Lady making a choice to stay sane working from home
People + Culture

How to stay sane working from home

Those new to remote work might find they are easily distracted, lack productivity, or worse, lose their sanity working from home.

Right now, we are engaging in the largest international work-from-home experiment. We just didn’t know that’s what this year had in store for us. So here’s how to stay sane working from home.

A new world of work

Those new to remote work might find they are easily distracted, lack productivity, or worse, lose their sanity working from home.

Freelancers and remote workers are well-versed in working in isolation. We’ve collected a few tips on how to stay sane working from home. They’ve been passed on to us so that we can now pass them on to you.

Man gets comfortable in his effort to stay sane working from home

Five tips to stay sane working from home

  1. Routine is your friend

In the absence of a set schedule, you can find yourself overworking or underworking very quickly. It’s also easy for the day to waste away without actually achieving anything on your to-do list, perhaps forcing you to work later than usual. Create a routine that works for your new schedule (which might include an outing for exercise or caring for children) and stick to it.

  1. Make a list of sensible tasks

Be kind to yourself. Changing your work environment may affect your output. Give yourself a little leniency in the first few days while you get used to your new normal. Create a consolidated list of tasks, starting with the highest priority items. Add to this list, only once you’ve completed all your tasks. Soon you’ll get a good idea of your new working speed and you’ll become a better judge of what you can commit to each day.

  1. Create a physical barrier for your workspace

This is a vital physical reminder of boundaries between your work life and your personal life. If you are working in a home office, shut the door to the space when work concludes for the day. If you are working in a makeshift office space, such as your dining table, pack up your space at the end of the day so your work items are out-of-sight for downtime.

Stay sane working from home and balancing school, the care of children and your job

  1. Check-in with your colleagues

Talks by the water cooler, office chitchat or pub lunch Fridays are all important facets that build workplace culture, boost morale, and keep you sane. It’s important you invest in translating this workplace culture into a remote culture. Schedule regular check-ins with your manager or direct team. Also consider utilising channels for ad-hoc conversations, similar to those in a normal office. Think Slack, Workplace Chat or even team messages on LinkedIn or Facebook.

  1. Persevere

Just like writer’s block, there will be times when you lack creativity or productivity. Just as you would in the office, take a breather but don’t stop working for the day. Try tackling smaller tasks or continue to problem-solve the project you’re stuck on. While you might not have the breakthrough, it’s an important step to train your mind to get into the rhythm of work.

  1. Self-care

Stop working to have a hearty lunch, keep a litre of water by your desk and don’t try to do it all at once. While juggling the laundry, an active toddler and your day job might feel like the best example of multi-tasking, it’s unrealistic and will lead to work fatigue (and burnout) very quickly! True time management is a conversation first with yourself, then your immediate household—working out available hours to mind children, for example—as well as your employers.


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