How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Work From Home

By: Laura Berger

The Coronavirus pandemic has dominated, well, everything. But a not-so-small consequence is many employees being asked or forced to work from home. While a dream for so many, so many now realize how daunting this shift truly is.

Generally, the prospect of working from home makes one think first about equipment, ergonomics, and freedom. Well, the equipment and ergonomics are the easy part, the tricky bit being how to prevent this perceived reality from actually becoming unproductive and stifling bondage.

This article contains actionable tips on how you can create a pleasant and fruitful sense of new normal, leveraging the esteemed precepts of Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i).

Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i).

Exercise social responsibility: Working from home can feel lonely, with sudden isolation and a genuine lack of in-person contact. Exercising social responsibility, you surmount this feeling by utilizing your moral compass toward the greater good—contributing to society and its needs. Bob Stiller, founder of Green Mountain Coffee, knows that employees are more motivated “when there’s a higher good associated with it. It’s no longer just a job. Work becomes meaningful, and this makes us more competitive.” This psychology transcends your work setting, and even though you are shut in, there are remote volunteer opportunities out there. Brainstorm with your team in which you might want to participate to also create and maintain company camaraderie.

Engage in emotional self-awareness: You will be seeing a familiar person in your new workplace, you—and mostly—you. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself, get ready for an unpleasantly captivating ride. That said, when you are going into something you know will be unpleasant, having the near certainty that you will come out a better and more valuable person on the other side will keep you focused and satisfied. Ask anyone who has gone through SEALs BUD/S training, for example. These military superheroes go through some of the most grueling physical and mental torture known to man while understanding that they will be able to make global contributions that few can.

Science shows that there is no better way to decompress and get to know and relate to yourself than meditation. It even develops other aspects of emotional intelligence not expanded upon here, like self-actualization, stress tolerance, and flexibility. And right now, with life slowing down, nothing is stopping you from doing it. You can just turn your chair around from your screen and start, without anyone to interrupt you—assuming you have selected a setting that avoids disruption, also clearly important.

Control Your Impulses: Remote work inspires extracurricular temptations in most. You will likely find yourself in the kitchen more than usual, wanting to watch TV, or, heaven forefend, playing video games. Your ability to delay and redirect these lures can make or break your at-home performance and satisfaction. And to your leaders and teams, there is no more noticeable change than the productivity drop-off from distraction, one of the leading motivations behind the recent wave of companies calling employees back into the office. So do things to keep yourself honest. Turn your cameras on for remote calls so coworkers will be able to see any body language symptomatic of distraction. Set up lots of one-on-ones with colleagues, leaders, and employees to stay connected to the personal dynamics of your company, which will keep you more focused on its mission and your work. Organize virtual happy hours to take place at the end of the workday, again to foster camaraderie, knowing that you will have decompression time in your future when you have to stay dug into difficult tasks. Finally, put planned breaks in your calendar and honor them. Do so, and your subconscious will avoid becoming a restless mess.

So there you are—a few effective ways to deal with a new life working from home, according to emotional intelligence. As alluded to above, EQ-i is loaded with more value than just this–15 dimensions within 5 composites, to be exact. I encourage you to investigate how it might benefit so many more aspects of your persona. For now, I wish you my very best in your new life of remote work.

This article originally appeared on


Featured on ABC News, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdeo Group. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is the co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical.

Get your financial questions answered.

Visit the Savvy Ladies Free Financial Helpline. 

Get the Expert Advice You Deserve.