The New Normal: Working from Home During COVID-19

Penn State World Campus Student Advisory Board member Chiara Duff compiled this advice to help fellow students manage the challenges of working from home. 

Life, as we know it, has changed. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has affected all of us, whether it’s impacted us personally or someone we know. I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from home, but I recognize there are a ton of people who don’t have that luxury. As a Penn State World Campus student, my courses haven’t been affected. However, I see how this can be a challenging time for most folks who aren’t used to a virtual environment, whether it be for school or for work. Here is a list of my tips for anyone who is new to the work-from-home thing.

Follow your daily routine by showering and putting on something other than PJs.

Sure, it’s tempting to work in pajamas. However, studies show that working in PJs might hinder productivity. Personally, if I stay in comfy clothes, my attitude tends to be a bit more relaxed. When working from home, I’ll get up, shower, and put on real clothes, not just PJs. Otherwise, I’ll find that I want to slack off a bit more. I’ll even go so far as to put on make-up. Why? Because it helps me to set the tone for my day. It also helps me to prepare for the colleague or client that wants to meet via videoconferencing.

Set a schedule and stick to it.

For those who are new to the work-from-home environment, it’s a must that you set yourself up on a schedule. Try to stick to the same one you’d follow if you were in the office. Stick to your regular breakfast/lunch/snack schedule. Otherwise, you might find yourself mindlessly snacking, which can potentially lead to weight gain.

Have a dedicated workspace.

It’s easy to want to log in from your bed. However, it’s best to have a dedicated workspace so that once you’re done for the day, you can feel as if you’re really done. That’s not always possible if you’re logged in from your laptop in bed. A designated workspace can help you feel as if you’re actually done with work and not just moving from the home office to the living room.

Take breaks.

I’ve often found that working from home can be more taxing because there is less socialization. Be sure to stretch every 50 minutes. Stay hydrated. Check out these other summer wellness tips.

Stay active.

Now that I no longer have an hour-and-a-half commute, I actually have the time to work out. I have a home gym that I can now take advantage of. I used to have a hard time trying to fit in 45 to 60 minutes for a workout. Now? I’m able to do it either before or after work. For the time being, I don’t have to worry about my horrendous commute. I’m able to get in regular workouts, which is a bonus for me. While on the treadmill, I treat myself to podcasts or shows that I don’t have the time for during the day.

What are tips/tricks that help you navigate through the day while working from home? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash