Working from home or ‘hardly’ working from home?

The scourge that is Covid-19 or the Coronavirus, if you prefer, continues to cause disruption to our lives and many of us find ourselves working from home as mandated or strongly suggested by our employers. If you have never worked from home before, you may finally discover that the grass is not significantly greener. And if the grass inside your home is truly greener, it may in fact be some sort of fungus which you will want to address prior to beginning your work…

Back to the topic of working from home during these times, the following are more thoughts based on science, practicality, experience and whimsy (and are not completely dissimilar from yesterday’s suggestions on surviving prolonged confinement with young children):

  • Maintain your routine. When working at the office you woke up at 6am, brushed your teeth, worked out, had a cup of coffee, got clean, dressed and went to work. Now we only need to change the last. Add quiet time, reading, prayer and/or organization to replace your commute time, then get to work.
  • Create a workspace (that is not your couch in front of your big screen TV – don’t be the guy in the photo…). We are wired for habit and association. Designating your workspace will help you prepare for productivity when you get there. A portion of the kitchen table can work well as a home office if no specific space is available.
  • Following up on the first point, stick to a schedule as much as is possible. However, know that there are naturally more distractions at home than there are at the office. In that sense, allow yourself to indulge from time to time and acknowledge that you will drift as you see things that need cleaned are asked questions or are drilled by a nerf arrow to the back of your cranium…
  • Take care to mind the mental health trinity – diet, sleep and exercise. Notice how none of these involve your thoughts or emotions? Our bodies and minds are integrally connected and making sure that we are physically healthy frees our minds to focus on the matters of the day and to be more present to our loved ones.
  • Take breaks to get outside for a walk, watch an episode of a show, listen to a podcast or make a great new playlist. There is no federal requirement that you transfer your level of workplace boredom to your home office, so grant yourself some indulgences as you change the environment.
  • Reach out to colleagues and friends – in fact, schedule phone calls and Facetimes. One of my greatest worries about Covid-19/Coronavirus is the impact of social distancing which can lead to social isolation. The latter just so happens to mirror symptoms and tendencies of anxiety and depression. If you can’t meet in person, schedule time to commiserate and laugh about the situation through other means.
  • Be grateful. Use this time to get closer to family, re-establish old friendships, slow down and reassess your commitments. You may be able to even ease the mileage totals on your car lease and avoid the awkward water cooler talk. Also, though the grass may not be greener at home, not everyone has the ability to work from home right now, so be thankful that you can and be sure to thank those who can’t when you are able.

We’ve had some great feedback thus far on topics for future blogs which will include how to handle being away from campus and transitioning to online learning for college students and managing the stress of working for a business that was mandated to close.

Keep the suggestions coming and please reach out if we can be of any help. We are all experiencing these strange times together.

Be well.

2 thoughts on “Working from home or ‘hardly’ working from home?”

  1. Kate says:

    Dr. Luis,

    I so enjoy your blog because it’s like talking to you! I love that you find the good and the humor as we adjust to or new daily lives.

    1. Tim Luis says:

      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts! Humor, optimism and faith in humanity will help us all through these uncertain times.

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