Tips and Tricks for Working from Home

Cheryl Lovstrom, Community Learning Network

1 2 19 May 2020

These are interesting times we are living in. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down and has us adapting to things we never dreamed we would. One of the biggest shifts in our CALP world has been the need to work from home. With our children. With our spouse. With our pets. How on earth are we supposed to be productive?!

There are so many websites giving advice on how to work from home - it’s hard to know which ones to follow. Not all tips work for all people, and we all have our own unique blend of distractions in our remote work spaces. There is no one size fits all solution, but there do seem to be some standard “rules” for success.

These are five common themes from a number of articles:

Get up and get ready for work. Start your day like you would if you were going into the office. Shower, get dressed, and eat a good breakfast. As much as possible, keep your work routine to help you stay focused. Have a dedicated workspace. Cue your brain it’s work time by using the same workspace every day. If possible, use a room you don’t “live” in and close the door when work is over. I actually work from my dining table most days, so I have a tub that gets packed up at the end of the day. Everything work related (including my laptop) goes into the tub and gets put away until the next morning. This small act really helps me to disconnect at the end of the day.

Set a schedule. Follow your regular work schedule as closely as possible. Set times for breaks and lunch, and keep to that schedule. It’s easy to get sucked into the computer and forget to come up for air. Set an alarm, if necessary, to remind you when the day ends. Be sure to respect your own time by shutting down at the end of your work day. Shut down your computer, turn off your phone, and put work to bed until tomorrow.

Practice self-care. Take time to take care of yourself. Take frequent stretch breaks; walk to the kitchen and grab a glass of water, take a bathroom break, stand up and stretch at your desk. Check out these healthy break tips from Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. This article was written pre-COVID, so you may have to pass on some of the activities.

Make sure you are well rested. When we know work is just a few feet from the bedroom it may be tempting to stay up till all hours binging our favourite Netflix shows, morning still comes early during the work week. In their article Mental Health Tips for Working from Home, the Canadian government recommends 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night, so be sure to give yourself the benefit of those all important zzzzzz’s.

And, finally, the most important work-from-home tip:

Stay connected. When we don’t share a physical space with our co-workers it’s easy to feel isolated and a little lost some days. We all have ups and downs, even without a pandemic, and it’s more important than ever to reach out to our friends. They are the patch when the ship we’re sailing springs a leak. So how do you do that when there’s no water cooler to gather around? Even from a distance there are still ways to stay close.

We all have the phone a friend option. Reach out by text or phone to your colleagues; bounce around ideas for a new class, or just spend a few minutes catching up.

Add a discussion post to the CALP Portal and connect with folks from around the province.

Think about a regularly scheduled Zoom (or favourite social media platform) call. Regular meeting times help everyone feel connected and are a great opportunity to see a friendly face. The CLN instituted a weekly check-in back in March and I look forward to our connection time every week. And there is usually at least one visitor (child, fur baby, spouse) to brighten our day. The biggest rule of online connections these days is if they make an appearance, you must introduce them. Just like public events, the only one bothered by your kids is you; the rest of us find them very entertaining wink

Everyday, take a deep breath, smile for the blessings we have, and put one foot in front of the other. We will weather this storm together, sailing our (sometimes leaky) boats alongside one another.

Want more information about working from home? Check out these online articles:

Cheryl Lovstrom
CLN Central Region RSS



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