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Don’t Forget Your PTO if You Are Working from Home

Terence Channon
5 April 2020

Don’t Forget Your PTO if You Are Working from Home

With all the COVID-19 chaos, being quarantined, and feverishly working at home, the thought of a vacation is probably a distant thought. The frenzied working pace may be exacerbated by looming feelings of being furloughed or laid off and working more now may make your job more secure.

Of course, getting on a plane or cruise ship or heading to a theme park or casino is completely off the table right now. However, that does not mean that taking a well placed mental-health day or using your PTO to decompress or reset your mind cannot and should not be done.

If you work for an organization and your compensation package includes PTO, remember that it should still be accessible to you and to use to ensure your engine is well-rested enough to be productive and helpful at work. Taking a few days off or even a long weekend may be just what the doctor ordered, especially since it feels like the pressure is on and working at all hours of the day and night is a very tempting proposition

How can you take some time off if you are stuck in your home, your laptop is always in your periphery, your cell phone is ringing non-stop with notifications and jet-settings to the Caribbean is off the table?

You can get creative — have a spa day in your bedroom, set-up a small concert at your house with Spotify or any of the DJs that are doing live streams of their spinning, set-up a tent in your backyard and go camping under the stars. How you spend your vacation and what you enjoy doing is up to you — just must work within the framework that quarantine and your residence allows.

How can you get away from the family or your home office set-up? It may take locking yourself in your bedroom. Turning off all notifications on your devices. Or maybe even temporarily uninstalling your apps. Having problems detaching yourself? Ask your loved one to take your laptop, phone or other devices and lock them in the car — and not give you the key until you have returned from ‘vacation.’

Crazy measures during crazy times are very acceptable.

It’s hard enough to set boundaries, especially if you have children running around and don’t have a sealed-off home office space. Just because you cannot go to the office anymore does not mean that your PTO is null and void until the world returns to normalcy.

Don’t Forget Your PTO if You Are Working from Home was originally published in Terence Channon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.