Now Working From Home? Here’s How to Stay Productive and Calm!

We’re bringing you the hacks you need to help you get through WFH life.

Mar 24, 2020

If you’ve found yourself suddenly having to adapt  to a different daily rhythm working from home (WFH), and missing face-to-face contact with a human who isn’t related to you, here are some practical tips for optimally combining productivity with self-care, through it all!

Especially if you’re not used to it, it can be hard to channel the same level of focus that you might have in an office setting. Right now, many of you are also juggling with keeping the kids entertained, helping teens with homework, and have partners who are WFH too. At the same time, nearly everyone is living with the strangeness of quarantine life.

Routine is your friend!
Even people who are used to working everywhere, like George Clooney’s character in the movie Up in the Air, value boundaries in their non-office workday. Just as kids learning from home are being advised to structure their day to feel in control, adults need to differentiate between a time to focus, and a time to unwind.

Create defined work hours, so you don’t burn out. Many people working remotely suggest  allocating time slots to tasks to help get them done.

You may just be working in a corner of your living room, but more ordered surroundings can set the stage for a fruitful workday. Ideally, create this space away from your kitchen or TV!

While some may be tempted to reach for their laptop and just conduct their work from the comfort of their bed, sleep expert, Dr. Sophie Bostock, cautions that using your bed as a makeshift office is bad for posture, productivity, hygiene and sleep. It’s important to create boundaries between  “work mode” locations where you minimize distractions, and spaces meant for downtime.

But there are always exceptions! Because we live IRL, it’s okay to mix work and life when necessary. Don’t feel guilty if you feel like editing a document at 3 a.m. or if you need to  take a healthy nap to feel happier and feel more productive. 

Stay in touch with coworkers!
Remote working was a growing global trend well before this pandemic, made possible by the plethora of tech designed to keep people working as a team. WhatsApp is great for helping you feel connected, with video conferencing for up to four participants, for instance.

The media is talking about how the Zoom app, a video conferencing favorite, has expanded to help people (especially Gen Z) stuck indoors move their social and school lives online, but for many, Zoom is still where they go to work.

Without the coffee-making chat with colleagues that connects you to people, what do you do? You might like to set up “virtual water coolers” with coworkers over tools like Zoom for some light relief, and to minimize the feeling of social isolation.

Make self-care part of your WFH ritual
Carve some self-care into your day when WFH, especially with quarantine restrictions part of the picture.

Try launching your day with a self-care ritual like a short meditation or breathing exercise to leave you with a clear mind to deliver ideas and solutions during your day ahead.

If you’re on a screen for hours, make a point of getting up, doing stretches and incorporating bursts of movement every few hours. Just like in the office, allow your eyes to leave the screen!

And schedule breaks! Studies indicate that breaks can improve your ability to focus and let your body and brain relax. Share a hug with your kids or your fur baby! Call friends and elderly relatives or  neighbors to ensure they have all they need.

Your home surroundings offer luxuries you don’t always have at work, so use what’s around you: take a refreshing shower, or just sip your beverage on your patio.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Janette Ponce (@janettesnewlife) on

Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. While you don’t need elaborate meals, stock your fridge with fresh fruit, cut up veggies, hard-boiled eggs, greens and proteins such as tuna. Planning meals and even snacks ahead of time makes it easier to eat mindfully and healthfully. Also, plan workouts into your schedule to get away from your desk.

Studies remind us that nature is uplifting. Try positioning your desk by a window for energizing natural light. If you don’t have a garden, open the window and listen to the birds, even if you’re in the  middle of a city.

Working from home with family [and fur babies!]
The reality of WFH every day alongside your kids will be something of a shock to parents used to occasional days at home when their kid is sick.

Julie Morgenstern, a New York productivity consultant and author of Time To Parent, says structure and routine can help you when  everyone feels unmoored. She suggests that your regular office hours become “your edges”,  while the extra two to three hours you spent commuting and getting ready can now be dedicated to self-care and family relationships.

Set boundaries with your children (and pets!). Older kids can learn that their parents need to be in a “do not disturb” mode when they’re working. Guy Winch, psychologist and the author of “Emotional First Aid”, suggests parents plan who keeps an eye on the kids and when. People with younger kids, especially if they are single parents, tend to get most of their work done during nap times, when kids are watching TV or other screens, and after their bedtime. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I survived my first week of working from home on a make-shift desk in Ophelias room, coffee as thick as gravy and don’t be fooled, my eyes are not sparking, that’s eye drops. . . Now... that week was simple. I can do that. Easy. . . NEXT week... I will also be working from home... avec a 5 year old, borderline adhd babestation otherwise known as my daughter Ophelia. . . Things I hope don’t happen: a) she shouts BASTARD while I’m on a Skype b) she takes her clothes off in the background while I’m on a Skype c) she pours any form of liquid on my laptop d) the causes utter chaos the second my back is turned while I try to do SOME form of work... . . I mean... what could go wrong?!? ???? . . (Also I am so incredibly lucky that I work in a sector where I can and often do work from home and still earn my salary. But any tips / tricks any of you have for helping juggle that at the same time as solo caring for a 5 year old would be so very appreciated)

A post shared by Laura (@mama.massive) on

When it comes to work life, it’s best to be transparent that you’re also parenting. Be as proactive as you can about avoiding incidents like that interrupted TV interview in the video!

Meanwhile, people WFH with partners and flatmates can try some “social distancing” to help navigate WFH together when home has to be a new take on WeWork!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
New Research Suggests a Nap May Significantly Boost Your Health!
9 Inspiring Hacks for Your Stay-At-Home Life!
10 Apps For The Calm You’re Seeking Now

DAPHNE KASRIEL ALEXANDER, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.