Stuck at Home? Tips and Tricks to Adjust to Our “New Normal.”

Top 3 tips for working from home

1. Find a dedicated work space, if you can. Try to keep your home life and work life separate.
2. Follow a morning routine.
3. Take breaks to avoid burn out.
More work from home tips are at the bottom of this post.

The kids are home for how long?! 
Experts say the key to success is creating structure. You might try to follow your child’s regular school schedule, or decide on a plan with a family meeting. There are number of sites that are sharing printable schedules like this one that is geared towards younger children. The Khan Academy has created schedules for all age groups

Here’s a list of on-line learning sites that may help.
1. Khan Academy – K-12th grade
2. Scholastic Learn at Home – 20 days of lessons for grades pre-K to 9th grade; up to three hours/day
3. Mystery Science – K-5th grade science lessons
4. TED-Ed – video lessons and series by top educators for all age groups
5. Amazing Educational Resources – this Facebook group has created an amazing public spreadsheet with resources for reading, math, history, Chinese, coding, music and more. 

Feeling anxious? It’s normal. 

Here are some things you can do to support yourself, your loved ones, or your roommates:

  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  2. Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  3. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  4. Connect with others either by phone or FaceTime. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Tips for working from home

  1. Find a dedicated space. If you have the space, it’s a good idea to use an area other than the kitchen table or the sofa. It’s much easier to separate work life from home life if you’re literally able to close a door. And sofas have been known to cause lower back pain after prolonged sitting. Did I hear an “ouch?!”
  2. Video conference. Assuming your bandwidth can handle it, turn on the video. It’s a great way to read facial expressions and other non-verbals that typically make up 93% of our communication. And this is a bit of a no-brainer… check out your camera and see what’s in the background to make sure you’re ok sharing that wall decoration with co-workers. 
  3. Plan in advance. Video calls are different than in-person meetings. Have relevant systems and files open so you can share your screen. It might be a good idea to close out any screens with private or confidential data, too. 
  4. Let your availability be known. In the office, we can see when someone’s free, we lose that, of course, when working remotely. Sharing when you’re available on your work calendar is a good idea. Instant messaging tools usually have the option to show when your free, busy or away for a bit. 
  5. Be proactive about staying in touch. Scheduling regular “touch base” sessions with one another are a good way to keep the communication lines open and respect other’s time by scheduling these in advance. Dedicated time reminds us to share information that we may otherwise forget.
  6. Don’t lose your work! It might be a good idea to check your applications and be sure they are set to “autosave.” This way, if you step away or get distracted (by kids, the dog, your spouse…) you’ll know your work is saved. 
  7. Keep confidential info confidential. Remember to shred your printouts and be respectful of our clients’ data. There will always be garbage pickers. If you don’t have a shredder, perhaps meditate while shredding with scissors. Of course you could also give it to your dog to shred. 
  8. Follow as much of your morning routine as possible. Wake up, take a shower, go for a walk/run…set your mind into the concept of being at work. 
  9. Do not disturb signs usually work. Of course if you have little ones, duck taping your door may be a better choice! 
  10. Take a break! Since most of us are locked up in a household that includes other people (who we love, right?!), take a 5-10 minute break when you can. Let them know they’re loved and heard frequently…after all, this is a stressful time for all of us.