Teleworkers: Keep from cabin fever’s creep

I’m currently a part-time teleworker myself. As I’m located in DC and the laboratory I telework to is in New York, it’s pretty helpful not having to make that commute. When I first started teleworking, I found it extraordinarily difficult to not get distracted or to feel trapped in the apartment. I’m much better at it now, but it would definitely take another push to get used to teleworking full-time. Here’s some ways you can keep in that work mindset, and not get cabin fever, when working from home.

  1. Dress to impress: It can be really easy to skip that first-thing-in-the-morning shower if you’ve no one to impress with your physical presence, but it also feels good to look nice.
  2. Check out the local library or coffee shop: One of my favorite things about being at GovLoop is my coworkers. I can imagine being at my apartment full-time would get pretty lonely. Go to a place friendly to telework that also has others around to mix it up a bit.
  3. Stay connected to the office: Frequently catch-up with co-workers, whether it’s a quick Google chat to ask how their weekend was or a call about potential new projects.
  4. Volunteer/be a community leader: Find a community organization to be involved in, whether it’s facilitating a book club, attending a local mosque/church/temple/other house of prayer, or feeding the homeless.

Teleworkers, what do you do to keep from getting cabin fever and to stay productive?

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Henry Brown

The primary thing I did was Communicate COMMUNICATE communicate.

Didn’t much matter how, whether telephone, teleconference, web conferencing, email, twitter or ?1?! ….

If I didn’t touch base with at least one of my team members daily would feel terribly isolated.

Terrence (Terry) Hill

I am working on increasing my telework days from 1, to 2, to 3 days a week. Someday, I hope to telework fulltime. I find that in order to be successful, all of my stakeholders (co-workers, customers, managers, etc.) need to become better at virtual communications. If they use virtual tools like MS Communicator or Adobe Connect regularly, I don’t feel so isolated. The key is that everyone needs to be using the systems all the time. Not easy to do. Old addictions like traditional meetings and paper media are hard to shake.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Solid list, Corey. I also find that it’s helpful to schedule lunch or coffee with local colleagues and friends – just to get out of the house once in awhile.

Patricia Houghton

I telework 4 days a week and love that my office manager(s) are willing to allow it to happen. Indeed (frequent and detailed) communication is the biggest key to success. I think that it’s hard to do some of the things that are suggested in other posts – like limit how often you check email and Lync, for time management – when you are teleworking because you aren’t visibly seated at your desk. My manager loves that I am so easily contacted when my co-workers who are ‘in the office’ aren’t always easy to find. Keeping from getting cabin fever? I go to the gym at lunch several times a week and the dog loves that he gets a noon-time walk!

Vanessa Vogel

I agree with the first point.When I had my phone interview with Govloop I made sure to dress up. I was in Utah and with the 2 hour time difference and early phone call I didn’t want it to appear that I had just rolled out of bed. I took a shower, got dressed and weeks later landed the internship. Maybe it was because I “dressed to impress.”

Corey McCarren

Lunch with friends is definitely a good addition, Andrew. There’s probably even meetup groups for stuff like that.

Dale S. Brown

I didn’t telework when I was in the government, but I started a work at home lunch group at a nearby restuarant. It was great- it lasted several years and cut down on our isolation. I particularly suggest this for people who live away from the main city. We have no idea who is in our neighborhood unless we reach out. I have made a friend and some valued business contacts from the group.