Work from Home: Resources on Productive Remote Working


What exactly is work from home? Is it like a work-work, or like a vacation, or a like something where no one will hold you accountable for anything? As the pandemic sweeps across the world, the most important thing is to stay indoors and take proper care of your health. Once you do that, you can think of ways to make your day productive along with just sitting and looking outside the window. Here are few ways you can be productive while resting at home.

1. Make a dedicated working area inside your home

Try to find an area at home where you can sit, place your laptop and can call it a workplace. Make sure you distinguish your work and non-work space. Also, make sure you have a good source of natural light hitting during the day. All in all, you need to identify one spot inside your home to mentally set your mind to work and nothing else

2. Maintain a regular schedule

You act as you have to go for the job and have your sleep pattern accordingly. This will help you get back in the same groove when you again start going for your lab activities

3. Set realistic goals

Set small, manageable daily tasks that contribute to your longer-term goals. This will help in keeping you on track. Ask yourself questions such as is there any data you forgot to analyze, is there a report you forgot to finish, is there an unfinished manuscript you forgot to complete? Use this time as an opportunity tio finish any incomplete work that contributes towards your research goals

4. Keep in touch with your advisor

Let’s face it. This is not a vacation. You have to work while staying indoors. Have regular meetings with your advisor where you can discuss interesting literature, surprising data you got and other stuff (More directed towards experimental peeps)

5. Make your research interesting 

Graphical abstract is an interesting and popular approach to communicate science. It consists of self-explanatory visual summaries of the main findinfs of your research. They take time to make so this quarantine state can be used to work on making graphical abstracts for your research. Once you’ve made one, you can place it on posters, presentation slides, papers, and social media platforms. It could even help you build your personal brand. You can also use this time to learn the skill of writing.

6. Think about your long-term career plans

Use this time to know more about yourself and your career options. You could read a book about career planning, test out career options with online job simulations, or use free introspection tools, such as myIDP. These things will help you reflect on the skills you have, brainstorm skills you’d like to develop, and think about where you see yourself headed in the future.

7. Have fun along with human interaction

While you get enough work done during this period, make sure you are not continuosly stick to in front of your laptop/mobile and other electronics. Make sure you exercise or have enough external activities for your body to not become sluggish. You can jump around the house, indulge in push-ups challenege with your friends and other stuff to keep yourself active. Don’t get mad wondering that you have nothing else to do. Use this time to take care of yourself, to learn a new skill for eg., becoming the next Gordon Ramsey. Think of that old hobby which got lost due to grad school and you can pick up again. Do fun activities, get a cup of coffee, take a walk and do stuff that you enjoy. Have a phone call/video call with your labmates, friends, friends from your own country (make sure of the time zone), relatives and others and maintain that human interaction.

These are crazy times but we will get through this. Take care of yourself and others, and remember to wash your hands!

Online articles to browse through

COVID-19: Some Useful Links

Penn State has announced that all classes to be held remotely beginning on March 16, 2020, and continuing through the Spring semester. Penn State GSA has gathered all useful links to go through and make yourself familiar with the new system

President Eric J. Barron’s message:

Coronavirus Information:

Covid 19 Updates for graduate students:

Remote Learning Guidelines:

Pennsylvania Department of Health:

CDC website on Covid 19:

CDC guidelines to prevent illness:

Events are unfolding rapidly, so please continue to watch for communications from Penn State, as the plans outlined above could change. Students, if your questions are not answered at or, please reach out to

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