Tips on working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Written by Gabrielle Rocha Rios, MA, MABP

It’s been over two months since the World Health Organisation officially classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, meaning that the new coronavirus outbreak became a global issue.

Since then, life as we know it has changed dramatically, with people in various parts of the world experiencing lockdowns, closed schools and offices, and shortages of products.

Many working people have been working from home for the first time - a transition that isn’t always easy or seamless. Sharing a workspace with a spouse and having to deal with children also staying at home are some of the challenges new remote workers have been dealing with.

While some countries are starting to ease lockdowns, the workplace may not look quite the same after COVID-19, and working from home may continue to be a reality for many of us.

As someone who already worked remotely before the pandemic, here are the 3 top tips I’d like to offer for anyone new to this way of life:

1. Remember to drink water and eat

This may seem obvious, but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gotten so consumed with work that I’ve forgotten to eat or even drink a cup of water. Without a rigid schedule (for example, a lunch hour at the same time every day), it’s sometimes hard to remember to care for my basic needs and to make sure I take a break.

To help me with this, I make sure to always keep a glass of water near me and schedule a lunch hour like I would if I were working at an office (for me, it’s usually between 1 and 2 pm).

2. Take breaks that don’t include doing housework

While this is a lot easier said than done (especially if you have children), I find that it’s crucial to take at least one short break per day to actually rest and not use that time to work on chores around the house.

Watching a short episode of a favourite TV show, phoning a friend, or playing with the kids for a while are some ways to enjoy taking work breaks.

3. Focus on getting work done, no matter how

I have been reading a lot of good advice for working from home during this pandemic that includes things like making sure you get dressed as if you were going out to the office and designating a workspace in the house. While I agree and have personally found that getting dressed (shoes included!) and sitting at my desk can be very helpful, many times I find it’s not realistic and that the pressure to do those things can be counter-productive.

If I’ve run out of clothes and haven’t done laundry yet but I have a deadline coming up, I’ll focus on getting the work done, even if it means getting it done wearing my pyjamas. If sitting at my desk is getting uncomfortable, I’ll sit on my bed or sofa and get work done from there for a while. Ultimately, it’s important that I get my work done, no matter how I’m dressed or where I’m sitting.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is finding out what works for you and your circumstances. We’re living through challenging and uncertain times, so be kind and gentle with yourself when working from home feels like a struggle. Even long-time remote workers like myself struggle from time to time, and that’s ok. We’re all in this together!

Gabrielle is a Brazilian American social/behavioural scientist based in the U.S. pursuing a Ph.D. in International Psychology. Her research focuses on premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in the work context. She is a member of the Youth Advisory Board at the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders, where she has also served as a translator and peer support provider. She has also worked on various projects related to menstrual health at work, and written extensively on human rights, gender, and mental health.

Link to website:

Twitter/Instagram: @g_rocharios

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