An article in 2018 on the “gig” economy provides some great tips for many of us working from home.  The “gig” economy defines itself as the economy of workers who have several “gigs” like Uber, at-home-based customer service, or Door Dash.  Workers with multiple jobs (gigs) need to manage their careers in likewise ways to many of us now working from home on the phone.  These tips can help make the #StayHomeOhio order easier to deal with, so we feel connected as #apartwestandtogether.

  1. The Place to Work: Work needs to have a place that separates it from other activities. Designate a space in your home where you work with minimal or no distractions. Make your workspace as comfortable as possible, and equally functional. Petriglieri et al. recommend thinking like fighter-pilot cockpit style.  Everything you need should be nearby or at-hand. Keep the space dedicated to supporting your #StayHomeOhio job.  Make it your work “home,” a familiar and comfortable but tightly organized space.
  2. Keep to a Routine: Any good cognitive-behavioral therapist (like me) will tell you that life becomes more resistant to anxiety and gives more of a sense of accomplishment when you stick to a daily routine. Working-from-home during the COVID-19 crisis requires the protective and fulfilling aspects of a routine.  Petriglieri et al. tell the story of one person who baths every morning, using the time to structure the day in their head. Every day, get ready for work, go to your “place,” take lunch, and end the day as if you are going to your regular place of employment.
  3. Ground Yourself in Your Purpose: In the therapy model known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (or ACT), continuous focus on your life’s goals and values creates the motivation to live fully, no matter what the stressor.  For working from home, keep in mind why you work—what the end game is.  How does that fit into your broader life goals, and remember to examine why you’re working from home? Maybe your values include caring about others, so #StayHomeOhio keeps others safer by reducing the changes of exposure to COVID-19.  Using the telephone or web-based means to do your job may be tied to providing for your non-work life’s need or fulfilling a contribution to the greater good.  Examine your values and goals and find ways to align them to working from home.
  4. Stay Social Using Technology: ccbtcolumbus.com uses the hashtag #ApartWeStandTogether as a way to remind us that physical distancing is not social distancing. Working in isolation, from home, means finding ways to connect to others and making it a priority.  Using technology (the phone, Google Hangout, FaceTime, etc.) allows for close relationships or bigger group connections.
    1. Make a List of Close Friends and Schedule Frequent Contact
    2. Make a List of Larger Groups of Friends and Organize a Hangout or Group Chat.
    3. Schedule Routine Contact with Family Members
    4. Organize a “Lunch” Virtually for Your #StayHomeOhio Co-workers

Using these techniques, gig workers thrive in what is now the new-normal, at least for now. By making work from home “real work” and continuing contact with others, we can weather this storm and thrive.  Remember, #ApartWeStandTogether

Kevin D. Arnold, PhD, ABPP
The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy
Delivering Behavioral and Mental Telehealth for Ohio