By Ariana Murillo, Intern
There are many ways to maintain a work-life balance while transitioning to working from home due to COVID-19. It can take some time for you (and your family!) to adjust to being at home for most of the day. It will take a lot of trial and error to develop a plan that works best for you.
Even if previous days seemed overwhelming or chaotic, ultimately, transitioning to remote work can help you have more control over your schedule with added flexibility. Here is a list of tips that can help you through this process.
- Separate parent and business roles
- Let your children know about your workday, such as any necessary business calls and video conferences. Remind them that they can still come to you if they need help or have questions. By developing boundaries with your children, they can feel confident in knowing you will only be working for a certain amount of time throughout the day.1
- Create a schedule
- This routine should be flexible in order to plan for interruptions. Some days your child might be understanding of your situation and other days they want to be attached at your hip. Give them the choice to either complete educational activities online, do arts and crafts or watch a movie. This gives children something to look forward to and are less likely to interrupt.
- Create a space based on your needs
- The office space can be located anywhere you feel the most comfortable. It is important to associate the space with work. Therefore, the couch and the bedroom should be off limits. Also, an area that has natural light can help improve health and wellness.3
- Get ready for the day
- Make your morning coffee and get dressed for the day. I do not wear a typical work outfit, but it helps to get out of my sweatpants. On the days that I am able to complete my morning routine, I feel ready to work from home.
For Your Mental Health
- Take breaks
- Inform your employer about any necessary breaks needed throughout the day. You could also ask about dividing up your lunch break if that works better for you. Step away from the workspace to focus on your breathing and check in with yourself. Use 5-10 minutes to recompose yourself and relax after completing a project or task.4 You’ll feel more refreshed and ready to take on the next assignment.
- Maximize your lunch break
- If you have time, try stepping outside or play with any of your pets. Another option is working out during your break. You can follow an online workout video that does not require any gym gear. You can also use the extra time to reorganize your space and declutter.
TREC Team Goes Remote
The survey center has transitioned to working together, but from home. As a team, we are staying connected through video conferences and check ins. During this time, I had to create an office space and constantly remind other family members about my availability. Although it has been challenging to stay productive, I have appreciated this time for myself. It is important to change up your schedule and address your needs based on the given day. Be prepared to adjust to different conditions and remember to take breaks!
This guide was inspired by tips written by Emily Cronkleton and reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI.5
- Jacobson, Rae F.M. (n.d.). Teaching Kids About Boundaries. Child Mind Institute. https://childmind.org/article/teaching-kids-boundaries-empathy/?gclid=CjwKCAjwt-L2BRA_EiwAacX32QdiUt-T1BoXL2kfrK7qXrWjI_LLARTDMRv2VIzJyYdk1_OqSfB9gBoCXp0QAvD_BwE
- Foster, Brooke. Lea. (2020, March 30). How to Master Working From Home-While Under Quarantine With Kids. Parents. https://www.parents.com/parenting/work/life-balance/how-to-master-being-a-work-at-home-mom/
- Shishegar, N., & Bouberkri, M. (2016). Natural Light and Productivity: Analyzing the Impacts of Daylighting on Students’ and Workers’ Health and Alertness. Int’l Journal of Advances in Chemical Engg., & Biological Sciences, 3(1),72-77. http://dx.doi.org/10.15242/IJACEBS.AE0416104
- Ten Brummelhuis, L. L., & Bakker, A. B. (2012). Staying engaged during the week: The effect of off-job activities on next day work engagement. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17(4), 445–455. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029213
- Cronkleton, Emily. (2020, April 1). 26 WFH Tips While Self-Isolating During the COVID-19 Outbreak. https://www.healthline.com/health/working-from-home-tips