New to Working From Home? Here Are Tips From a Viral Twitter Thread
With more folks working from home due to coronavirus, people on Twitter are offering some helpful tips.
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpasses 600 (at the time this article was published), many companies are encouraging their employees to work from home to help prevent the virus from spreading. But while working from home can feel natural to some, others are struggling with the transition to this new lifestyle. Now, there's a viral Twitter thread offering some helpful tips on how to make working from home work for you.
On Sunday, planetary scientist Emily Lakdawalla asked experienced remote workers on Twitter to share some "tips for working effectively and avoiding distractions" while working from home, and people delivered.
Friends, there are going to be a lot of people newly working from home starting this week, and it will be a difficult transition for some. *IF AND ONLY IF you are experienced at working from home*, please reply with tips for working effectively & avoiding distractions!
— Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) March 8, 2020
Cosmologist and astroparticle physicist Sophia Gad-Nasr suggested leaving the phone in another room and putting it on silent for hours, filling your room with light and avoiding the bed if it's just going to make you sleepy, and, of course, pretending the TV doesn't exist.
She also recommended using headphones or earplugs, especially if you live with another person.
I work from home most of the time anyway. My advice:
•stay away from the TV
•if your bed triggers nap mode, work in the living room. If not possible, fill room with LIGHT (natural, or desk lamp)
•keep your phone on another desk and put on silent for the hours you plan to work
— Sophia Gad-Nasr (@Astropartigirl) March 8, 2020
Geophysicist and science communicator Mika McKinnon advised setting work hours and sticking to them, otherwise it can be all too easy to procrastinate with errands and chores.
Set & stick to work hours. You can split hours morning/night with afternoon "off" or timeshift, but still have set hours or you'll constantly get derailed.
It's easy to get distracted by flexibility to take a social call, duck out for an errand, or procrastinate with chores.
— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) March 8, 2020
McKinnon also said if you find your mind wandering, pick a short activity that will help you refocus, like showering, taking a walk around the block, or even having your own mini dance party.
Pick a healthy reset & refocus task to get back on track.
It can be a stretch break, walking around the block, sweeping the floors, having a mini dance party, showering, whatever as long as it's short & defined. Otherwise you'll idle by snacking & browsing social media.
— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) March 8, 2020
Filmmaker and software designer Aharon Rabinowitz is a strong supporter of the "1 o'clock pants rule," which mandates that you change out of your pajamas by the early afternoon.
1 o'clock pants rule – you have to be wearing pants by midday and it can't be sweatpants or any other kind of drawstring pants.
I'm not even joking. You don't have to dress formally, but get out of your pajamas. It makes a huge difference in your mental state.
— Aharon Rabinowitz (@ABAOProductions) March 8, 2020
Some people even recommended having separate sets of pajamas, one for work and another for sleep.
This is huge for me, even if I'm just changing from night pajamas to "day pajamas" (leggings, comfy top) – it's still a shift into a different mode.
— Karen Plaisted (@full_escape) March 9, 2020
Of course, not having children helps.
Refrain from having children.
— Thomas Dixon (@ProfThomasDixon) March 8, 2020
And cats are the enemy.
Make a cat-proof barrier around your keyboard.
— Radha Venkat (@AhdarTaknev) March 8, 2020
Seriously, no matter what you do, cats will find a way to walk all over your keyboard.
I read one guy's suggestion that you put out a broken keyboard so the cat can have it's own. Turns out it doesn't work if you have two cats. pic.twitter.com/lvqgRetNkX
— Gail Edington (@GailEdington) March 8, 2020
It's also important for anyone you're sharing the house with to realize that working from home means working from home.
It is crucial that both you AND ESPECIALLY your spouse/partner understand that though you are working from home, you are "at work" and can not be expected to do household chores, pick up after kids, etc. (spent 9 years working from home; it took a year for spouse to grok this)
— Dr Heidi B. Hammel (@hbhammel) March 8, 2020
And, finally, as important as it is to clock in, it's also crucial to remember to clock out. Making a plan to walk the dog at 6:30 p.m. or go to a yoga class can help your brain realize the work day is over.
Lots of replies focus on productivity and how to switch into work mode. Very few on the end of the day.
Make sure you have a routine that marks the end of the working day to replace your commute. You need and deserve to 'switch off' again.
— Lanterne Rogue (@Canocola) March 8, 2020
It might take a little time to adjust but, once you do, you may never want to come into the office again!