In this time of remote learning, communicating, and working due to COVID-19 safety precautions, it can be difficult figuring out how to maintain a balanced lifestyle between personal matters and professional ones when you’re working from home. Several jobs and internships made the decision to transition to online formats over the summer, which gave some college students the opportunity to still further their professional and personal development from their residences. But, there are still many learning curves for all people whose work has been moved online. I know that while I have thoroughly been enjoying my virtual internship experience, I have definitely been facing some challenges when it comes to staying engaged over 7.5 hours and connecting to my peers. Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve discovered a few techniques for making the most of the situation and navigating my virtual internship.
Manage Your Screen Time
My internship is entirely on Zoom during our two workdays, which means I spend 6.5 to 7.5 hours looking at my laptop on those days. I’m sure many college students who either were already completing their degrees online or who transitioned to virtual learning mid-semester can relate to the feeling of Zoom fatigue after a long day of staring at a screen all day. I found that sometimes I would even get headaches by the end of my workday; so, one way I’ve combatted this was by making my lunch break a screen-free time.
Taking time during my workday to just relax and step away from the screen really helps me recharge in the middle of my day so that I’m ready to come back with the ability to be present. Nothing’s worse than having half a day’s work left yet already feeling like you’re ready for bed.
Make Your Set-Up Comfy
A lot of people working from home are not entirely equipped with designated office space (including myself!) This can make it extremely difficult to be able to focus, let alone finding space in your residence that you’re comfortable with sharing virtually. Various things go into why someone might not feel comfortable or may be feeling anxious about working from home. So, if you find yourself in this boat, be easy on yourself. When choosing a space to do your virtual internship, job, or schooling from virtually, be sure to prioritize your comfort in whatever ways you’re able to. You won’t be able to focus if you’re worried about your background.
With that being said, I understand that even prioritizing your comfort when it comes to what you feel comfortable showcasing virtually still poses lots of challenges, such as being stuck in a tiny corner of a room all day with a make-shift set up. As someone who sits in her own tiny corner with my laptop on a small table serving as a desk, I feel you. It can get really uncomfortable being confined to such a small space that’s not even made to be an office area.
To make my space a bit comfier, I light a candle during my workdays. I love candles and find the light that they emit to be very calming, so doing this small act every time I sit down for work really helps me feel a bit calmer and even sets up a mini work routine! If you’re not into candles, find something small and accessible that will bring you some joy and comfort during your workdays. Maybe that’s a cup of tea, your favorite chair cushion, or, if you’re able, a good work playlist. Find what eases your stress and watch your work from home days get a whole lot brighter. 🙂