Work From Home Resources
Transitioning to working from home is rough - it's normal to be less productive during this time. This is a good opportunity to practice being more forgiving and kind to ourselves while adapting.
Maintaining a consistent routine can go alone way in providing structure and familiarity in your day.
- Download the detailed weekly calendar of your choice:
- If you aren't taking any classes, structure your time around sleep. Try to maintain consistent sleep and wake times every day, including weekends. Sleep research says +/- 30 minutes of the same sleep and wake times. Try for +/-1 hour if that's too hard.
- Resist all temptation to take your laptop to bed and work. Reserve the bed for restful sleep and avoid reading, using electronics, doing work, or scrolling on your phone in bed.
- Keep your morning routine and change into a different set of clothes! It can even be a different set of pajamas or something comfortable. The important part is changing into a different set of clothes.
- Now that you're working at home, decide whether you value designated work hours or are want to work flexibly throughout the day.
- Activity: Schedule in the following activities:
- Morning and bedtime routines
- Breaks and time for hobbies
- Social time with others - planned phone or video calls, movies, online games
- Classes, if applicable
- View remaining blank spaces as opportunities to work, and feel empowered to choose to work.
Create a designated workspace! Just like changing clothes, having a designated workspace can help reduce distractions and help you choose to intentionally work. Not everyone will have access to the same amount of space and equipment, but try to make your workspace as distinct as possible.
See what can be incorporated into your space.
- Separate room for work
- Designated surface for work
- Separate work station or devices
- Separate logins for play/leisure and for work - actively logging in and out of one profile can help you distinguish when you are choosing to do work and choosing to take a break.
Are you only using a laptop? Consider more comfortable ergonomics where possible. This can include:
- Using a desktop
- Connecting your laptop to an external monitor
- Raising your laptop to eye level (no need to purchase anything fancy, a pile of sturdy books is fine) and connecting an external mouse and keyboard
Working at home with roommates and family members can be difficult. Sit down and talk with those in your household to discuss the following:
- Your anticipated work hours
- Situations when it's okay to disrupt you and when it isn't
- Indicators of when you are not available - closed door, headphones on, etc. Consider even putting up a sign, and don't forget to take breaks to chat with others!
Avoid vague goals that involve "doing as much as possible" or attempting to make up for lost productivity in past weeks.
It's important to acknowledge the effort you continue to put into your work amidst all of the new changes. Set concrete goals - meaning if someone asked whether you met your goal, you could say yes or no.
Phrase your goals using verbs that emphasize the effort you put into your work like start/try/attempt/engage in to help you get started and feel good about continuing to start your work! If you are struggling with this idea, pretend as though you are explaining what you do to someone unfamiliar with your work. Be detailed about what your task has you physically do - even if it's opening a specific program and thinking.
Feeling overwhelmed? Try starting with up to 3 items a day and take it from there.
Check-in with yourself - How are you taking breaks? Do you genuinely enjoy those breaks?
If you answered "browse the internet," that's fine, as long as you actually like it!
Use HALT to determine when you need to take a break. Ask yourself if you are feeling:
- Angry (or frustrated)
If you said yes to any of these, give yourself permission to take a 10-15 minute break and address those needs (get a snack, stretch, calling a friend, etc.) If you were angry or frustrated with what you were working on, give yourself permission to switch tasks when you return.
This can be a good time to revisit activities you previously felt you had no time for. Consider leisure reading, learning a new skill, doing arts and crafts, or even playing online video games with others. Give yourself permission to take longer, more meaningful breaks. Keep any items associated with these breaks within sight and make an effort to stand up from your chair and move to a different space when not working.
Social activities and connection have been shown to improve overall health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603716/). Sometimes, circumstances do not allow us to be physically close to our friends or family. Or, we have moved and have been unable to establish a support circle. This may require us to come up with some creative ways of staying in touch with others. Social connection is not just about the people we see and spend time with. It is about the relationships or networks we have with others, whether these be with neighbors, families, colleagues or online social groups. Here are some different ways of maintaining social connection while physically apart.
- Telephone: While sending a text message may be easier and faster, there is something different about hearing the sound of a familiar voice on the other line. Often times, complex matters or feelings can be conveyed more accurately over the telephone.
- Video Chat: Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, WhatsApp, etc. all provide opportunities for us to remain connected. You can set up a video session with one person or multiple parties. Arrange weekly check-ins with friends and family. Keep each other accountable with exercise and stretches by following the same workout routine together. Set up a virtual dinner date with friends or family. Try and follow the same recipe and share your results with one another.
- Virtual Board Gaming Platforms: You can continue to play board games with friends online using platforms such as the popular Jackbox Party Packs. Monopoly and Settlers of Catan can be played online. Play drawing games online using websites such as https://www.drawasaurus.org/
- Teleparty: Watch a show together with friends by downloading this extension https://www.netflixparty.com/
- Google Docs: Create a running list of suggestions with friends. You can share recommendations for movies, books, games, television shows on various platforms, local restaurants to order delivery from, or activities to preoccupy yourself or children with.
- Online Resources: Take an online course- many organizations are offering free webinars, tutorials and wellness courses. National parks, zoos and aquariums are offering tours via webcams.
- Yale's Happiness Course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being
- Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/
- EdX: https://www.edx.org/
- Learning How to Learn: https://www.classcentral.com/course/learning-how-to-learn-2161
- Free Online Ivy League Courses: https://www.classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs
- Google Arts & Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/explore?hl=en
- Louvre: https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne#tabs
- Vatican Museum: http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/tour-virtuali-elenco.html
- Space Center Houston App offers virtual tours and augmented reality experiences: https://spacecenter.org/app/
- Houston Zoo Webcam: https://www.houstonzoo.org/explore/webcams/
- Monterey Bay Webcam: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams
- Metropolitan Opera offers free performances online: https://www.metopera.org/
- Seattle Symphony: https://seattlesymphony.org/live
Reading: Maybe you don't want to do everything together over video chat but we still want to be able to connect with others. You can read a book on your own and discuss it with someone else who has also finished the book.
- You can join a virtual book club for a small fee https://www.quarantinebookclub.com/.
- Author Robert Macfarlane is hosting a reading group on twitter. Please follow #CoReadingVirus to learn more information.
- Virtual Listening Party available by clicking http://tinyurl.com/tweetspeaklive
Journaling: Journaling has been shown to be an excellent way to process our emotions and thoughts, which may be helpful during this period of uncertainty. You can also choose to use a shared document using Google Docs or Evernote to jot down your thoughts or silly quotes to share with one another.
Additional Resources (shared with permission):
- Leisure, Exercise and Creativity - Free Resources for exploring new hobbies amidst social distancing
- Establishing a Remote Learning Environment and Routine
Special thanks to:
Ariana Amaya, OTD, OTR/L - Program Coordinator of Integrated Studies at Gwynedd Mercy University, Pennsylvania
Halle King, OTD, OTR/L - Data Specialist at IDEAL at Lipscomb University, Tennessee