By Susan Hoffman
Managing Editor, Online Career Tips and Online Learning Tips
The current coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the normal workday as we know it. These days, we’re relying on technologies such as Zoom and Skype, sending more emails, and participating in more conference calls.
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Although some people haven’t minded saving gas on the daily commute or a slightly more flexible schedule, others miss being able to socialize with their coworkers. Still other people are feeling stressed by the simultaneous demands of caring for their children and elderly parents, coping with the demands of their job, taking care of household chores, and avoiding COVID-19 exposure through self-imposed isolation.
But there are various ways to make working remotely more pleasant, which in turn can help to reduce your feeling of isolation during this pandemic. These tips can make remote work easier to handle until you can go back to work in your regular work environment:
- If space permits, change your work location regularly. For example, alternate between sitting at a dining table or at your home office desk. Other options include working on a porch or patio.
- Build in some time for nature. For instance, work in a chair or on a sofa that is positioned to allow you to see outside. When you can, take a quick walk, even if it’s just to a store or around your backyard. The exercise will do you good by helping you to relieve stress.
- Consider using the Pomodoro technique. This strategy involves working in short, 25-minute sprints, then taking a five-minute break. After four sprints, take a longer break.
- Create household events to anticipate. Working remotely for long periods of time is easier when you have an event to look forward to, and these events don’t have to cost much money. For instance, designate one night a week as board game, movie marathon or puzzle night. You could also have an indoor or outdoor picnic or simply build time into your schedule to enjoy with your children.
- When there are young children in the household who need constant care, create shifts with someone else if possible. If your budget is tight because you’re seeking work and you need child-free time for uninterrupted video interviews, offer an exchange of services, such as doing some yard work in trade for temporary babysitting.
- Pick a coworker to call after work. One of my coworkers puts the names of people to contact into a hat. She picked out mine one week and called me just to catch up on how I was doing. Having that social time with my coworker in the evening helped to dissipate the feeling of isolation you can feel when you work from home.
- Take some time to relax and give your brain a break. Although it’s tempting to turn on your computer and work while your household is quiet, your brain and eyes need a break at times. Taking some time off, working on household projects, learning a new skill, or building a fort or an obstacle course for your children to play in can be relaxing and satisfying.
For the foreseeable future, working remotely will be our reality for some time until it’s safe to go back to a physical work environment. But this experience is also a way for us to form deeper social connections and to have a little more time to enjoy the precious moments of seeing your kids grow.
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