it’s easy to sit for hours and forget to get up and move. Try to get up and move for at least a couple minutes every 30-60 minutes. If necessary, set a timer to remind yourself. Walk up and down the stairs, run in place, do “jumping jacks” (nobody can judge you!), or just walk around the house, play with a pet.

Drink water

Just like any other time, it’s important to drink plenty of water. Keep a bottle of water next to you to sip throughout the day. This will also cause you to get up and move once in a while.

Create a hard stop

When you’re done for the day, be done – shut down your computer, turn off the lights, and leave your work area.   Unless there’s a good reason, stop checking your email on your smart phone throughout the evening.

Keep your evening routine

Stay with your usual evening habits. It’s time to relax, let your brain rest, and take care of yourself and your family. Read a book, catch-up on news of the day, go for a walk, etc. Now you have more time to relax, because you are not commuting and the days are getting longer, so spend more time outside.

Remember to go to bed at the same time and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Finally you can catch up on sleep!

Establishing good remote work hygiene is just as important as developing good sleep hygiene and it will go a long way toward making it a successful endeavor, whether temporarily or long-term.

For more information on a healthy lifestyle, schedule an appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000 or https://www.NewtownInternalMedicine.com

Reference. Kathi Head, ND, “10 tips for working successfully from home.” [1]