Juggling Remote Work During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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March 23, 2020
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With much of the country working remotely when possible as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, people are being forced to adapt to a widely different work environment than they’re used to while maintaining high levels of productivity. For many people who are suddenly work-from-home employees, the adjustment can be quite tough. Between distractions and the temptation to lounge around, it can all be too overwhelming to get the job done. Here are some tips for juggling working remotely and keeping your sanity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Handling Anxiety During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Let’s face the facts of our current reality: there’s a serious coronavirus pandemic that is both incredibly contagious and potentially fatal. This might make one think, “Well, I’m already anxious about the coronavirus outbreak, and now you’re making it worse.” However, this is beings said for a reason. We must accept our reality, acknowledge our fears, and then proceed to make the best of that reality. If you’re anxious about the coronavirus and it’s affecting your work-from-home life, or your life in general, there are a few things you can do.

Give Yourself Grace

Now more than ever, it’s important to give yourself grace. Allow yourself to be fearful and anxious. Don’t lean in to those feelings, but instead, treat yourself as you would treat a friend or loved one. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for your anxious feelings, and be gentle instead of frustrated when you get overwhelmed.

Practice Self-care Before, During, and After Work

Self-care is critical in a time like this, particularly because the outcome, length, and severity of the coronavirus is still up in the air and yet to be seen. Do what you need to do to show yourself love. After you finish working for the day, you should engage in the forms of self-care that make you happiest and most relaxed. Not to mention, you can even practice self-care while working. Light a candle at your desk; make your favorite food for lunch; play your favorite songs as loud as you want; and take dance breaks. There are so many ways to care for yourself while working remotely during such a stressful time.

Take Breaks as Necessary

Just as you are legally mandated breaks when at your place of employment, you are also legally mandated breaks if you work from home. Take the same breaks you’d typically take at your workplace, and you can even take additional breaks as necessary. Your mental health should always be a priority, and you will be a better employee in general if you’re feeling mentally and emotionally well. It’s better to take breaks when you’re feeling particularly anxious and overwhelmed than to keep overwhelming yourself and cause your overall work output to suffer.

Handling Your Child’s Fits While Working from Home During the Pandemic

Your new reality of working from home remotely may be particularly tough if you have kids. They can be quite distracting, and of course there’s all of their needs that need to be taken into consideration. If you have a child that is prone to yelling fits and temper tantrums, the situation can be even more challenging. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make it easier on you and your kids. With many companies having frequent calls and web meetings that require one’s participation, it is crucial to know how to handle a screaming child and prevent him from interrupting the meeting and making you look unprofessional.

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If your child, or children, has behavioral issues; you may want to use a reward system during this time, even if that’s not usually part of your parenting routine. With a country (and world) filled with anxiety and fear, you don’t want to magnify that with stress or aggressive discipline. Instead, remain calm with your child. Reward them with a treat or screen time if they make it through the day without a screaming fit. You know your child best, so there are no foolproof rewards or strategies to suit everyone, however, it’s worth a try. If the yelling fits continue, you should remember that your child may be sensing your anxious energy and be more stressed than usual.

Being Productive While Working Remotely

If remote work is a new and overwhelming work environment for you, you’re not alone. There’s no reason to be embarrassed. The sudden change, combined with the fact that there is a harrowing global pandemic going on, is a lot to process. However, you have to remain productive and the work must go on. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Make a Daily To-Do List

Even if you’re not organized at all, a simple to-do list written on a sticky note or even on scrap paper, can allow you to clearly identify your responsibilities for the day. As a side note, it’s always fun to cross things off the list as you go through it.

Set Boundaries for How Much You Work

Unless you work in an industry that requires additional manpower or working hours during this time, don’t work more than you need to. Now is the time to remain calm, focus on loved ones, and stay healthy.

Pat Yourself on the Back

You’re adjusting to suddenly being thrown into a new work environment, and you deserve to appreciate yourself. Express gratitude for your ability to adapt as well, as gratitude for the fact that you even have a job while many others are losing theirs. Additionally, you should end the workday by affirming yourself and admiring your productivity for the day.

What to Do When You are Overwhelmed by the Virus

If none of these strategies (or the strategies you typically use) mitigate the anxiety you’re experiencing as you remotely work during the coronavirus, the ultimate tip is to seek professional help. Therapy is a great strategy to help you cope and feel better if things get to be too much and you find yourself extremely overwhelmed. If you’re trying (or being required) to stay indoors as much as possible, you can also try counseling online, at home, in the comfort of your PJs. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Alexis Dent is an essayist, author, and entrepreneur. Her work is primarily focused on mental illness, relationships, and pop culture. You can find her writing in Washington Post, Greatist, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, and more.