COVID-19 Work-from-Home Tips = Self-Care
To make the most of work-at-home situations during the COVID-19 crisis, experts are advising people to pay attention to work habits, boundaries, communication, time management, and organization.
Sound familiar? If you’re the primary caregiver for an elderly loved one, these are the very same success strategies that you might learn about in a caregiver support group. Ultimately, the self-care guidelines being offered up to work-at-home newbies are good strategies for anyone who is balancing work responsibilities with the care of an elderly loved one--or anyone, for that matter. The COVID-19 situation is just bringing it all home. Literally.
The following tips for successful work-at-home arrangements apply equally to family caregivers.
Keep Your Morning Routine
Wake up at a set time, exercise, enjoy your morning coffee, watch the news.
Set a Specified Start Time for Work
If you normally get to the office at 9 a.m., make that your start time when working from home.
Watch for Procrastination
If you’re working on a tough project, you may develop an overwhelming desire to fold laundry. Resist the temptation to use household tasks as a way to put off work projects.
Set a Specified End Time for Work
Be willing to step away from your computer. One downside to working from home is that the boundary between home and office can disappear. It’s easy to work more hours than expected if you don’t set a time for the end of your workday.
Designate Separate Work Area
Set up a home office and make that the spot where work happens. Try your best to keep non-work items out of the way.
Keep Regular Meetings
Continue to schedule and attend standing meetings. It is important to check in with colleagues to make sure everyone’s doing okay.
When you can’t be there in person, use video. Being able to see colleagues and clients can help maintain a sense of connection and community.
Use a Timer
Try setting your timer for an hour. When the timer goes off, take a short break to stretch your legs, get some water, pet your dog, and so on. These “mini-breaks” will help keep you focused.
If you like to-do lists, this tactic will make it easier to handle the inevitable distractions. Better yet, put the items on your to-do list on your calendar. They’re more likely to get done that way.
Set Expectations with Family
Let everyone in your household know when you will be on conference calls or working on high-priority projects. They’ll know when you’ll be unavailable to help them unless they have a dire emergency.
If you’re a family caregiver who’s now required to work from home, let these tips be a reminder of what you already know: self-care is not a luxury. It’s essential for well-being.