Working From Home… In a Pandemic

03.17.20 // Carly Schoonhoven

With COVID-19 officially characterized as a pandemic, organizations and individuals all over the world are looking for ways to help flatten the curve by practicing social distancing. For many, this has meant diving into the world of remote work, possibly for the first time.

At Obility we are lucky enough to have the ability to work from home whenever we choose, so the closing of our offices might sound like business as usual for some. But working from home in a pandemic is far from business as usual.

It has only been a few days since our office has closed, and even I as a lifelong introvert am starting to struggle. Getting to work from home in the past has felt like a nice way to focus and recharge, but now that I am distancing myself from all social events I am starting to miss the distractions.

There’s lots of advice out there for working from home successfully, but a lot of the advice (like working from a coffee shop, for example) doesn’t apply in these unusual times. If you’re struggling with successfully working from home in the wake of coronavirus, here are some tips that are helping me.

Set Limits

It seems every time I pick up my phone I find a new reason to worry. The temptation to constantly refresh your Twitter feed can be easy to fall into when the news is changing so quickly.

Some general work from home advice I’ve often heard is to try and only check email and Slack at certain times of the day so you can stay focused. Right now, the same should go for checking the news and social media. Choose a few times during your workday to get up to date, and other than that, check out.

Find New Ways to Socialize (Virtually)

Between the happy hours, birthday parties, and casual office conversations, I definitely used to take for granted how much of my day to day socialization was with coworkers. Now that I am avoiding all social gatherings, I am finding I need to go out of my way to talk to people. If I keep trying to chat with my boyfriend about Love is Blind we might not make it through these few weeks.

Set up a virtual coffee with a coworker or a friend. If you have a pet, giving them some cuddles will probably help too.

If you’re hesitant to set up a one on one social activity, there are tons of great options for group virtual socialization as well. PDX Women in Tech, an organization I volunteer for, has started setting up virtual coworking times, having some members teach virtual yoga or meditation classes, and there is even a virtual dance party on the schedule. Find creative ways to start a conversation and see some new faces.

Practice Self Care

All the breaking news and disruptions to day to day life are creating stressful situations for many. My coworker Paige recently shared some great advice for how she is finding work levity in the age of COVID-19. Whatever helps relieve your stress, find some time in your day to do it.

Take a shower, get some sleep, eat a real lunch (the work from home snacking temptations can be strong, I know), and get some exercise. Now that your home is also your office, don’t let yourself work all the time. When your workday is over, close your computer and walk away. Don’t forget to take care of your physical and mental health first.

Stay Inside



How are you keeping your spirits up while socially distancing? Share your ideas with me!

About Carly Schoonhoven

Carly Schoonhoven is a Senior SEO Manager at Obility. As a member of the inbound marketing team, Carly drives SEO strategies to grow organic traffic and build backlinks for her clients. In her spare time, you can find her doing karaoke. View all Carly Schoonhoven’s posts >