So you've been told to work from home because of a virus

Short guide to working from home

So you've been told to work from home because of a virus

Some quick pointers from a 10 year veteran of working remotely.

First, be aware that your experience in the next days and weeks is not the same as others. Please don't return to your work and think that all remote workers are lazy because you watched House of Cards twice.


Second, try to create boundaries where you have lost them. Continue to:

  • Work to a set schedule.
  • Get ready like you are going to work in the beginning, then slowly loosen it a bit so you don't have to put on shoes or earrings. Don't start out in pajamas.
  • Pick a spot in your home to work. Although it might work for some, working from a sofa or bed is an Advanced Remote Worker move, don't try it or you might get hurt. Where you work is your sacred space.

Your Behavior:

  • Make sure you take breaks to get away from your desk. These breaks might feel more frequent, as your day isn't going to be as cut-up potentially by little interactions with coworkers or longer walk to the bathroom or to get water. Going for short walks with your favorite animal is a great move.
  • Get some sunshine, yes you can wear a mask while you do so.
  • Write down things that you aren't going to do during the work day.
  • Develop rituals to start and stop your day, so that you don't overwork after the clock stops. The end of the day re-entry is a critical time if you have kids at home.
  • Reset your expectations regarding your spouse if they are at home while you are working.

Working with Your Team

  • Zoom is the best video tool, period. Slack's built-in video is also good.
  • You need to write more and speak less. You might need to work more async than sync, and this can get be hard to get used to. Every notification in Slack should not interrupt everyone. This is hard to get used to, like ignoring a ringing phone, but you can work up to it by only checking Slack or email every 30 minutes, then 60, etc.
  • You need to either make time for social stuff via video, and/or chat about non-work stuff.

Good luck!

If you are looking for true advice from someone who understands the struggle of remote work and has actual useful advice, check out  Navigating Remote Work.