Tips - Working at Home

Check out these handy tips from U of A Human Resources and the GSAP!

02 April 2020

  • Set a routine - a routine is very important and helps keep us on track.

  • Prepare as if you are going into the office - set an alarm, get up, get showered and get ready for the day ahead (don't forget the coffee!)

  • Prioritize our day - decide what you need to get done in the day and set your priorities.

  • Where possible, minimize distraction - not all of us will have the "perfect" home work environment, but are there ways we can minimize distractions and give ourselves a better opportunity to focus?

  • Set boundaries - just because you are working from home does not mean your responses to emails, calls and text messages must be instantaneous. Log off at the end of the day, and, as much as your job allows, try to avoid getting pulled into email and other work tasks on the weekend.

  • Practice change management - give yourself time and space to adjust to a different work environment - your workspace is different, we don't have access to the same things we used to, we might not have multiple screens, things may take more time. Acknowledge the amount of change you have already had to do in a very short time.

  • Self-care - Don't be too hard on yourself. The new "normal" is hard to get used to. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths, try not to get frustrated, go at your own pace, try to focus on one task at a time.

  • Ensure you are taking regular breaks - Get some fresh air, take one of your breaks outdoors or go for a quick walk to change things up. If you find it helpful you can schedule breaks or lunch in your calendar, so that a reminder goes off for you to take that time.

  • Be present - when you are meeting with colleagues and online, be present in the moment. Try to focus your attention specifically to the meeting rather than trying to do other things at the same time. It is important that your colleagues and friends feel they have your attention.

  • Get exercise during meetings - if you have a telephone meeting, walk around the house during the meeting, get up from your space and stretch your legs.

  • Stay connected - we are bound to have multiple online meetings throughout the day. Take time to connect with a colleague you used to see in the hallway. Reach out and see how they are doing. FaceTime them or give them a call to chat. Talk about things other than work for a few minutes!

  • Evaluate your day - did you get the tasks done you were hoping to do? Are there changes you need to make to be more productive? What do you need to change?

  • Give yourself and others grace - It's okay to feel tired! Working from home is still working. Studies have shown that online meetings are actually more tiring than face-to-face meetings from: staring at screens for long periods, trying to monitor where voices are coming from and facial expressions from a tiny (often blurry) image, and tech issues around sound or video.

  • Realize that this has been an emotionally overwhelming time. We may feel worried, anxious, tired and uncertain about the future. We can be worried about becoming ill, about jobs, our family members, our finances, and how long this will last. We are dealing with all of these feelings and challenges, without the physical support of people we would usually rely on. We miss our routines, our coffee shops, our family, our friends, even our coworkers! And that's OK.

  • Remember that support is available whenever you need it. Graduate students and their eligible dependents have access to psychological counselling support through our Graduate Student Assistance Program provider by calling 780-428-7587 or log into