Working Remotely During COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting new and unique challenges. We are navigating unchartered waters with this virus, making it important to find new ways to work and interact while also taking care of our mental health and well-being.

Many are teleworking full-time for the first time, isolated from co-workers, friends and family. Our daily living routines are disrupted causing added anxiety, stress and strain—physically, mentally, and financially. It is completely natural for this disruption and uncertainty to lead to anxiety and stress.

Now more than ever, we all must take care of our mental health and well-being. As we protect ourselves against potential exposure to the coronavirus, keep in mind that social distancing does not mean social isolation. This resource provides practical tips on taking care of our mental health and well-being.

How do I maintain my health and wellness?

  • Keep a regular schedule: Create and maintain a routine and schedule. Set up a designated space for you and each family member to work and learn. Don’t forget to include periodic breaks for recharging in your schedule. Although everyone’s schedule will be different, here is a sample:
    • 7:00 a.m. – Wake up, stretch, take care of kids/animals
    • 7:30 a.m. – Breakfast and family time (technology free!)
    • 8:30 a.m. – Work and check on updates with small breaks every 30 minutes or so
    • 12:00 p.m. – Lunch break, get fresh air, stretch & exercise
    • 1:00 p.m. – Work with breaks every 30 minutes, check in with co-workers
    • 5:00 p.m. – Dinner and screen break! Call a friend, family, or loved one
    • 7:00 p.m. – Selfcare time
  • Stay connected: Stay connected with family, friends, and support systems using technology like FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout and other video-based options. Talk about your fears and concerns with people you trust. Chances are they are feeling the same way.
  • Keep your immune system strong: Make a commitment to staying strong by:
    • Washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds (about two rounds of the “Happy Birthday” song)
    • Getting enough sleep
    • Eating well and staying hydrated
    • Taking vitamins if necessary
  • Prioritize personal hygiene and limit contact with others: This is imperative to avoid spreading the virus. Here’s what should be done:
    • Again, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer regularly.
    • Use a tissue to cover your sneeze or cough, or when unavailable, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
    • Disinfect with anti-bacterial wipes areas and objects that are heavily trafficked or are touched regularly where you live and work.
    • Avoid contact with those who are sick and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Exercise and stay active: This is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health. Periodically, get up and move around your home. Walking, stretching, planks or jumping jacks—whatever works best for you to reduce or alleviate stress and increase endorphins. While our favourite gyms and fitness centres are closed during this time, many are offering free livestreams or app-based workouts for members and the general public, so check online to see what’s available.
  • Get fresh air: If circumstances allow, go outside for a brisk walk and fresh air, but avoid crowds and try to maintain the recommended 2 metre distance with others.
  • Stay informed: Knowledge is power, and it’s good to stay updated on progress being made in combatting the virus. Stay informed on the latest updates from reliable sources like the World Health Organization.
  • Limit media consumption: Avoid continuous exposure to news, media, and social media that may trigger or elevate anxiety, stress, or panic. Stay informed by following few, authoritative resources, but limit media consumption.
  • Set boundaries on work schedule: When working from home, be sure that you are working reasonable hours. It can be tempting to work more while you have your work at home, however it can also be taxing on your health and well-being, so stick to a schedule with healthy boundaries.
  • Distract and redirect: Engage in activities that benefit your well-being, bring you joy and distract you from existing challenges. This might include meditation and yoga, often offered free online. You may also enjoy journaling, reading, art projects, cooking with new recipes, breathing exercises, or listening to a calming podcast or music. For some activity apps see:
  • Get creative to stay connected: Share tips with co-workers and friends on what’s working well for you and encourage them to do the same. Come up with new ideas like planning a Google Hangout to exercise together – try one-minute planks, 10 jumping jacks, or whatever you decide, just keep it simple. Share photos of pets enjoying the new routine. Watch movies at the same time while texting or on Skype. The sky’s the limit on creative ways to stay connected.