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5 Tips for Adjusting to Remote Work

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

It has been months since schools and offices have closed -- and for many, they don't seem to be re-opening any time soon. If you are a student or a professional continuing to struggle with the adjustment to working from home, see these five tips for staying well during quarantine.

1. Focus on What You’re Consuming

Eating balanced meals with sufficient water intake is critical to sustaining energy levels and can have an impact on mental wellbeing. Keeping tabs on alcohol intake is equally as important -- even though alcohol may seem to provide immediate relief, it can exacerbate negative feelings.

But our consumption also goes far beyond what we eat or drink. Consider what you're consuming in the form of the news or social media, as these can have profound effects on our overall wellbeing too. If you're finding yourself overwhelmed by bad news or falling into the time-suck and comparison trap that is social media, it's time to take a long moment to unplug.

2. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will not only help your physical and mental wellbeing by keeping your rhythms in sync, but it’s also a great way to set some structure around maintaining a daily routine. Starting with a routine surrounding sleep, something you always do, is a great place to start as you organize your days from the time you get up, to the time you go to bed.

3. Take Frequent Breaks

It’s easy to lose track of time and feel fatigued as the day wears on. Taking short breaks -- even just 5 minutes -- throughout the day will help to keep your energy levels steady. Setting reminder notifications on your phone or computer can be an effective way to cue yourself to take a step away from your work. But if you're reading this now, it's the perfect time to practice! So go ahead and take your pick: close your eyes and take some deep breaths, get up and get a glass of water, do some jumping jacks in place, or stretch out your arms and legs.

4. Make an Intentional Effort to De-Role

When you're not going to and from a physical classroom or office location, it's difficult to maintain work versus personal life boundaries. Work bleeds into dinner and family time, sleep gets pushed back, you have no idea what time it actually is when your head finally hits the pillow...and the cycle starts again tomorrow. Marking the transition at the end of work is just as, if not even more important when working remotely. Whether it’s changing out of your daytime attire or switching physical locations from one room of your home to another, set an intentional act of "de-roling," or transitioning out of your “work mode,” to distinguish work productivity from personal life.

5. Find an Effective Stress Management Strategy

We’re all different and thus, we all have different ways of coping with stress. What works for one person may not be what works best for you. Figure out what works for you, and practice it daily by weaving it consistently into your schedule. Exercising, meditating, or journaling are all great places to start, and there are many more ways to de-stress!

Disclaimer: This website is intended as an informational resource from the perspective of an occupational therapist and should not take the place of professional medical advice.