Working from home during a pandemic can be wildly different from taking a day to work remotely because the repair man is coming to the house. Right now, many of our state leaders, including Indiana’s, are asking their constituents to shelter in place, so we can keep one another safe. And while this is ultimately for our benefit, it still can be a challenge to navigate a new normal, and you may wonder how to stay productive. Here are a few tips that the IHIE staff has found useful:

  1. Wake Up Early: Tip number one may seem extremely simple, but it is important to wake up early and prepare your day. This is a time to make coffee, cook breakfast, talk with your spouse and kids, and prepare your mind for a full workday.
  2. Get Dressed: Try to keep the same routine (e.g. brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed). Putting on clothes and doing your regular morning routine helps boost your mood and allows your mind to switch from “home” to “work.”
  3. Have a Designated Workspace: Find an area in your home that limits distractions, and if possible, has natural sunlight. If you have children, try to make this space separate from their e-learning space. The goal is to focus and limit as many distractions as possible. This is your opportunity to create the ideal work environment you have always wanted. Try to enjoy it!
  4. Plan Out Your Day: Make a daily agenda before getting started. Plan out your work schedule, the kids schedule, breaks and mealtimes. Staying on schedule will give you a sense of accomplishment, order, and can increase productivity. This isn’t just effective for your workday, but the entire day.
  5. Communicate Expectations: It is important that you and your family are on the same page. Co-existing in the same space can be chaotic or smooth depending on if you and your family are communicating expectations. Explain your schedule and theirs (if you have children), for example, is your office area a “do not enter” zone? Create a list of expectations and talk with your family about them.
  6. Take Breaks: Scheduling a break isn’t enough, you have to actually take it, especially if you’re the employee that always works through them anyway. Now, more than ever, it is important to step away for a second and give your mind a reset. After planning out when your breaks will be, you should plan what they will be (e.g. take a walk outside, exercising, meditating).
  7. Give the News a Break: Because of COVID-19, it is easy to get wrapped up in every new case, recovery, rumor, and finding that comes up, but it is important to give your mind a rest from the world’s current environment. The goal right now is to stay healthy—physically and mentally! So, during the workday, turn the news off and catch up after you have logged off.
  8. Socialize: No, this doesn’t mean invite friends over and have a work-from-home party–we still want to practice social distancing. This tip is to help you not go crazy in the house in the coming weeks. Come up with games and ideas to play virtually with your co-workers, start a group chat, have an online happy hour! Regardless of what you choose, try to do something that involves video messaging—face time can be therapeutic right now.
  9. Start on Time, Finish on Time: What’s one more hour when you’re at home already? I’ll sleep in 20 more minutes since I’m in the house anyway. It is easy to fall into that mindset since you are comfortable at home, but you need hard start and stop times to be able to maintain a healthy work/life balance. It is okay to work longer if needed, but make sure you plan it out and give yourself time for rest as well.
  10. Seek Resources: If you are struggling with the current environment and need someone to talk to, contact your human resources department or manager, and communicate that this is a hard time for you. There are many resources out there that may help your situation.


Do you have a tip that we missed? Share with @IndianaHIE on Twitter!


Stay Healthy!