COVID-19: Keeping Yourself Healthy & Safe While Working From Home

The COVID-19 outbreak which is suspected to have started in November of 2019 has quickly become an urgent issue across the globe. In Canada, the focus recently has been flattening the curve in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Throughout the country, we have seen temporary closures of many non-essential services and many employers have taken a pro-active approach through making modifications to their operations, including arranging for their employees to work from home.

For many, being asked to work from home seems like a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to skip the commute and dress a lot more casually on a day to day basis? Unfortunately, once the honeymoon stage wears off and reality kicks in, working from home comes with its fair share of disadvantages.

According to a recent article published by The Guardian – Extreme loneliness or the perfect balance? How to work from home and stay healthy, working from home can have a negative impact on mental health causing an increase in anxiety, stress and depression.  Feelings of loneliness and isolation can occur, and without access to face-to-face interactions with colleagues, it can be difficult to get back on track when things are not going to plan. Further difficulties arise with trying to separate home life from work life, distractions such as children or pets can make it hard to focus and of course, there is always that temptation of snacks in the kitchen. Additionally, learning to say no to work and not being able to shut off at the end of the day can lead to being overwhelmed. 

So how can we best stay healthy and safe while working at home? It starts with being prepared, both in setting up your work from home space, as well as being prepared and diligent in recognizing your own personal challenges of working from home. Realistically there is no universal set of guidelines to help you through, but there are measures that you can take including:

  • Reaching out to your colleagues virtually for both business as well as social visits

  • Establishing boundaries with those who share your household

  • Getting up and moving around on a regular basis and getting outside if possible

  • Creating daily task lists to keep yourself motivated and accountable

  • Having an end of day routine to allow yourself to unplug from work before “heading home”

At the end of the day or end of the workday, in this case, it’s important to realize that while working at home has its fair share of advantages it takes some practice and adjustment. Be kind to yourself, set realistic expectations and reach out if you are struggling.

For more tips and tricks about working from home, download our checklist!

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