Has COVID-19 forced you to work from home? Here’s some advice to stay productive and sane

PLEASE put your phone on mute during a conference call — and other things remote workers want you to know.

Yes, working from home means your pets are now your coworkers.

(Photo by Flickr user, used via a Creative Commons license)

The act of working remotely or from home is not a new fad for much of the technology workforce.

Many people in Philly’s tech community have worked this way long before concerns about the COVID-19 virus made the practice commonplace — or in some cases, a requirement.

While the City of Philadelphia has said there’s only one confirmed case of the virus so far, a handful of local companies are extending remote work options to employees, and encouraging “social distancing,” aka avoiding going out around others when it’s not necessary.

That ranges from bigwigs such as Comcast and Independence Blue Cross to Fishtown Analytics, an analytics consultancy for high-growth, venture-funded startups, which told that its staff plans to work from home “indefinitely.”

And a handful of events in the area, like this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, have been canceled, while others, like Chariot Solutions Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise conference, slated for April 14 and 15, will move online, the company announced Wednesday. (Those announcements came after Amplify Philly canceled its trip to Austin after the SXSW conference scheduled to happen this week was also canceled.)

So, if you’ve found yourself working from home for the foreseeable future, we’ve rounded up some advice to make that transition a little smoother, and a little bit more productive.


Many folks suggested that you treat your morning the same as you would if you were heading into an office. Set aside a designated work space if you can (even if it’s just your kitchen table), make yourself some breakfast and yes, wear some pants.


You will definitely have a handful of new distractions to deal with. Some will be less in your control like noisy neighbors or childcare schedules, but whatever you do: Don’t fall into a Netflix hole.

You will want to work from your couch, plenty of folks said, but pay attention to how your back and wrists might feel after a few hours of this, one WFH veteran advised.

And oh yeah, please don’t forget to mute yourself if you’re on a conference call. We’re already dealing with 12 people saying, “Hello, can you hear me?” at the same time. We don’t also need to hear Mario Kart noises or that podcast you’re listening to.

And when you’re wrapping up for the day, actually do so. Many people chimed in to say that at the end of the day, switch up your surroundings, go for a walk or make dinner to separate back into “home life.” Create a signal that tells yourself “I’m done with work for the day,” and then stick to it.

And while adjusting to this new environment might be hard, remember this: Your coworkers are now your pets, who are probably very happy to see you.

Good luck!

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