As with many organizations across Pennsylvania and the U.S., PALTA’s employees are now working remotely in order to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. If you haven’t worked from before, it can bring a host of challenges, but there are ways to overcome them. Below are tips that we hope will help you make working from home not only easier, but more productive.

Create a Routine
Going into the office creates a routine involving getting to and from the office at a regular time each day, but a lot of that normal routine is missing when you work at home. Keeping a regular routine is key to keeping you on track with your work, so that you don’t fall behind or overwork yourself. Even though you are now be working from home, it’s best that you keep to the same start and end times of your work day. If you would usually take lunch at the office at a specified time every day, keep that up at home as well. The goal is to make your work day routine the same as much as possible while working from home.

Set Boundaries at Home
A lot of us are home with kids, which can add an extra level of difficulty in creating a normal routine or even getting any work done. Set boundaries with your children. If they are old enough, explain to them that you are working and that doesn’t mean you can take frequent breaks to help them. Establish rules and expected behavior during “office hours” and acknowledge good behavior from your children. To help kids keep busy while you’re working, set up some games, or puzzles before you start working. Consider also starting a movie for your kids to watch, or allow an extension of time for video games, during the hours when you’re working.

Set Up a Designated Work Space
Try not to work from the couch, tempting as it may be. Setting up your laptop at a designated space will help you get into the mode of “work” and will help you to limit distractions. Return to this designated space every day to complete your work and remember to leave this space when you are finished, just as you would leave your office at the end of every day. Not only does this help you to create a routine, but this limits work impeding on your personal life now that it shares your home space.

Utilize Video Chat Applications
Working from home can make you feel isolated from your coworkers, but that doesn’t always need to be the case! Utilize tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp, Google Duo, and even Facetime to schedule some face-to-face interaction with your co-workers to keep each other updated on projects, meetings, etc. Consider utilizing these tools to schedule some social interactions with your coworkers as well, such as a virtual office lunch, coffee break, or happy hour to socialize virtually with your colleagues.

Take Breaks
Just like you would in the office, take breaks. Not only do breaks give you a boost in energy, but they help you stay focused and reduce feelings of burnout. Remember when taking a break to step away from your designated work space. Practice yoga or do some stretches for 10-15 minutes. If you have kids, check in on them to see how they’re doing. Step outside; go for a short walk to stretch your legs, but remember to keep a social distance of 6 feet between yourself and anyone that you may encounter to combat the spread of the coronavirus.