11 Tips For Nonprofit Professionals Working From Home During The Coronavirus Outbreak

As is the case for many people, the majority of Kindful employees are working remotely right now. Because we know it can be difficult to transition from working in an office to working at home, we put together a few tips on how to create an environment that is conducive to your productivity.

1. Set up your workspace.

  • Ideally, you’ll have a table, desk, or some kind of flexible setup in your house. The best case scenario is that you have a designated spot that will only be used for working. If that’s not the case, find the most comfortable place you can commit to sitting at for most of the work day.
  • If you like to use a standing desk, see what counters or high spaces are in your place that you can creatively turn into a standing surface.

2. Adapt what you didn’t like.

Think about what you didn’t love about your office experience and adapt your home workspace to account for that.

  • Did you dislike the bright fluorescent lighting? Maybe set up near a window and work with natural light.
  • Did you wish that you could light a candle? Now’s your chance.
  • No room for flowers on your desk? Decorate your space as desired.
  • Now that you don’t have a commute, ask yourself how you can make the best (not the most) of that time.

3. Keep what you loved about your office.

Think about what you did like about your office experience and figure out how to make your home work experience reflect that.

  • If you like the buzz of the office around you, find a Spotify/Pandora/etc. playlist that mimics office life or a coffee shop so you don’t feel like you’re working alone.
  • Do you usually eat lunch with a coworker? Consider FaceTiming them or calling a friend to enjoy your break together virtually.

4. Structure your day.

  • You should have a clear beginning, middle, and end to your work day.
  • Take breaks. Maybe see if something like the Pomodoro Method (short work intervals with breaks in between) works for you.
  • Leave your work area for lunch. At the very least, don’t work through lunch or sit at your computer during your lunch break.
  • Don’t work after typical work hours unless it’s required. When it’s time to log off, close your computer and have a firm end to your work day.

5. Get dressed and ready for work.

  • If you want to wear sweatpants, workout clothes, or pajama pants, that’s fine. But simply changing clothes and putting on something that feels like you’re showing up will help get you in the right mental space to work.
  • We also recommend keeping a routine that’s similar to the one you had when you were working at the office. Get up, wash your face, and brush your teeth. Do whatever you need to do to feel ready to work.

6. Find creative ways to work with your team.

  • If teams can and want to, everyone can get on video (via a software like Zoom or a Slack call) and work independently. This will save you from having to call people to ask questions. It’ll also make you feel a little less lonely.

7. Go outside.

  • If you can, get outside on your lunch break and stretch. If you can’t swing that, find another time to get outside for some fresh air.

8. Manage your mental health and anxiety.

  • Isolation: Can you call your coworkers during work hours so you feel like you’re still in touch? Can you call your friends and family during your breaks or after work? How else can you get quality time in with people you won’t be seeing in person? We recommend things like the Marco Polo app and FaceTime. You can even FaceTime people while you’re on a walk and go on a walk “with” them.
  • Teletherapy: If you’re set up with a counselor, see if they offer teletherapy so you don’t have to come to the office or stop your sessions.
  • Movement: Get up and stretch occasionally. You may move less often than you did at the office. This goes along with getting outside. If you can go for a short stroll every day, your body will thank you and your mental health will be a bit better off.
  • Talk to your manager. If you’re struggling, reach out and see how those around you can support you through this transition.
  • Mental health resources:

    1. Crisis Text Line: Free 24/7 text support. You can text TWLOHA to 741741 to get connected (for free) with a crisis counselor.

    2. TWLOHA: If you’re in the US, you can use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate free or reduced-cost resources in your area by entering your zip code.

    3. Shine Text: Receive texts that will help you with anxiety and stress.

    4. Meditation Apps: Calm and Headspace offer free trials. You can also take advantage of Headspace’s new Weathering the storm meditations.

9. Operate like you’re in the office.

  • Move as often as you would in the office. Don’t force yourself to sit and be productive every single minute you’re at home.
  • Answer calls and texts like you normally would. Unless you need to be, tell friends/family/roommates/etc. that you’re not available during work hours (or you’re as available as you were before—not more so).

10. Anticipate interruptions.

  • Life is loud. That’s OK. Go on mute during phone meetings if you can’t avoid loud noises. Try not to stress when something comes up and disturbs your work environment.
  • Minimize your distractions. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb and shut off any unnecessary push notifications.

11. Clean your space.

  • Once you start working from a different place, you may realize it’s not as tidy as you want it to be. Keep your space clean and free of distractions if possible.

Finally, keep in mind that change is hard. Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to adjust. Yes, you’re at work, but now you’re potentially surrounded by distractions and other people and things competing for your time and attention. It’s OK to get frustrated. There will be an adjustment period. As with most things, you will become more comfortable as time goes on.

If you’re looking for more information on responding to COVID-19, check out our Coronavirus Resources for Nonprofit Organizations page.