By Dr Anna Peeters

The COVID-19 pandemic has made health, research and communication more important than ever. As the Director of Deakin’s Institute for Health Transformation, I feel that responsibility and opportunity very keenly.

Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic affected our health and our economic outlook, but it has also profoundly affected how we work. There is a lot of research into effective and rewarding work practices and environments, but the pandemic itself is contributing new knowledge through this massive social experiment.

Here, I combine some of this existing and emerging research with my personal observations to give you my top tips for people working from home. Of course, everyone is different, as is every circumstance, but I hope you find something useful in these tips.

Be kind to yourself, and your colleagues

Recognise that this is a challenging time for everyone, but different people will be impacted in different ways.

Plan your workday and set realistic expectations

It’s important to divide your day into a ‘work component’ and a ‘home component’ – despite both being completed in the same location. Depending on how you work, calendar blocking or to-do-lists may be helpful for different tasks – personally, I utilise electronic to-do-lists and set a due date for each task. But find what works best for you! What COVID has taught us is that we need a better understanding of how we work and there’s not just one way of working.  

Identify brain breaks that work for you

Taking a break will actually make you more productive. Be it a quick walk around the block, gardening or working on a jigsaw puzzle – whatever helps you to feel relaxed and recharged.

Build connectivity into your day

It’s really important we still feel connected to friends, family, and community, despite being physically distanced. Whether it’s talking to a neighbor across a nature strip, taking a suitably distanced (and masked) walk with a friend, or tech-based through Zoom or phone, it’s important we don’t feel alone.