11 best practices for working from home during COVID-19

As many of us settle into the realization that we must remain isolated for several more weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19, we can start to put structure around this new normal. HealthConnect Fellow Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel has worked with his team at Proteus, Inc. to establish practices that prioritize well-being and maintain energy while working from home.

Here are his tips to help you stay focused on the mission of your work, your team, and yourself through these uncertain times.

1. Find your routine.

Think about what you did before you started working from home. Did you wake up and shower, have a cup of coffee, and eat breakfast before heading into work? Keep up those practices now, or perhaps consider new routines you want to establish, such as working out each morning before diving into work. This can be your chance to develop those habits that will hopefully last when you return to the workplace.

2. Set boundaries between work and your personal life.

Set up a work space separate from your living area. Be clear with family and friends when you are working and make sure you start and end your designated work hours on time. When you are done for the day, truly be done for the day. Don’t be tempted to check emails or continue to check off small tasks.

3. Take breaks throughout the day.

We often forget how many little breaks we take at the office. Grab a cup of coffee, water, or tea and a snack (though watch out for over-snacking!) and spend a few minutes talking with family or working on a hobby before re-engaging in your work.  

4. Plan out your week and day.

Set goals to accomplish each week and map out what activities and projects you’ll work on each day. Have open communication with your manager or those you manage on what your work plans are and seek feedback in developing them.

5. Create a comfortable place to work.

Bring in things that give you comfort and help you feel safe while you work. Turn on a lamp, bring in a plant, or set out pictures.

6. Check-in with your team often.

Check in with your manager or with those you manage more often than you would in the office. Reach out to coworkers and ask how they are doing. Find opportunities to collaborate and connect.

7. Be flexible and compassionate with yourself.

As we all adjust to a new normal, we need to be flexible and adaptable to change. If you don’t like how something is going, try a new approach. And be compassionate with yourself when the day feels hard or you are struggling. Share the same compassion with others who are also adjusting and are perhaps juggling multiple priorities right now.

8. Be present and engaged in the world around you.

Spend time looking outside. Listen to the birds chirping. Find ways to get grounded in your daily life and to feel a sense of joy.

9. Get out of the house.

Fresh air is important to not feel so cooped up inside and to remain energized in your work. Take a walk or sit outside every day.

10. Practice self-care.

Identify activities that help you relax and re-center, like working out, meditating, lighting candles, taking a bath, listening to music, etc. and schedule those into your day.

11. Embrace your environment.

Use this time to grow your professional skills, spend extra time with your family, practice self-care, or reflect.

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