We’re in a new era of extended remote work. For many businesses in the Pittsburgh areas, employees are working remotely full-time for the first time ever. Moving unexpectedly into a 40-hour work week from home can come as a bit of a shock and adjustment, especially when that includes other family members and children in the same house. 

Since many of us have been working from home for a week or two now, here are some tips to survive — dare we say, thrive? — while working from home for an extended period.  

Wake Up at the Same Time That You Normally Would 

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Keeping your usual schedule can provide some normalcy. Since you’re saving time not having to commute in, that gives you an extra 30-60+ minutes in the morning to yourself. You can use this time to read, workout, watch the news, or spend time with family. You’ve got extra time in your day now — what’s the best way that you can use it for a great start to every day? 

Keep Consistent Office Hours 

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A term that comes to mind is “optics.” Your coworkers and manager aren’t physically seeing you come into the office now, so there may be a perceived pressure to be responding at all hours. Our recommendation is to maintain your same work life balance. If you’re known for coming in early to leave early, keep that same schedule. 

Set Up a Separate Work Zone

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Now is an important time to keep your work life and your home life separate. While you’re working in your house, it can be harder to disconnect. Set up a separate area for work. If you can’t turn a room into a temporary office, try to carve out an area of your home that can be dedicated to your job. Decorate it and make it feel cozy. When your work day is over, close that computer shut, leave your workspace, and be mentally at home for the rest of the day.

Embrace Video Calls

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Yes, everyone will probably be wearing leggings or sweats. Yes, no one on the call may have washed their hair in days. We’re all in the same boat. It’s still nice to see familiar faces and get that face-to-face interaction through video conference calls. It also makes you focus since it’s harder to multitask when you’re on video. For important conference calls, and when you want to chat with your favorite co-workers, go for video. 

Get Active With Online Workout Classes

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Make sure that you’re staying active. Yoga, zumba, and pilates can all be done at home. It’s easy to find free virtual classes online. Many studios are offering live classes so you can still feel like you’re working out with a class. And don’t feel like you have to stay inside! When the weather is nice, get some fresh air outside. Try to get a workout in before work, over your lunch break, or when the workday is over. 

Take Breaks Throughout the Day 

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Be sure to get away from your desk for a dedicated lunch break. Take 20-30 minutes to get up, stretch, go for a walk, and eat. If you can, consider taking a phone call while you’re on a walk outside. Try not to spend hours and hours sitting. Getting up and taking a few steps every hour is important, whether you’re working from home or in the office. 

Make Time for Water Cooler Talk 

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Did you know that a lot of innovation and creativity actually comes from casual conversations between coworkers? Chatting at a team member’s desk or talking over the community coffee station is important to spark new ideas. We don’t want to be missing out on this just because we’re all working from home. Consider setting up a virtual coffee break, lunch, or happy hour with your team to get the creative juices flowing. 

Check On Your Coworkers 

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This is an unusual time.We really can’t be over-communicating with our teams. Keep in regular contact with your coworkers. Meet more frequently than you otherwise would, and check up on people to make sure that they’re connected, happy and healthy. 

Thank You to the Employees Who Can’t Work From Home 

work from home tips covid-19

We recognize that not everyone has the luxury of being able to work from home. Thanks and heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of the essential business workers, healthcare workers, mail carriers, and restaurant owners who are working to keep our communities running during this time.

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Emily Munk

A Pittsburgh transplant, Emily moved to the city in 2016. She loves traveling, training for races, finding new places to eat (all for you, MadeinPGH readers), doing anything in the cultural district, and volunteering with Pittsburgh Young Professionals. In addition to being a MadeinPGH contributor, she is the senior content marketer for a Fortune 500 supply chain solutions company.

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