The Unanticipated Side Effect of Working From Home

We are without question navigating unchartered waters with the COVID-19 outbreak and both government officials and (most) employers calling for employees to practice social distancing by working from home for the immediate and foreseeable future. With so much going on in the world, it is understandable that an unfortunate and sometimes unanticipated side effect of working remotely is going largely undiscussed – that, of course, being ants-in-your-pants.

Cambridge dictionary describes “ants in your pants” as “to not be able to keep still because you are very worried or very excited about something”. takes this a step further and describes someone who is “extremely restless, impatient or anxious”.

For those of us that work from home from time-to-time, this may be a feeling we are familiar with, but certainly not to the degree we are about to face it working from home every day. Add the fact that outside of work hours we are (rightfully) expected to keep to ourselves, we can anticipate unprecedented levels of ants-in-your-pants around the world for weeks and possibly months to come.

Here are some ways to keep the ants out of your pants, avoid feeling restless, and maintain productivity all from the comfort of your home office.

Take Scheduled Breaks

It can be easy to lose track of time as our routines change, but it is important that we don’t overwork ourselves to the point of burnout. Make sure you take opportunities throughout the day to re-charge. When you’re home all day you may find that the day blends into the night and that you’re actually working longer hours than you did before. Remember to separate work from family time and maintain a balance consistent with your past non-remote work routine.

Work from home tips


Your gym may be closed, but that’s no reason to avoid working out. Staying physically active will allow you to reduce restlessness and maintain productivity and focus throughout the day. There are plenty of things that you can do from the comfort of your own home without having to spend money on workout equipment. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Maintain Normal Eating Habits

One of the biggest challenges for people that work from home can be maintaining normal eating habits. When we are bored or restless, it can be a natural tendency to snack or “graze” throughout the day. While it may not seem like a lot, extra snacking throughout the day can have a significant impact on the total amount of food we eat each day. Try to maintain your normal eating habits, whatever they are, and focus on maintaining consistent energy levels over the course of the workday.

Jokes aside, while businesses adapt their policies and procedures to cope with COVID-19 there are sure to be growing pains. The more we share and communicate about our experiences in our new environments, the quicker we’ll all be able to adapt and move forward together.

What are you doing to cope with ants-in-your-pants?

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