6-Step Guide To Working From Home During Coronavirus Quarantine — Without Losing Your Sanity & Staying Productive

The first thing to do is be grateful you have a job.

6-Step Guide To Working From Home During Coronavirus Quarantine — Without Losing Your Sanity & Staying Productive getty

Right now, we're all feeling scared, panicky and overly worried about how coronavirus is going to affect our lives. Some people are still in denial, and some are already picking out their burial plot.

Let's all stop for one moment and take a deep breath. We're here and it's real, so let's get to work on making this as positive an experience as something like this can be.

Many of you have just found out that your place of employment has given you the opportunity to work from home, on your computer.

The first thing you need to do is see that as a blessing. This means you're still able to work. You're still able to bring in money and you'll still be able to pay bills.


So, while this is truly a change in plans, and you're probably already going stir crazy from self-quarantine, you've been spared the total loss that you imagined it to be.

RELATED: How We Must Reframe 'Social Distancing' To Truly Protect Ourselves & Others During The Coronavirus Pandemic


I've been working from home for over 20 years now, so I can tell you with all sincerity that this is not only possible, but an extremely productive way to go about making a living. There are a few things needed.

How can you work from home and keep your sanity, all while staying productive? 

1. Discipline

We've been fed this idea that working at home is what a bunch of housewives in the 80s did to make ends meet — licking and stuffing envelopes for remote companies, or preparing remote medical transcriptions.

If you think working at home is something people do to supplement some "more important" job, you'd be wrong. Those days are long gone. Working at home is business as usual; it's not slacking around in pajamas, while sitting with your laptop and a bag of cookies in bed. It's work, and if you can work in an office, you can work in your home.


The discipline you'll need is all about timing and focus. You need to wake up early, set up your daily work agenda, and start promptly at the same hour you would if you were at your office. No pajamas. No bed.

You work in the morning, you give yourself a lunch break, and then you return. You complete your daily tasks and then you end your day.

2. A workspace

Get out of the bed. Find a desk, or an area in your living space where you can sit comfortable for a long period of time, and come to know this space as the place where you are going to personally save the day.

If you can clear space on a desk, then set up there. If you like music, then play it as long as you aren't distracted by it. Try to avoid blasting a TV during the day, and do not check social media every ten seconds to see who's panicking, who's dying, who's lying in government or which star just contracted the virus.


You need to keep your head in the game, and the game is all about keeping your job and making money.

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3. Focus

You'll be on your own personal computer all day long, so try to tend to the matter at hand. If you are under a deadline, then figure in how much time it's going to take to accomplish your tasks and plan your day accordingly.

Most people who are not used to working at home tend to think of this kind of work as less than serious; that's a thing you'll get past soon enough. Focus on what you need to do within the day and do it, knowing you will cut off at the end of the day, just as you would if you were in your office.


Try not to spend money on Amazon or eBay, simply because you don't have a boss looking over your shoulder to make sure you're concentrating on work only. Avoid Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

4. Gratitude for the safe haven of home

This is your ironic blessing, so allow yourself the gratitude of knowing you have a job. And not only that — home is a nice place to be, especially during times of insecurity.

If you are a pet parent, then you won't be able to deny the love and comfort of having your animal nearby, as animals are incredibly comforting to us during times of duress. These times demand that we see the bright side.

And on that note, think of the money you'll save in gas, transportation, lunch and clothing. Your home is your safe space, and your home office is where you can feel hopeful. You're still here, you're still alive and thriving, and if we stay healthy and alert, we can get past this and move back into normalcy.


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5. New family rules

If you live with others, then you all have to work in tandem. Children who are home must come to understand the new family rules. And that means mom or dad must work and there must be some degree of quiet.

If you can keep the kids occupied in one room, you can grab some quality work time in your new office space.

These are times when we all have to chip in and help out. We may need the help of friends or other family members to take the kids off our hands for while.

Reach out and do not be afraid. As long as you are careful about who comes into the house, you'll be okay. When you have your designated lunch break, you can appease the kids with some fun activities, or make food together.


6. More time at home, less time on the road

If you usually have to be at the office at 9 AM, you'll spend a certain amount of time on the road. That time will now be yours. This might give you time to prepare foods, or sleep a bit later. If you need to shop for the household, you can do that easily now.

Working at home has tremendous perks, mainly setting your own schedule. As a writer, I begin my job every single day at 8 AM. Around 11 AM I'll take a drive over to my supermarket and get a few necessities. That takes no time at all, and when I'm back, I'll grab a sandwich and bring it over to my desk.


Then, it's back to business, no questions asked. I'll do what's needed and then I'll cut off around 4 PM. After that, the sky is the limit. I do what I want, even if that means blobbing around the TV for the rest of the evening.

What's most important for you to know is that working from home is work, not play.

This isn't the 80s and you're not a college student stuffing envelopes for $5 a week. This is your job and you are very, very fortunate if you have this option.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll start to feel very secure again. Nothing is being taken away from you, and you're handling it.

So far, we have internet and electricity. There's no threat of this being taken away from us, so while we have the resources, let's put aside the panic and the existential nightmare and get to work.


We will overcome this. Stay strong and be grateful for what you have! This is so important, and try with all your heart to stay positive.

You have a job — this is a great thing. Keep going, keep trying, and stay motivated. We are all in this together. It's going to be okay.

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Dori Hartley is a portrait artist, essayist and a journalist. She's been published in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, XOJaneMyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon.