How to Work from Home During the Coronavirus: TIPS FOR STAYING MOTIVATED, SANE & PRODUCTIVE

apartment comfortable contemporary couch

Photo by Pixabay on

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a slew of companies, including the PURE Corporate Office, to work remotely during social distancing periods. Working from home definitely has its perks, but it also requires a few adjustments if you’ve never done it before. It can be difficult to stay motivated, focused and productive when you have distractions like kids getting cabin fever, daytime TV, a potentially noisy partner and laundry visibly piling up right before your eyes. But don’t worry, if you’re wondering how to work from home during coronavirus, we got you.

In fact, you may find that the silver lining of COVID-19 is just how much you love working from home and the extra time in the day that you save otherwise commuting. These expert tips can help you make the most of your work-from-home time—so you have more time to play when you log off.

  1. Maintain a Routine

“Keep your routines as best you can,” Janel Dyan, executive brand strategist and author of Story. Style. Brand. Why Corporate Results Are a Matter of Personal Style warns. “Too much ‘downtime’ is not a good thing when times are uncertain, and keeping your usual routines helps us have a sense of control. Wake up and go to bed as usual, eat healthy, manage your work hours and find time to do the things that you always do.”

  1. Make Sure You Have the Right Gear

Jono Bacon, CEO of Jono Bacon Consulting, community strategist and author of People Powered: How Communities Can Supercharge Your Business, Brand, and Teamspoints out that a lot of us suddenly relegated to working remotely don’t always have what we need. He recommends the following to be efficient and comfortable outside of your usual office setting:

  • A computer and high-quality Internet connection that can (where possible) support video-calls
  • A desk for your computer, papers, and other items (standing desks are becoming increasingly popular as an option)
  • A comfortable, ergonomic chair
  • Ideally, a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse (to reduce eye and wrist strain)
  1. Test Your Tech and Keep It Secure

Be sure you can actually physically do your job from home! “If you aren’t already quarantined by now, test your ability to effectively send emails, access and edit documents, access all applications, answer phone calls, and use your webcam for video chats, and make a note of any issues in advance so your company’s IT team can resolve,” Heinan Landa, CEO of Optimal Networks and author of The Modern Law Firm: How to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Technological Change recommended. “To ensure a secure workspace, if you can, use company-provided equipment that has centralized and up-to-date anti-malware, backup, screen lock, etc. and don’t let kids or family on it. For critical applications and accounts, be sure to use two-factor authentication; never use WiFi without using a VPN (Virtualized Personal Network); stay vigilant against suspicious emails or phone calls that ask for personal information; and stick to official health websites when communicating important messages about the pandemic to your team.”

  1. Get Dressed …

Bacon recommends getting dressed when working from home to create structure for yourself and help you stick to your schedule. “Always get dressed, always make time for breakfast and lunch, and take breaks,” he said. “You are not a robot. This solidification of the schedule will make your work feel more predictable and managed.”

  1. Or Don’t

Listen, pants aren’t for all of us. Don’t feel bad about it! “Embrace the mess. I see a lot of people advising others to ‘get dressed’ and ‘look the part’ for the new virtual office hours,” Miri Rodriguez, creative journalist for Microsoft and author of Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story says. “If we’re gonna be honest, attempting to recreate an IRL working experience during these stressful times will only add to the stress. Instead, go with the flow that feels best for you. Your dog might be barking in the background. You may be on the phone while also trying to put puzzles together with your toddler. It is all messy and it is alright. These are not normal times, so it’s OK to not be normal. Besides, normal is just a setting on the dryer.”

  1. Plan Your Distractions

Brooklyn psychologist and author of #AreYouHereYet: How to STFU And Show Up for Yourself Dr. Tony Ortega recognizes that you’re inevitably going to get distracted—so do it in a more efficient way as a means of rewarding yourself. “Set you timer and dedicate 20 minutes to your work task. Then set you timer to five minutes where you can distract yourself with something mindless like TikTok videos,” he recommends. “By doing this, distractions become purposeful and not a means to deviate from work.”

  1. Maximize Your Productivity Peaks

Now that you’re not spending time commuting to and from the office, you may find that the hour you normally spend driving to or from work is actually when you’re most efficient. Since you have more time, pay attention to how you use it, Dr. Ortega recommends. “Chart your most productive times of the day while you are working from home. This will later help you when you return to the office,” he says. “While you work from home, this can tell you what time of the day to tackle the important tasks and which ones to leave for other times of the day. Get to know yourself. You have the time!”

  1. Set Clear Boundaries Between Work and Play

    silver and black camera silver and black laptop blue ceramic mug

    Photo by Alexander Mils on

Working from home, especially if you aren’t used to doing so, can blur the lines between when you’re working and when you’re off the clock. Do not let this happen! “Set very realistic work-life boundaries,” Dr. Ortega says. “If you ware anything like me, you likely don’t stop until your body tells you to. This is the time to really hunker down and set a balance as it will seem difficult working from home. Have a set cut off time every day when work you ends and person you begins and vice versa.”

  1. Sequester Yourself

While you’re social distancing from the world, extend that isolation into your own home while you’re working, Bacon advises.

“Ideally, your office will have a door that you can close when you are at work. You need to be able to signal clearly to your family, roommates, and anyone else that when you are at work you shouldn’t be disturbed,” he told us. “If you don’t have a separate room, set the expectation with other people that when you are in front of the computer or at your desk during your working hours, you should not be disturbed. You should be intentional about this expectation so everyone is clear.” You can try wearing headphones during this time, or sitting in a designated place (if you don’t have a desk) to send the message.

One warning: “As a general rule, avoid lounging around on the couch or lying in bed with your laptop to work. Part of the goal here is to build a routine, and part of it have a dedicated place and time where you work,” Bacon notes. “This will also help to ease the mental separation between being at work and unplugging when you finish for the day.”

  1. Take Turns with the Kids—and Give Someone in Need a Break

If both you and your partner are working from home, keeping your kids entertained can be like a second job for both of you. Balance is key. “Stagger childcare with your partner—kind of like the person on look out,” Dr. Ortega says. “While one works, the other does the childcare. If you have children and are working but don’t have a partner, hire someone temporarily who is in the entertainment or food service industry (who are all basically out of work and income at the moment) to watch your children.”

  1. Find an Online Side Hustle

Relegated to your laptop for the time being? Find ways to make income at home. For PURE IBOs (Independent Business Owners) this is a great time to reach out to potential customers online, as many people are working from home and connected in ways they may normally not be. Take advantage of the shift in people’s schedules to connect with others who may have more time on their hands and are also dealing with the new ‘normal.’

  1. Check in Often

Checking in while working remotely isn’t to keep tabs on your employees (if you’re a boss) or to make your boss know you’re working and not Netflix bingeing (if you’re an employee). It’s to maintain a sense of teamwork and humanity! “Simply asking the question, ‘How are you doing?’ with genuine interest goes a long way,” Julie Kratz, CEO of Next Pivot Point and inclusion expert, says. “Listen with empathy and respond with statements like ‘I am sorry to hear that’ or ‘I am so glad you shared that with me.’”

photo of woman using laptop

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

13. Remember—and Remind Others—That We’re All in This Together

Maggie Craddock, president and founder of Workplace Relationships Coaching, urges all of us—from entry level newbies to middle management and C-suite execs—to create a sense of safety and collaboration during this time of crisis. “One of the ways that the Titanic survivors beat the odds was by adopting the mindset that they were all in it together. No one was to be left behind,” she says. “This tone of unity helped these brave individuals beat the odds by tapping into a shared sense of hope, loyalty and courage—inner resources that are hard to quantify in monetary terms but priceless to us all when we grapple with unexpected change.”

Be especially mindful of your communication during this time. “Give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly when you are working remotely,” she told us. “If they react in a manner that seems dismissive or defensive, remember that this person may be trying to deflect overwhelming feelings of vulnerability through temporary displays of false bravado. Strive to maintain a tone of gentleness in terms of your expectations of others, and of yourself, as we all pull together.”

*Tips courtesy of Parade Daily