We don’t know who needs to hear this, but please: Take a shower.
Due to the highly contagious coronavirus attacking the world, many companies are asking their employees to stay inside, work from home if they can and practice social distancing. On Monday, the Trump administration recommended avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, and by Tuesday, New York City was preparing to follow in the steps of San Francisco with a “shelter in place” order.
Despite the lure of staying in PJs all day and working from bed, work at home is not a vacation. New distractions are everywhere, wreaking havoc on both productivity and mental health.
Here is The Post’s guide to staying sane while working from home.
Brush your teeth. Get dressed in normal clothes.
Looking presentable in video chats is the best way to convince your bosses that you’re not using work-from-home as an excuse to slack off.
“At the end of the day, even though everyone understands you’re working from home, it’s important to project a certain image of how you want to be seen as a professional,” career strategist and YouTuber Linda Raynier told The Post. “You want to appear like you’re getting work done, not just lounging around and taking naps.”
It may help your mental health, too. According to the American Psychological Association, “maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine.”
This means you should take a shower, brush your teeth and take care of yourself. Doing so will provide the sense of normalcy your mind is craving.
Don’t be afraid to put makeup on when staying indoors.
Light makeup, like concealer and a brush of mascara, can indicate that you’re awake and focused, said celebrity makeup artist Nam Vo.
But more dramatic looks, like smoky eyes and red lips, can be inappropriate for this new setting. “You want to look fresh and healthy, not like you’re spending all this time on makeup,” she told The Post, along with other tips for looking good on video calls.
Get out of bed. Seriously, get out of bed.
Try to create a space in your home devoted to working in order to prevent back and neck pain. Find a chair or stool to sit on, and a table or desk — not your couch or bed, chiropractor Matthew Devoe told The Post, along with other tips for making your at-home setup more ergonomic.
“I have never seen anyone be able to maintain both their cervical and lumbar lordosis while sitting on any kind of couch for extended periods of time,” said Devoe, referring to when your lower back curves inward too much.
Make sure the middle of your screen is in line with your eyes, not below it, said Devoe, and spring for a keyboard and mouse if you can.
Clean your technology.
Portable devices like smartphones and laptops are in overuse right now. They make working from anywhere possible but are also hotbeds of germs. Don’t forget to clean them.
“Using a 70-percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces,” the tech giant stated.
Take breaks, just like you would at the office.
Replace your 3 p.m. walk to the cafe with a little bit of exercise. Get up and step away “for five minutes once every hour of screen time,” said Devoe.
And don’t worry, you’ll still be practicing safe social distancing if you take your dog (or yourself) out for walks. It’s among our best practices for isolating during this time.
“Fresh air helps to wake me up and get ready [to work out],” said Equinox trainer Colleen Conlon.
Don’t skimp on the workout.
Gyms may be closed, but there’s plenty of options for working out at home, including fitness apps that offer remote classes or routines you can squeeze into your day.
“Every little bit counts, so do what you can,” Obé trainer Tiffani Robbins told The Post. “You can do squats anywhere. Even a 10-minute express workout counts.” She detailed a short and simple arm workout that doesn’t require any equipment.
Check in with your supervisors often.
Teresa Douglas, co-author of “Working Remotely: Secrets to Success for Employees on Distributed Teams” urged people to get on the phone or on a video call with their bosses often to make sure nothing is lost in the distance.
Ask such questions as “‘What do you need from me? What do I need from you? When are we going to do it?’ That way, everyone knows what page we are on,” she told The Post.
Order lunch if you need to.
Food delivery should be safe during this contagious time. “The risk of contracting coronavirus through food has been, and is, extremely small,” Martin Wiedmann, a professor of food safety in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, told The Post.
Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after coming in contact with a delivery person to prevent the spread of germs.
Distract your kids.
If you’re a parent whose kids are out of school, it’s going to be difficult to keep them quiet while you focus. Don’t be afraid to let them play educational video games so that you can get some work done.
Minecraft, for example, is, “a great game in terms of spatial relationships, building and creativity,” said Jordan Shapiro, author of “The New Childhood.” Read more suggestions here.
Find some work-life balance
When you’re done with your work, consider video chatting with friends and family to create some semblance of a social life to balance out all that isolation. Might we also suggest whipping up a “Quarantini”?
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