4 things not to do while working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

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What not to do while working at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak
Organizational psychologist Dr. Laura Hambley joins Global News Morning Calgary live via Skype to discuss the four main things you should avoid doing while working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak – Apr 8, 2020

Thousands of Canadians have ditched the office for their apartment, condo or house to practice social distancing as we all work together to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

While for some the prospect of working from home might seem appealing and luxurious, for others it brings with it a new set of challenges to overcome.

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Whether you are enthusiastically embracing your new workspace or just barely getting by, there are things we can all be doing to make our experience working from home a more positive one.

Organizational psychologist Laura Hambley joined Global News Morning Calgary on Wednesday to discuss the things you should avoid doing while working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here’s four things you should avoid doing while working from home:

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1) Don’t sweat the small stuff

Making light of things like technical difficulties, dogs barking or kids screaming can help to minimize the stress of having to work in less than ideal conditions, Hambley advised.

She suggests being transparent with people at the beginning of calls or video chats to let them know what your surroundings are like, which she says can help to alleviate undue anxiety.

“We all have things going on at home,” Hambley explained. “Some us have a spouse or a partner, some of us have children, pets – and it’s better to be up front about that and to share with others that our work conditions may not be perfect — and to make light of them.”

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“This is a massive, sudden transition for a lot of people,” she added.

“We’re all human and we’re trying to do the best in the circumstances, so we need to be kind and patient with one another right now.”

2) Don’t act like you’re working from home

Are you reading this while wearing pajamas or sweatpants? If so, you’re probably not alone. However, Hambley suggests trying the best you can to recreate the office environment — even down to the clothes that you wear.

“It helps to get in the right mindset if you dress the part,” Hambley said. “Don’t just wear PJs all day.”

She suggests this can help get people in the mindset of doing work and can also make it easier for them to transition back to “home” life at the end of the day.

She also recommends against taking video calls from bed or conference calls from the washroom.

3) Don’t go silent

Keeping the lines of communication open with colleagues can help to maintain productivity, so Hambley advises making an effort to check in with people and provide regular updates.

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“If I’m going on a break I want people to know that maybe I won’t be available for maybe the next hour,” she said. “Keeping each other in the loop with what’s going on really helps.

“It’s better to have more communication right now than less,” she added.

4) Don’t work with bad posture

While it may seem nice to work on your laptop from the comfort of your bed, Hambley warns this can often bring with it some aches and pains.

“It’s easy to just get on the couch and bring your laptop there, or sit at the awkward dining room table … But it can really damage our bodies,” she warned.

Instead, Hambley suggests doing your best to set up an ergonomic workstation.

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