Glamour & Glitter

11 Tipps für die Arbeit von zu Hause aus – ohne den Verstand zu verlieren

are now working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, and to all of you I say: Welcome. I’ve been working remotely for almost six years, because I’m a freelance writer. I’m lucky enough to have a job where it’s possible to work from home, a privilege I don’t take lightly. But working from home during a circumstance as scary and as strange as this one presents a whole new set of challenges, whether homeschooling children while working, or the loneliness of working without IRL coworkers.

If you are frequently unshowered and wearing pajamas until 3 p.m., know you’re not alone. I’ve picked up a few best practices along the way (though I can’t say I always follow them myself). Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of it.

1. Exercise during your would-be commute.

Working from home is a gravitational pull toward sloth-like behavior, but getting a sweat in, even if briefly, starts the day on a more energetic note. Seize the time in the morning that you’d normally spend getting to the office and do a home workout class (the Peloton app has yoga, strength, and bootcamp classes that stream to your TV, no pricey bike required) or get outside for a jog or walk (provided you’re not quarantined). If you’re really not a morning person, try to squeeze in even a 20-minute remote workout around lunchtime or after you wrap for the day: Endorphins can make all the difference in this bleak time.

2. Shower and change your clothes.

This may seem only obvious and hygienic, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to convince oneself that it’s better to just jump right into work first thing, than to take even a short amount of time to bathe. Note: I am not suggesting that putting on a “real outfit” or “jeans” is a must, but even a swap from last night’s PJ’s to athleisure at some point in the day goes a long way to making you feel like a functioning adult.

3. Embrace podcasts.

With no work friends around and the thick sound of silence in the air, podcast hosts have become my faux friends. (That may sound weird, because it is; that’s what happens when you work from home.) I feel less alone thanks to Michael Barbaro explaining the news to me on The Daily; Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber reporting what Rita Ora is up to on Who? Weekly; and Lovett or Leave It for providing the weekly pop culture/politics download.

4. But also: Make time for real friends.

The loneliness of working from home is perhaps the hardest part. Join the office’s virtual Zoom happy hours or schedule old-school phone chats with friends and family to stay connected. They can really do the trick for boosting your mood.

5. Log out of Twitter or your preferred social media.

There’s nothing and no one stopping you from near-constant social media scanning while WFH, but temporarily signing out has a chastening effect: Instead of clicking right in to an endless stream of content, you’re greeted with a log-in screen, and reminded that you’re supposed to be doing work, not refreshing the New York Times homepage again or looking at your third-grade best friend’s gender reveal on Instagram.

6. Strategize with your new “colleagues.”

If you’re suddenly working from home, alongside a partner who is also working from home, plus taking care of and/or homeschooling your child/children—first of all, you have my solidarity. This is an incomprehensible situation and all you can do is your best. But in an effort to limit the household stress and anxiety level and be efficient as possible, strategize with a morning meeting of sorts. Look at the grownups’ work calendars, identify important calls or Zoom meetings and virtual school sessions, and try to come up with a plan of attack, blocking out who needs to work, and do schoolwork, when.

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7. Don’t become Cinderella.

Spending all day at home, you suddenly realize just how many chores and projects await: dishwashers need unloading, messy drawers demand organizing, kids’ toys are strewn about. I like to do a quick straightening-up in the morning so I’m not working amidst a sty, but try not to let too much housework seep into work-work hours. It’s just a noble form of distraction and procrastination.

8. Set boundaries.

You may find that other people who work in conventional job settings have a tendency to believe that “working from home” means “not working at all,” and will call or text you at random with questions/concerns/rants, etc. A polite “I’ll be working until 5 and can chat later!” or “Call you back on my lunch break” usually works. The same goes for your outlook on the work day: Try not to let working from home mean working all day and night. This is not the time to completely burn out.

9. Beware idle snacking.

Overeating a constant stream of fun size Halloween/Valentine’s Day/Easter candy is a longtime occupational hazard of working from home. By all means, I endorse eating and snacking, but it’s hard to avoid the temptation for eight hours straight. Stocking healthy snacks—chopped veggies and tzatziki, apples and peanut butter—helps.

10. Make yourself a decadent lunch.

It’s okay if, some days, there’s only time for peanut butter on a spoon. The work-from-home vortex can mean coming to at 2 p.m. and realizing you never ate lunch. But on occasion, I like to use a WFH lunch break—do take a lunch break, for both sustenance and sanity—to make myself a proper lunch. You deserve it.

11. Be kind to yourself.

If there were ever a time for this slightly cheesy mantra, this is it. Remember you’re not simply working from home—as many have noted, you’re working from home in the middle of a global health crisis. The new work win may be that you simply get through the day doing the best you can.