You can work from home and maybe even sort of like it.

Image: Jane Sherman

With orders to stay home firmly in place, workers whose presence isn't needed IRL—Microsoft employees, for example, and everyone here at Seattle Met—are getting intimately acquainted with their home offices (or lack thereof). We all know the basic rules of working from home, by now: Create a workspace that feels separate from your lounging area, avoid spending too much time in a horizontal position, maybe try putting pants on every once in a while. Here are some tips that might actually make it enjoyable.

Parent productivity by any means necessary.

Having young kids at home adds a special wrinkle for adults attempting to perform full-time jobs. My husband and I split up the day, so I get one four-hour stretch where I can hide in our basement and concentrate. The rest of my adult life happens before and after bedtime, so I can be a present parent when it’s my turn to step up (minus the occasional conference call taken from the yard). —Allecia Vermillion

Adhere to the three-bev rule.

No, I’m not encouraging you to drink three alcoholic beverages over the course of the work day (though hit me up a month or so into quarantine and we’ll talk). According to the three-bev rule, or as The Atlantic called it, “the desk-bev triumvirate,” you should always have these three drinks at your disposal while working: classic water (for hydration), something caffeinated (for energy, of course), and a wild card (for your entertainment and sanity)—maybe a seltzer, maybe one of those CBD sodas...maybe the elusive desk beer. —Zoe Sayler

Mix up the flow of your day.

If you can, embrace the novelty of your current work environment. I’m usually a run-and-shower-before-work kind of guy. But amid the outbreak, I’ve been running (and, yes, showering) midday. It gives me a boost right when That 2:30 Feeling hits. —Benjamin Cassidy

Take a real lunch break.

If you’re the type to shovel reheated leftovers into your mouth and get back to work before your microwave timer stops beeping, you gotta slow down. The midday break is a work from home lifesaver. If you find yourself with some minutes to spare, spend them on a FaceTime lunch date, or reading a chapter, or taking a little Razor scooter jaunt around the neighborhood (seriously). You’ll feel like a human again. —ZS

Find a non-embarrassing place for video conferences.

To be a writer is to live most of your adult life in blissful ignorance of conference calls. But with our staff at home, I’ve been on more video conferences in the past 10 days than in the four previous decades combined. Unfortunately my desk is wedged in my closet, and I’m not quite ready for that level of visual intimacy with colleagues. When a video presence is mandatory, I post up in a tastefully normal living room chair. I also updated my old Slack avatar to something 100 times more professional, since that’s the image people see when we do group calls. —AV

Go for a walk.

This is not a bad idea whether working from home or not. Moving around (maybe 15–20 minutes after lunch?) is good for your brain and focus. But when you’ve erased the work-home line, getting out of the house is also good for your sanity. —Stefan Milne

Actually cook for yourself.

Even if you rarely dine out or order delivery, you might not normally be the type to hunker down in the kitchen for an hour preparing a delicious dinner. Sunday meal prep sessions are all about saving time during the work week, after all. But now you have the flexibility to put that roast in the oven while you’re combing through emails. You can saute those veggies while you pretend to listen to the day’s final conference call (keep it on mute, please). And by the time you’d normally be commuting home, you can help yourself (and anyone else) to a fresh, home-cooked meal. Now you just need an apron. —BC

 

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