Abnormally Normal: Guiding You Through WFH During COVID-19

March 26, 2020     |    

Welcome to our new normal. A reality we didn’t know existed two months ago now shapes how we work, communicate, learn, and raise our families. The status of COVID-19 is constantly changing, and with that everyone has to continue adapting to what humanity usually considers abnormalities. Now, it doesn’t have to be scary. For those who haven’t done this before, working from home (WFH) can be very fun! In this time of emergency, it is a great opportunity for preparation, social distancing, activity, meditation, and working outside of those comfort zones.

Personal Space

People have been isolated for weeks now, while others are just beginning this new phase of life. In fact, the most recent study from the International Workplace Group says 50% of global employees work outside of their office 2.5 days per week. It isn’t the time to lose your mind, but it is the time to find it. This may be the future of your work style for awhile. Here are some tips to help keep you productive and safe:

  • Why WFH: The CDC and local governments cannot stress enough that social distancing will slow the spread of highly contagious diseases, such as COVID-19.
  • How: The virus spreads mainly through coughing and sneezing. Cover up with a tissue or the inside of your elbow!
  • What you can do: by social distancing, you’re helping to protect our most essential resources for the sickest patients. You’re protecting your friends, your loved ones, and yourself from potential risk.

For more information, see 15 Days to Slow the Spread: The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America

Mindfulness During COVID-19:

Stress, anxiety, PTSD and depression are real things and long-term isolation can send people into a panic. Due to the nature of this virus, we recommend taking some time throughout the day for yourself. Whether it’s picking up a hobby where you left off or listening to a 10-minute session from Headspace, take some time to rest your mind. For more on mental health information see the CDC’s guide to managing stress and anxiety.

Make it Custom

Now, this isn’t your everyday cubicle, so make it yours! Start with a plan, then execute your new routine:

  1. Find a spot in your house or apartment that features natural light and minimal opportunities for distractions (i.e. preferably not in front of a TV). Grab your headphones and listen to motivating playlists or podcasts from applications like Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Apple Music to trigger your engagement and motivation.
  2. Active and ergonomic workspaces can be your best friend in angsty times like these. They promote good posture, drive collaboration, enhance culture, and positively impact productivity. Have you tried a standing desk? The simple act of standing burns more calories than sitting. There are different types, but the most economical option and one you can implement rather quickly is called an adjustable converter desk. You can use your existing desk or even your countertop and add a standing-desk converter or another platform. It sits on top of your desk and simply converts your work station into a standing workstation. Some use a small table addition while others stack old college textbooks. Get creative!
  3. Alternating is important. If you’re not interested in an active workstation, make sure to move around often and do not constantly stare at your screen. If you wake up, then sit down at your computer and start working, the day will go by too fast and you may completely miss aspects of your everyday routine such as showering, brushing your teeth, and eating lunch. Practice healthy habits.
  4. Don’t forget to decorate! Add finishing touches that scream your personality. Think about what to add to your home office that you might not have thought to include at work.

Stay Social

Being social doesn’t require face to face contact. Communication is key and while it may not be the same, video chatting for lunch, dinner or even virtual happy hours with your coworkers, family, and friends will not only relieve your virus anxiety, but help strengthen the support system, bond, and community that you have around you. Video chat apps include:

With change comes new opportunity. Seize your moment and your space. Stay home, stay healthy, and stay safe.

Written by Genna Lee, Digital Growth Specialist for the National Chamber Program.