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At first, it may have seemed like a dream come true; sleep a little later…skip the commute…work in your pajamas if you feel like it. 

But working from home can quickly outstay it’s welcome. You miss the routine – the coffee breaks and kibitzing, the face-to-face meetings, all those busy, ringing phones – and given the uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis, there’s no way to know how long your work-at-home status will continue. 

Psychologists and productivity experts provide these tips for making the most of the time you are working remotely:

  • Choose a permanent workspace – It may be tempting to work on the living room sofa. Don’t do it. Create a workspace at a desk or at the dining room table and make that your dedicated workspace. It will help keep you on track and may even help remind family members to avoid unnecessary disturbances. 
  • Get dressed for work – Whether it’s office casual or shorts and a t-shirt, getting dressed rather than working in your PJs can help signal your brain to be productive.
  • Take regular breaks – Keep to a familiar routine, taking regular ‘coffee breaks’ and lunch hours. Those are the times to eat, snack, listen to music or tune into the news if you like – to take a few minutes to check in with family or phone a friend.
  • Stay in close touch – It’s likely there will be plenty of virtual meetings scheduled by your office during this time – and feel free to telephone managers or co-workers as needed in between meetings, just as you would if you were at the office. 
  • Separate work time and personal time – Time off is important, so don’t extend your regular work hours. Spend a ‘coffee break’ playing with the kids or the dog if you like. It’s one of the perks of working from home. When you wrap up your work day, take some time to make a mental transition, then enjoy the evening with family or on a Zoom chat with friends. 
  • Exercise and stretch regularly – You may be missing your gym workouts, but getting some exercise while sheltering in place should still be part of your daily routine. Stretch regularly during the workday. Take a walk before or after work, or during your designated lunch hour.