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Working From Home Because Of Coronavirus? Our Reporters Share The Tips You Need To Know

In the name of social distancing, many companies are telling their employees to work from home for an extended period of time. Here's how we do it.

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CHICAGO — Working from home for the foreseeable future because of coronavirus?

Here at Block Club, we are, too.

In the name of social distancing, many companies are telling their employees to work from home for an extended period of time. 

When they aren’t working from neighborhood coffee shops, libraries, schools or meetings, Block Club reporters spend a good chunk of their time working from home, writing all of those good stories they find on the streets.

Here are their tips for being as productive and happy as possible while working in the space where you also live:

Enforce breaks

“When you’re not commuting to an office, it’s easy to wake up, walk to the dining room table and spend eight hours sitting with no movement. Set a timer on your phone as a reminder to get up and stretch your legs, either by walking around your neighborhood or doing some light yoga in your living room.” — Hannah Alani, Wicker Park, Bucktown and West Town reporter

Designate a work station

“The temptation to work from bed or the couch is strong, but there’s a point where being too comfortable makes one less productive. To prevent this, I make sure to have a dedicated working station.

“Not everyone has an office in their home, but a dinner table or even a TV dinner tray and an exercise ball can work in a pinch (speaking from experience). Having a work station also makes it easier to turn on and off from work, and to make sure work and leisure time don’t blend together.” — Joe Ward, Uptown, Edgewater and Rogers Park reporter

Don’t forget to shower

“It’s easy to just roll out of bed and start working when you don’t have a commute. But trust me, you’ll feel way better after a shower when you start the work day, even if you are still in pajamas.” — Alex Hernandez, Lincoln Square, North Center and Irving Park reporter

Keep your routine

“Even though you’re working from the comfort of your home, prepare yourself for the work day just like you would if you were going in to the office.

“When I work from home, I make sure to dedicate about 30 minutes in the morning just for my morning rituals, like sipping a cup of tea, doing a short meditation, stretching and eating breakfast. I try not to check my emails, messages or do any writing until I am ready to start the day, so that my workspace is clearly defined and entirely separate from my personal space.” — Pascal Sabino, Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park reporter


“My No. 1 tip for every day: Go for a run around the neighborhood or do jumping jacks in your backyard. You can totally lose track of time while working from home and never actually stop working. Set a timer to make yourself get up at least once an hour to stretch or have a snack or pet your cats.” — Jen Sabella, director of strategy, co-founder

Keep your home clean

“When I’m anxious, being in cluttered/dirty spaces or knowing I have chores that aren’t done — like dishes — only make me more anxious.” — Kelly Bauer, Downtown reporter

Let the light in

“Open the blinds and let some light in. It will also give you something to look at when you space out.” — Shamus Toomey, editor-in-chief, co-founder

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

“With all schools closed, I know many parents will be stacked with the double duty of caring for their kids and working from home.

“It’s OK to ask your partner, family member or neighbor to watch your kids when you need to focus on work — or to tell your boss you need to be offline while you care for your kids.

“This is a new routine for many. Give yourself permission to be flexible.” — Stephanie Lulay, managing editor, co-founder

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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