A Career Coach's Advice For Working From Home

Career coach Sarah Vermunt has tips on how to be most productive while working at home.

This week I’ve been working from my dining room and I’m guessing lots of you have been working from your dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and anywhere else you may find a space at home! Here are some tips on how you can make this adjustment a little more easy and a little less stressful if you’re not someone who’s used to working at home.

So many of us are used to having a physical separation between our work and the rest of our lives and we’re now finding how tricky working can be when that’s gone. There are a few things you can do to have a mental separation rather than a physical separation to separate the work you’re doing at home to the rest of your life.

Create a special work space

Women brainstorming in front of computer

Designate one spot in the house as the spot you do your work. For example that one spot where you sit with your laptop at the end of your kitchen table is your work spot and you sit somewhere else for when you’re having dinner, or enjoying some free time. This will help create some mental separation for you!

Put in earbuds

Put in earbuds while you’re working and put on some calm, soothing music or some sort of white noise so you can try as best as you can to get in the zone with work.

Create a ritual

At the end of your day, or the beginning or your day create some sort of ritual. At the end of the days that I’ve been working at home, I wash my face, take off my jewelry, and I change my clothes. It sounds so simple but it is actually very helpful! Something about the physical ritual of doing that helps tell me that the work day is over, I’m allowed to relax now, I’m allowed to slip into other activities.

Move a little bit more during your work day

So many of us are working with so much anxiety right now and you may feel like you’re not especially productive now and that’s ok! If you’re finding it hard to manage anxiety about the state of the world that’s really understandable. Something you can do to help yourself a little bit, is moving a bit more during your work day. Go for a run or walk at lunch, set a reminder on your phone to get up every 20 minutes or so. Create a little movement throughout your day so you don’t fall through this crazy rabbit hole of anxiety.

Turn off your wifi

A lot of people feel like they’ve been watching the news a little too much right now. It’s important to stay informed but some people feel like they’re spiralling after watching too much news. So they’re taking a break from work and using it to go on twitter, or check what’s going on but perhaps you want to try this experiment! For a stretch of time during your day, maybe an hour or so, turn off your wifi. You’re still accessible by phone call but turning off the wifi will help you resist the urge to tap and so many of us feel a heightened urge to do that these days. This might help to quell your anxiety to have these small moments of disconnect.

Create more opportunities for connection

How you’re working at home and who you’re working with at home might be impacting how you’re feeling. For example I live and work at home by myself. So these days because I’m so isolated, I want more connection! At the end of my day I’m having more phone dates, I’m reaching out to people in ways I wouldn’t normally reach out! I’m intentionally creating more opportunities for connection.

Create more opportunities for alone time

However you might be someone who has kids at home or a spouse at home who’s also working at home. In your case, you might be feeling over connected and you need a little bit of space from people. If that’s the case for you, you probably need to do the opposite of what people like me are doing. You need to create an opening to go outside, go for a walk, be by yourself for a while. This can be incredibly restorative!

Working from home right now while it’s stressful for some of us, is actually quite a privilege because there are so many people who cannot work from home or who’s hours have been cut and they’re not getting money right now. If you can remind yourself of this, it can really bring your anxiety down! We should be grateful that we have this option.

I’m sending you so many good vibes during this stressful time and I hope some of these tips help make your workday a little less stressful!