Many of us are working from home because of the pandemic. As we move into fall and winter, it becomes even more important to stay indoors and avoid crowds. But working from home can be stressful and intense. The feeling of contantly being “on call” or plugged in and the lack of separation between work and family are both frequently cited as major stressors during these challenging times. This post covers tried and true methods to avoid burnout while getting your work done and balancing family obligations.
I spoke to three people from my network who shared their tips. The first, my daughter, is a graduate student. She studies and takes classes mostly remotely and has moved to a brand new city. The second is my friend Steve who manages a call center with all remote employees. Lastly, my neighbor Robin works for one of the automobiles companies here in Detroit shares her tips.
The Graduate Student
For Shannon, it is important to get up at a set time each day and go out for a walk. She gets dressed and walks her dog first thing in the morning. According to her, walking helps set the pace for her day and getting fresh air is a perfect way to kick off a day of sitting in front of the computer on zoom calls. She also plans regular study breaks with friends either by video conference or in social distant outdoor spaces such as walking trails and parks near her apartment.
The Call Center Manager
Steve shared several tips that are working for him. We were discussing how easy it is to get busy with meetings and calls and forget to eat. He sets a timer to remind him to get up from his desk and make a smoothie. By keeping yogurt and fresh fruit on hand, this is a great, quick and healthy way to get fueled. Eating healthy boosts your immune system and helps you avoid extra weight that often comes with working from home.
The Automobile Engineer
Robin has taught me many tricks for working from home successfully. My favorite is her strategy for mixing up her work space throught the day. In the morning, she sets up her computer in the family room and gets her day started with a cup of coffee while checking her calendar and e-mails. In the afternoon, she moves to her front room which has natural sunlight and serves as a nice pick me up to get through a busy afternoon of calls and meetings. She says that changing up her environment gives her a mental boost mid-day and helps her to stay focused. She also has a walking meeting at lunch time with one of her co workers. Walking meetings are more important than ever because we need the office socialization that we are missing and you can get some stuff done at the same time. Again, getting some exercise and fresh air helps avoid burnout and stress caused by repetitive conference calls and screen time.
I hope you find these tips helpful and would like to hear your strategies for staying well during the pandemic. Please use the comments to share your best practices.