A former freelancer on staying sane when COVID-19 has you working from home | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A former freelancer on staying sane when COVID-19 has you working from home

For over two years, I chose the life of a remote employee, first as a tech specialist for a global corporation, then as a freelance writer. Now, with the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies and businesses are telling staff to stay home to help stop the spreading of the virus.

For some, this might be your first time doing business from your couch. While it might seem cool at first, a few hours or even days without human interaction might drive some a little nuts. (Please know this advice comes from a childless adult-perspective — sorry, parents.)

That being said, here are few tips to keep a level-head when being homebound gets to be too much.


Try to keep to your usual routine.

Do you shower every morning? Stop drinking coffee at 11 a.m.? Doing all of the things you normally do on a workday will give you some much-needed structure. You can even set reminders on your smartphone, laptop, or other devices to keep you on track.

Please, I beg you, get dressed.

I admittedly struggled with this one, leading to a bad habit of wearing my grungy sweatpants until it was time to clock out. Putting on a clean set of clothes adds to the feeling of an official workday, as opposed to being stuck in some bleary-eyed morning limbo.

Don’t go on social media until after 12 p.m.

Distractions are a huge work-from-home problem, with social media being a major contributor. While you might be tempted to see the latest Twitter trending topic or viral TikTok, the lack of supervision could drive you down a rabbit hole and, depending on your anxiety levels, into a panic. Staying focused on your work and not your feed, at least for the first part of your day, makes a big difference.

Listen to music or a podcast, but skip Netflix.

Some jobs are monotonous enough that people can multitask. But if you need some entertainment while processing data or whatever other task you could do in your sleep, try avoiding visual media. Unlike listening to podcasts or music, gluing your eyes to a binge-worthy reality dating show might cause you to miss that big, company-wide conference call.

Eat some food and stay hydrated.

One would think that working from home, in close proximity to all your precious groceries and a Brita filter, would mean never skipping a meal or a glass of water. And yet, I can’t tell you how many times I worked an entire day on nothing but a handful of raw almonds and coffee, leaving me a little on edge. Prevent this by keeping light snacks and an adult sippy cup nearby and within sight.

So put on some pants, shove some food in your mouth-hole, and stay healthy, home drones! We’ll get through this soon enough.

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