Bistro’s Guide to Working from Home and Not Dying
(Accompanied by a few links to The Oatmeal.)
SET A SCHEDULE!
Set work hours and stick to them - don’t work overtime every day. It’s easy to forget how much time is spent each day getting ready for work, traveling to an office, and getting situated once you’re there. Don’t burn yourself out by suddenly working a lot more hours. Corporations love having office workers WFH, because studies have shown people feel pressured to always be connected. Haha! Those dum-dums!
Take breaks. Get up from your seat and move around. Determine the average number of steps you take each day while you still work in an office. Then, the first week you WFH, do the same thing. Shocked at the difference? Damn right you are. Combat this sloth with regular walks or something. SOMETHING.
People always say, “I could never work from home! I’d get distracted!”
Now you get to laugh when they say this, followed by something hurtful like, “Hey, say whatever you need to get through your crappy existence!” Look, you gotta take breaks every day. At home, breaks are way more fulfilling and enjoyable than breaks in an office. The distractions in your home can be great mini-rewards too. Play video games or take a walk. Read a book or relax with a shower. Or complete a small chore so it isn’t waiting for you after work. Just set a timer so the break is reasonable. Wait until you’re sitting on a porch chair reading a book for a 15 minute break, while your friends are in an office trying not to stab their own eyes out. Haha! You win!
Pro tip: Let them know you win by frequently sending them pics of you loving your life.
Working in your PJs is fun, but doing it too often is depressing. There is a point in every day where wearing sleep clothes goes from being a decadent luxury to a repulsive lack of self care. It also makes it more unlikely you’ll get out, socialize, or exercise as much.
Working from home does not mean you need to be at home. Reduce the loneliness of WFH by also working from coffee shops, libraries and other public places. I also like working in parks, museums, and restaurants. Your family will appreciate this. A lot. (Unless you happen to be in the middle of a global pandemic, in which case STAY HOME!)
If other people or pets are at home, tell them what your boundaries are. Let them know when the door to your workspace is closed, you aren’t available. This is really important because they will naturally ask you to help with tasks, talk about current events, or ask to play My Little Pony. If a sweet little voice asks, “Don’t you love me anymore?” respond with, “No, not when this door is closed.”
While your boundaries are important, the great thing about WFH is you can have more interactions with people/pets each day during your free time. Take breaks with the people you care most about, and share walks, snacks, etc.
Humans are social animals. If you don’t have regular contact with adult humans, you’re going to go crazy, even if you’re someone who likes being alone. Don’t be the sad sack who calls the pharmacy to ask questions you already know the answer to, just so someone has to talk to you. Have break time chats with other WFHers, call your mother (she has to pretend she likes you), or go premium and call a sex worker. You talking about your workday, will be the best call they get all day.