Working From Home: Ways To Stay On Task Self-Isolating
At Lamont Law, our livelihood is advocating for individuals whose lives have been forever changed by events which have affected their physical and mental health, so we take health very seriously!
Sarah, a legal assistant at our office, is currently in self-isolation and has been since Saturday, March 14, 2020. Sarah does not have symptoms and is self isolating out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure. In order to work from home, without access to our systems, Sarah wrote a blog post and is working creatively while we navigate the effects of the novel coronavirus.
You may also find yourself in a position where you need to transition from an office environment to working at home, and during this transition, you may be worried about the toll this may take on your mental health. You are not alone, and these concerns are valid.
Here are some tips Sarah has compiled to help with your transition:
Keep your routine as similar as possible
Keep your alarm set for the same time, and continue to go about your morning routine as usual. You may be tempted to roll out of bed just in time and work from the couch in your pyjamas, but you will feel so much better if you still shower, shave, put on makeup and get fully dressed. Of course, a perk of working from home is that no one will see you, so you can get a little more casual with your outfits than if you’re heading to an office space, so take advantage and stay comfortable!
However, you should still make an effort to pick an actual outfit to change into. If your usual morning routine includes a 15 minute commute and you usually listen to your favourite podcast, go for a 15-minute walk and listen to your favourite podcast! That’s an important part of your day, and it should continue.
Set up a workspace in your home, and avoid working from your bed or couch. If you don’t have a desk you can use for your office space, consider using the kitchen or dining room table, or get creative like me and clear off your make-up station! It will probably help your productivity to use a real mouse, as trackpads can be irritating if you’re not used to them. Try to keep as many non-work distractions away as possible.
If you have the ability to be near a window, let in the sunlight. Not only will the vitamin D do you well, but the schedule of the sun will help keep your internal clock in check.
Set a schedule and set boundaries.
When working from home it can be easy for the lines between your work life and your personal life to blur. Do your best to keep them separate. Your personal life is important, and should not be swallowed by the fact that you are now working from home.
If you always had the same lunch break, keep it! Try to eat similar to how you would at work, unless the ability to cook differently is something that will bring you joy.
Once your workday is done, make sure to put away your work. If you are someone who easily gets swallowed into working more, you may want to set an alarm for when to put away your work station.
Likewise, you should not do any personal chores or tasks during your workday. Separation is key to keeping your routine as usual and to keep those lines from blurring if this is not something you are used to doing.
It may be a great idea to refresh and decompress after your workday to help keep that separation, since you will no longer have to commute to get home. Remember that 15 minute walk in the morning before you started working? Do it again once you’re done for the day! This will help you feel the distinction between your workday and home life, and gives you a chance to get some fresh air.
Get up and move!
Your step count will likely go down if you’re not having to walk to the photocopier or other coworkers’ offices to ask questions and brainstorm. Make an effort to get up every hour or so to take a lap around the house or do some stretching. If you’re usually a gym goer and no longer have that option, it’s a good idea to do a work-out from home. If you usually use equipment at the gym that you don’t have at home and feel lost without, take a look on youtube for a routine you can follow. There’s something there for everyone!
It’s true for many people that there is a social aspect to being part of an office setting.
If you had a coworker you used to eat lunch with, you can call or video chat with each other at your usual lunch break. You can schedule time for a quick group chat with your coworkers that doesn’t include work talk in place of your “water cooler talk.” This social interaction is an important part of your day. Keep in touch as best you can!
Of course, these tips are not extensive, nor will everything work for everyone. Life is not one-size-fits-all. Only you know what’s best for you!
If you have any suggestions on working from home, please leave them in the comments!
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