It's a strange feeling being a freelance writer these days; millions of people around the globe are waking up each morning, and are suddenly facing the new work-from-home reality that we've been doing for years.
With that in mind, I think that all of us are uniquely qualified to give everyone that's suddenly in this new situation some helpful tips on how to work from home - and not go crazy - while the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak. Want to learn more? Here are some things to do, and things NOT to do, while you're working from home during this crisis:
DO: Dress professionally every day.
You might think that one of the benefits of working from home is that you can dress in that old INSERT COLLEGE NAME HERE sweatshirt, yoga pants, and fluffy bunny slippers. It's okay to do that - up until your workday starts. At that time, dress at least to the "corporate casual" level. Not only will that help when it comes to video conferences, but it's also a significant psychological boost for productivity; the more professional you dress, the more professional you feel, and the better your work will be.
DON'T: Eat all the junk food in the house.
The temptation is there. I've dealt with it. Those Cheetos, Oreos, and peanut-butter pretzels are just calling your name. Try as best you can to eat healthy within the grocery/supply restrictions in the world these days. Cook meals with vegetables and proteins that give you the energy to last throughout the day, and save the junk food for what it is - a treat.
DO: Get exercise and fresh air.
Again, within the specific restrictions of the outbreak, get outside and get your exercise as best you can. It's a real temptation to turn into a couch potato and lose yourself in a Netflix marathon or two. That's a recipe for disaster. Go for a jog, take some walks, bring the dog out for a nice long stroll - get as much of the outside as you can. Being cooped up all day can take its toll. Oh, and exercise is crucial. Try some new things. Clear out an area for yoga, push-ups, or sit-ups, and be sure to follow an exercise regimen every day. Check-in with your gym or your trainer; a lot of them are providing virtual instructions and classes (my gym, Everybody Fights here in Boston, is exceptional with that) to help you get through this time.
DON'T: Just focus on work.
Give yourself time for breaks during the day to do something else. I'm learning French on Babbel.com (it's going well, I can now translate that one part in "Psycho Killer"), I'm writing a screenplay, and I'm unpacking the rest of the boxes in my new apartment. Just take some time out of the day to do little things around the house or some stuff for your mind. It'll help you give your brain a break.
DO: Take the time to take care of little things.
All of those little things you don't have time to do in the office - with all of its associated distractions? Do them when you're working from home. Work on getting your inbox down to zero unread messages and clear out all those "promotional" or "update" emails. Update your resume! Now's the time to gather all the samples of the work you've been doing.
DON'T: Let the opportunity go to waste.
Are there professional development offerings with your company, delivered in a virtual form? Now's the perfect time to take advantage of them. Additionally, see if your organization will spring for other professional development opportunities - online programs, degrees of higher learning, and other certificates. Not only will this help pass some of the downtimes during this strange period, but it will also show plenty of initiative and motivation to your organization's higher-ups. Always a good thing!
I know how weird this period must feel. By adopting a few of these do's and don'ts, you can help the time feel just a little bit less strange. Good luck with the work-from-home life, everyone!
About the Author
Experienced journalist, writer, PR professional, marketing professional, and cat juggler*. Veteran content producer. *That one's not true. Yet.
Michael N is a freelance writer who writes about lifestyle and travel.