Working from Home

05 January 2021
Cheri McCann

Working from home can be great but it also has its drawbacks and lack of structure can be difficult to manage. Sometimes we are thankful that there’s no need for makeup, selecting outfits or even showering. But then it can be tedious being in pajamas all day and knowing that you won’t be dressing up for special occasions. Of course, no one in Toronto misses the commute, but we do miss the social and collegial nature of being together. The lines between work and home life are blurred and sometimes “confidential” work conversations are not so private. On the up side it is great to be there when family need us.

To handle multiple people working and learning from the same dwelling, some people are fortunate enough to move from a condo into a house or upgrade their house to a luxury home with many home office options. If you are not in the position to change your living situation, then consider some of these tips from the experts to be productive while looking after your mental health:

Routine: Wake up and start work at the same time each day. Get dressed, right down to your shoes for when you “start work”. If you can, close the door to your “office” and leave the room for regular break times. Remember you have "extra" time that’s not taking up with commuting so use it to take a walk, a spin on your exercise bike or do a yoga session during breaks or lunch hour to clear your head and refocus. End your day at a specific time.

Create a Functional Space

You may not have a separate office but think about how you could change something in your home to repurpose as an office or study area for kids. Make every effort not to use your bed as your desk. A closet, mudroom, a shelf under a set of stairs, an unused entry hall or storage space can be cleared (give away things you don’t need) or simply move your living room furniture to make way for a desk. Buy or make use of a rolling cart, storage containers, bags, boxes, jars to arrange papers, pens, cords etc. Hang shelves to move items up leaving you a roomy “desk” area. Peg board is an easy way to hang items in reach but not cluttering your workspace. Make a desk from a wide plank, crates or an old coffee table. Buy a standing desk or a desk on wheels that can be moved to a corner when your day is finished. Try different objects to get your monitor or laptop at the right height for working. And if you can invest in a decent chair. Sore back? - try sitting on a large exercise ball.

Communication

Arrange regular times to touch base with others. Not just with work colleagues to keep on track and stay informed. Also be sure to stay in touch with friends and family. Games can be played together on apps via Facetime, Zoom or Google Meet. There are video chat apps with games built in such as House party.

A sample of the many mental health resources available online:

Mental Health Toronto

Jack.org 

UHN - Scope Mental Health Tips 

CAMH 

Lumenus - formerly Skylark

If you are in crisis, depressed or anxious please talk to someone and seek medical attention.