How to Work From Home Without Losing Your Sanity

Workers across the country are stuck working from home, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The idea of working from home doesn’t sound too bad at first, but reality quickly sets in. Working from home is lonely, and the differences can take a real toll on your mental health. Here’s how to work from home without losing your sanity.

1. Take Breaks When You Need Them

No one in an office actually works eight hours straight. They take coffee breaks and lunch breaks, and they have conversations with co-workers to break up the monotony. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy these breathers from work just because you’re at home.

Home workers tend to keep working non-stop to fight the stigma that they aren’t working when they aren’t in the office. Taking a minute or two to yourself is a great way to keep your productivity up. Taking a break from your work can actually make you more productive. At the very least, it can give you a fresh perspective on a work problem.

2. Have Some Structure

It takes some time to adjust to working in a new environment. If you enjoyed bouncing around the office and using private rooms to get work done, you shouldn’t let yourself feel limited in your home. Some people like to work out of one place, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to recreate an entire office with different spaces in your house for different kinds of work. Sitting out on the patio could be suitable for emails while working in a quiet room is a great way to get intense work done. Don’t forget to have work-free zones in your house where you don’t do any kind of work.

3. Set Clear Boundaries

Set a clear schedule for yourself and make sure your boss and co-workers know it. Put your work equipment away at the end of the day and change into evening lounge clothes to get out of the work mindset. You can also be clear with people in the household who could be trying to get your attention during the workday. Let them know that you are working and let them know when you’ll be free to play with them.

4. Show Your Face

Use video calls over standard conference calls when you can. Video calls help you to avoid feeling lonely. It’s important that people can see your face – and that you can see theirs. Most modern laptops and computers come with built-in cameras, so you should be able to do this even if you don’t realize it.

5. Force Yourself to be Social

It’s not like you can hop over to another cubicle or office for a chat when you work from home. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any social interactions at all. Check-in with your manager or team regularly. You’ll provide people with the regular updates they need and can help them with problems they might be having, all while being social and keeping yourself sane. Don’t forget that you can still have a “watercooler moment” even without an actual watercooler.

Final Thoughts

Having to work from home is lonely, especially if you aren’t used to it. The most important thing you can do is be proactive in your approach to social interactions. Take time out of your day to have a break and catch up with employees or other people in the house.

Petra Cambell

Freelance graphic designer; I've been working from home since I left University 12 years ago.

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