Tips for working at home this summer by Melissa Gardner

Posted on June 7, 2020


Melissa Gardner is senior vice president for Strategic Business Programs at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. 

Many employers have made it official: Their employees will be working from home this summer. Now that you know the plan for the next couple of months, here are some things to think about.

Take time off: With quarantine, it may feel as though you don’t need vacation days, but you do. Enjoy a long weekend or take a Wednesday to break up the week. You need to do this.

Set up your work space: Sure, you have been home since March and have somewhere you’ve been working. But with at a couple of months ahead of you, do you have what you really need? Do you have a wireless key board and mouse, a large enough monitor, a comfortable chair? Don’t put this off. Make your set up work for you!

Get outside: You are home for the summer: Take advantage of that. Work outside if you can or sit near an open window. Schedule breaks to sit outside in the sun for 5 minutes to get some Vitamin D.

Take a walk or run: Nobody will know if you login to a meeting sweating! Get some fresh air and stretch your legs by walking around the yard or neighborhood. Take a walk for meetings where you don’t need to be on screen. It will help you focus on the meeting and let you get some physical activity.

Assess your work day: Be mindful about taking breaks, stepping away from the computer and getting up to move about during the day. If you find this hard to do, schedule it. 

Stop working: Set an end to your work day. Being home, it is easy to get caught up and work well past when you intended. While this might happen occasionally, make sure you are working a reasonable number of hours in a day. Just because you are home, it doesn’t mean you have to be on call 24/7.

Talk about what you need: Talk to your leader, colleagues, or anyone else to share what you are feeling, ask questions, and to find what is working for others and see if it will work for you. We are all struggling with something. Don’t be afraid to talk about what is happening and ask for help. 

Find replacements: Ask yourself, “When things go back to normal, what is the first thing I want to do?” Based on the answer, find a new way to meet that want. Don’t wait! For example, if the first thing you want to do is go out for a nice dinner, find a great restaurant that is offering takeout, set your table, light a candle and make it an experience.

Stop apologizing: When you share a photo or attend a call on video, stop worrying about your appearance. You are not alone to be unshaven, wearing glasses, without makeup, or with a messy mop of hair. Be comfortable with who you are, no apologies!

Share what’s working for you: Let your colleagues know about your at home success and failures and listen carefully to theirs.  We’re all in this together.


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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit


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