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How to survive working from home, the PC Gamer way

(Image credit: EA)

The coronavirus outbreak has seen a surge in people working from home As well as knowing one or two things about PC games, lots of us are veteran remote workers, so we’re taking a brief break from gaming news to share the mistakes we've made, which hopefully you can avoid, and our best tips.  

Don’t stay in bed until the last second

No commute means more time in bed, which is objectively the best part of working from home. But signing into Slack before you’ve even got both socks on and then wolfing down a half-eaten packet of crisps you left at your desk yesterday is not a good way to start the day. Keep up your routine and just use the extra time to do something important, like playing BattleTech or something. —Fraser Brown

Make a map of nearby places you can work out of

If you can, don't make your home your only option. Working out of the library or a local cafe every Tuesday is a great way of changing the rhythm of your week. Some major cities have co-working spaces, with hourly rates or memberships, that cater specifically to remote workers. —Evan Lahti

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Wear shoes or risk becoming 100 percent shoe intolerant

I've been working from home since about 2013, and it's a wonderland of never wearing shoes. Problem is, I discovered, when I would have to wear shoes all day like a normal person (like at an event or convention or something else) it just felt like my feet were being crushed in a vice all day. My body temperature would shoot up and I'd feel hot and sweaty even in heavy air conditioning. So I'd recommend wearing shoes at least a couple hours a day so you don't completely lose your shoe tolerance. I am not a doctor.—Chris Livingston

Walk or die

We gotta get that blood flowing, bud. And who knows how stuffy your office is? If you work in the same place you sleep and eat, it's easy for the energy to come and go on a whim. If you're feeling sluggish, take a 5-10 minute walk. Don't feel guilty or like you're wasting time. Good health precedes productivity. Take it up a notch and knock out a workout at the gym or a jog around the neighborhood. I typically have lunch prepped, so I use my break to exercise, which keeps me feeling good even though I've been sitting in my apartment alone for the bulk of the day. —James Davenport

Don’t spend the whole day taking selfies with your pet

Unless your job is being friends with a dog, hanging out with your pet is probably better than work, and your pet knows that. It senses your weakness. And it will try to exploit it. If your parakeet keeps trying to get you to play Mario Kart or your dog does something adorable and you just have to put it on Twitter, control yourself. Set boundaries and then spoil them later to deal with the guilt. —Fraser Brown

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Make use of your entire space

If I'm feeling restless, lethargic, or frustrated but can't head out to a coffee shop for whatever reason, I'll grab a laptop and sit at my counter to hammer out writing or emails. My desktop is transforming into a production machine, where I largely associate it with capture and video production. Now that the sun is out I'll bring the laptop out to the porch and write from there. Or maybe if I need to be completely distraction free, I'll grab a notepad and kick back on the couch to work through some writer's block or to generate some ideas. You don't need to be attached to your desk. — James Davenport 

Ignore anyone who tells you to wear jeans

People obsessed with Good Work From Home Habits will tell you to awaken at the crack of dawn, take a shower, get dressed, go out into the world, interact with human beings, observe nature, meditate, and write that novel you've had on the back burner, all before you sit down to start working at 9 o'clock sharp. Who are these people, and how do they find time to write these Twitter threads!? Anyway, I see a lot of insistence on getting dressed as if you're going to the office, and I'm here to tell you: Don't be ridiculous. Yes you should put on some clean clothes, but wearing outside clothes around the house is for suckers. The best thing about working from home is ditching jeans for light, cozy pajama pants, or some other ludicrously comfy lounge pants. In the summer, gym shorts. You can always throw on real pants for a video conference if need be. The rest of the time, enjoy your freedom. — Wes Fenlon

Stop working

We've all dipped into a feature or preview after hours when inspiration strikes. There's no harm in that. But it's really easy to lose track of time and make a habit of working far beyond the usual 40 and into the evening. Editing video is a self-imposed fugue state, I'm learning. Avoid unnecessary burnout and stop working when around the same time every day. Draw a line, make rules with yourself. Stick to them. Maintain that work-life balance. —James Davenport

(Image credit: Fullbright)

Don't get distracted by the front door

You'd think working from home would mean fewer interruptions than an office full of people, but it's not always the case. Expect to be distracted by salespeople, deliveries, neighbors, and enthusiastic religion-pushers who somehow think you've never heard about Jesus Christ until the moment they knocked on your door. Plus, if you have dogs, each ring of the doorbell will send them into a barking frenzy. Consider putting a sign on your front door that your home is a workplace and you shouldn't be disturbed, and get notified of deliveries via an app rather than the doorbell. —Chris Livingston

Don't keep a big jar of Nutella in the kitchen

Sometimes your mind drifts when you're working from home. You might be experiencing a touch of writer's block, or waiting for a video to render, or just need a break from the screen. And I can tell you from experience that if you have a big jar of Nutella in the cupboard, you're going to find yourself standing in the kitchen eating from it with a spoon, probably while staring into space. Of course, you can replace 'big jar of Nutella' with whatever food-based vice you happen to have. The advice is the same. —Andy Kelly

Don't forget to enjoy it

Working from home is largely great. Solitude can be wonderful. You can listen to your own music without headphones. You don't have to smell whatever horrible lunch someone has heated up in the breakroom microwave. You control the thermostat. The commute can't be beat. Stealth naps are occasionally possible. Pants are optional. While the whole coronavirus situation is tense and scary, make sure you let yourself enjoy the opportunity to work from home as much as you can. —Chris Livingston

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