free event: interchange 2020With every personality assessment I’ve taken, it turns out I’m a scary amount extrovert. I enjoy being around people, I de-stress by being with people, and I rarely spend time alone. My work environment changed drastically amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, where I found myself working from home entirely and my social life becoming non-existent (hooray social distancing!).  

In the time I’ve spent alone, here are a few things that have helped me stay sane while working remotely:

1. Protecting my time

I know many managers are worried about employees slacking off and either napping or watching Netflix while they should be working. But I’ve found the opposite to be true, at least for myself.

Since working remotely, I’ve started my days earlier, am more likely to work through lunch, and will stay on “just a bit longer” at night to finish up a project. It’s important to stick to normal business hours while working remotely, and once the day is over, to shut your laptop off completely and not check email for the rest of the night. This can definitely be challenging but necessary. 

2. Add some background noise

Sometimes I have needed to trick myself into thinking I'm in the office! One way I have done this is by adding some background noise. You can do this by either listening to music or to a TV show you have seen a million times. This background noise can help you relax and focus on a specific assignment. Plus listening to your favorite song can lift your spirits and put you in a better mood if it’s been a particularly rough day at work.

3. Take time for “fun chat”

When I’m in the office, I often like to stop by and chat with my coworkers. Since being home, I have replaced those in-person office chats with online messages. It's also fun to hold virtual team lunches. These interactions are a good reminder that yes, we are indeed friends (not just coworkers), and that there is more to talk to each other about than work! I’ve heard some funny stories about everyone’s new “coworkers” and have even learned that one of our HR business partners is an incredible interior designer!

4. Surround yourself with items you love

It’s a small thing, but try to have your favorite items handy to create a nice ambience for your office. This can include your favorite smelling lotion, your favorite smelling candle, favorite gum, or favorite snack (hello balanced breaks!). Any of these things can make you feel more comfortable and help you relax in your new environment.

I’m happy to say I’ve adjusted to working from home, and although it was tough in the beginning, the above tips have helped me feel a bit more “normal” and become very productive from my new home office.

See more posts about remote working here.