10 Tips to Manage Working From Home During Quarantine

A series of strategies on routine, health, and self-compassion.

Posted May 02, 2020

This post was guest written by Elissa R. Gross, Psy.D.

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Source: Getty Images

Has working from home during the quarantine been a struggle? Many people are feeling isolated, unmotivated, unfocused, and utterly exhausted; they also find it hard to separate "work time" from "home time."

It's important to remember that this is a time of major stress and transition. On top of our very real concerns about the coronavirus and quarantine, many people are working remotely for the first time; some also have children in the house throughout the day, making it hard to find the physical and mental space to get their work done. 

What follows are some strategies to help you navigate working from home during this quarantine.

1. Create a Routine 

Set aside time to eat breakfast, shower, and change your clothes before starting the day. Set alarms on your phone to signal break and lunchtimes. Set an alarm to signal the end of the workday, allowing about 30 minutes to wrap things up and to prepare for the next day. 

2. Transition from "Work" to "Home"

At the end of the workday, take a 15 or 20-minute break to transition from "work" to "home." Taking time to decompress will result in a more relaxed evening for everyone.

3. Pace Yourself

Figure out when you have the most energy and ability to concentrate and plan work tasks around your patterns. Do the most challenging tasks at your "peak" times of the day, and save the more menial tasks for when you have lost steam. 

4. Play to Your Strengths

Identify the length of time that you are able to maintain your focus and concentration. Plan to work in short bursts if this works best for you, or work for longer stretches to get things done.   

5. Stay Connected

To combat isolation and loneliness, plan some virtual lunch dates with colleagues or friends. If you have family members at home, plan to have lunch together on some days.  

6. Get Plenty of Sleep

Establish a bedtime routine so you will get to sleep at a reasonable time. Try to end screen time, a brain activator, about an hour before bed. Do something relaxing, such as taking a hot bath, drinking some sleepytime tea, or reading a book

7. Eat Well

Eat healthy and nourishing meals. Eating well will provide you with the physical energy and brainpower you need to get through each day. Stay well hydrated since dehydration can cause symptoms like fatigue, sluggishness, problems focusing, and irritability. 

8. Exercise

Try to incorporate some exercise into your days. A few walks or a short workout can be a great stress reliever and may also help you to fall asleep more easily. 

9. Take Time to Replenish

If you find yourself getting into a rut during the day, taking a break to replenish yourself can go a long way toward helping you get through the rest of the day. Go for a walk, snuggle with the family pet, or connect with a friend virtually. Watch something funny on YouTube or listen to an energizing song. Use some aromatherapy. Light one of your favorite scented candles or dab yourself with some of your favorite essential oils or hand cream.  

10. Have Self-Compassion

Go easy on yourself during this stressful time. When you feel that you aren't being as productive as you would like, remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can.

Remember that you are not alone. Reaching out to your support network can provide validation, reassurance, and a mood boost. If you are really having a hard time and would like additional support, many therapists are offering phone and video therapy sessions right now.  If you are in a crisis, call your local crisis hotline.