Young woman listening to a concert on her headphones while working from home

PTO Tips for People Stuck Working From Home

6 min read • Jul 31, 2020 • Grant Olsen

Working from home has gone from a millennial preference to a multi-generational reality. Research from the experts at Gallup reveals that 62% of American workers have worked from a home setting this year. The majority of those workers report that they’d prefer to continue working from home in the future.

“We are in the process of moving from ‘working from home because there is an emergency’ to ‘working from home because I prefer to, because I have made the necessary arrangements to make it comfortable, and because I can still enjoy the benefits of an office when I want or need to,’” says business expert Enrique Dans. “A growing number of companies have already offered their employees the possibility of not returning to the office if they don’t want to […]”

This new era presents new opportunities, such as more time with family members, less time commuting, and more flexibility regarding the location of your home. On the other hand, it brings unique challenges that many of us have rarely considered.

With summer in full swing, one of the biggest problems we’re facing is how to get the most from our PTO. When you work all day from home, spending additional time there might not provide the rejuvenating escape you’re looking for. But with concerts, festivals, and most other events canceled, there are fewer opportunities to get out and do what you love.

If you enjoy traveling, the options for your time off might seem even more limited. Americans aren’t allowed to enter most foreign countries. Even if you find one that would accept your passport, you’d likely be forced to self-quarantine in your hotel for an extended period before exploring the destination.

Given the severity of the restrictions we’re facing, coupled with the increased need for many workers to enjoy a release from the daily grind, it’s important to identify fun ideas for your time off. Here is a handful of possible suggestions:

1. Stream a concert: What’s the next best thing to seeing your favorite band perform live? Watching a livestream of their performance, of course!

With musical performers hampered by the same limitations impacting all of us, virtual concerts have become a more popular option. If you’re a country fan, Keith Urban is doing concerts. Alternative music lovers flock to Ben Gibbard’s livestreams. Want a swift kick of female empowerment? Check out one of Pink’s concerts.

Given the grim outlook for live concerts attended by fans in the near future, plan on more of your favorite musicians offering concert streams. While you might be seated on your couch as you watch, it’ll be a fun way to reconnect with a meaningful part of your life. And, if you want to enhance the concert experience, you could even wait in line on your porch for an hour for the “doors to open,” then stand for the duration of the show.

2. Stream an opera: Perhaps a rock, pop, or country concert sounds absolutely pedestrian to you. Fear not, because operas are also streaming live from around the world.

For example, you can watch legendary opera stars perform live from locations in the United States and Europe with The Metropolitan Opera’s “Met Stars Live in Concert” series. These are pay-per-view events, with tickets costing $20.

If you don’t feel the need for a live performance, you can watch free performances via the Met’s nightly streams. These videos are selected from more than a decade of incredible performances and feature some of the best singers in modern opera.

3. Virtually tour a museum: For those who had to cancel international trips due to COVID-19, there’s still an opportunity to get a taste of your desired destination with a virtual museum experience. The team from Google Arts & Culture is leading the way in this form of virtual tourism.

“Google Arts & Culture’s collection includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in New York City, and literally hundreds of more places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science,” says Travel and Leisure. “This collection is especially good for students who are looking for ways to stay on top of their studies while schools are closed.”

Carve out some time to virtually visit some epic museums in France, Korea, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

4. Get outside for a workout: The potential issue with some of these suggestions is they are activities that can be done from your couch, and this is a time when sedentary activities are a dime a dozen. If you want to truly get a break from routine, try a new form of exercise.

To boost your energy, motivation, and emotional health, you should get outside for some invigorating activities. Whether it’s jogging, swimming, fishing, bouldering, hiking, kayaking, or cycling, the point is to get into an inspiring outdoor environment and get your body moving.

5. Enjoy some meditation: Not every outdoor activity needs to be strenuous. Perhaps what you need most is a day of reflection and meditation. The key will be finding a quiet place where social distancing isn’t just possible but an unnecessary practice due to the complete absence of other people.

Whether you’re in a traditional meditation pose or just relaxing in some other way that allows you to reflect, give yourself the chance to detach from the stresses and challenges related to your pandemic experiences.

If you decide to camp outside during this meditation trip, you should add stargazing as a nighttime activity. Take some time beforehand to learn what constellations will be visible, then enjoy the serenity and wonder that comes from viewing the sky.

While it’s true that your time off from work will often look different during this time of public health concerns, you can still find rewarding and invigorating ways to enjoy yourself.

The most important thing is to find rewarding ways to break free of your routine. Adding new activities and new perspectives to your life will help you create separation from the daily grind and return to your work with positive momentum.


Grant Olsen

Grant Olsen is a writer specializing in small business loans, leadership skills, and growth strategies. He is a contributing writer for KSL 5 TV, where his articles have generated more than 6 million page views, and has been featured on and Grant is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." He has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University.