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7 Tips for Working From Home during Covid-19

26 March 2020

With Covid-19 or Coronavirus Disease pandemic quickly spreading around the world, many businesses and companies are advised or forced to implement work-from-home policies. Although, this might be usual for tech companies and startups, some of us may still find this a challenge to work-from-home for the first time as full-timers.

This arrangement might even be something new to those who are used to working from home, it’s a pretty sudden change, now your whole company is involved. What’s different is also that there will be a lot of changes in how we’re used to socialising with people inside and outside of work; they call this social distancing.

 

Here are some tips to help with working from home effectively:

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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

7 Working From Home - Essential Tips

1. Dress Up

It may start off as simple as dressing up a little, but it’s the first and crucial step. Although it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas or comfy-home clothes, that’s just going to tempt you into a slow-start and less productive day with work.

Formal-dressing isn’t required, but acting as if you’re going into your office on a normal day, starting from taking a shower, cleaning up and then dressing up, serves as a signal that it’s time to wake up and get cranking! Besides, getting dressed to work-from-home will help in setting your mindset towards getting work things started and done. It helps build up confidence and draw a line between being at work and at home.

This also helps us to always be ready for modern-day meetings too; video-calls are rising higher on its peak, as you read this.

2. Designate a Workspace or Home Office

Keep your work and home lives separate by designating an area for work at your home. You will need an active and positive connection in your working environment to boost your work productivity, this also applies in offices. We tend to work better when we’re in a designated environment that keeps our work-mindset and attitude flowing. If this applies in offices, it also applies at home.

Your work-designated area need not be a specific room, especially when you’re lacking space within your home. Create a workspace that’s away from your daily home-hangout areas, like the sofa facing the TV in your living room, your bed in your bedroom or dining space that’s filled with either healthy or junk food. Use a space you hardly use before all this, even a corner of your dining table that isn’t your usual spot, will work. It should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible.

While making an arrangement for all this, we hope you don’t compromise comfort, for you will need to sit in it for 8 or more hours a day. Find an area with good lighting, invest in a good chair or use some pillows for back-support. Put up some motivating quote-frames, a cup of stationeries, and maybe some live-plants? A little workspace decoration won’t hurt. If you can afford to put up a space near a window for a breath of fresh air and natural lighting, that’ll be ideal!

You will want a space to engage with work and then disengage once your hours are up. That’s why it’s important to have a dedicated space, a clear line for a workspace at your home during these times or permanently, you’ll never know when this chance might come back again.

3. Keep Clearly Defined Working Hours

It’s very important to be clear about your working hours. Set clear working hours and stick to it. You’ll be able to get your best work done and transition back to the office if you stick to your regular working hours. Ensure to maintain work-meeting times as is, like weekly update meetings and such, to continue a scheduled and clean working practice.

Hold yourself accountable and manage timing as if you were in the office. Because, sometimes, when you’re working from home alone, you may lose track of time and forget to do other routinary activities, like getting lunch, taking a short break, or finishing work when it’s time. Time can move either quickly or slowly, depending on your workload and how you manage them. Set alarms and email alerts to help you keep track of the time.

If you live with other people and they happen to be based at home too, do communicate to establish boundaries and come to an agreement on respecting each other’s workspaces. When it’s time to disconnect from work, remember to reconnect with the people around you, as you were when you were working at the office. Your home isn’t your office, but at special times, you have a workspace at your home during designated working hours only.

4. Build Transitions Into and Out of Work

Transitioning into work includes your morning commute from home to office, which helps you prepare for work physically and mentally. Creating a similar routine will help you build your going-into-work state. For example, before or while commuting to work, you often listen to the radio for the morning news or your music playlist or some like exercising or reading before they start work. Imitate a similar routine to train yourself to know what’s coming next.

Transitioning out of work requires a buffer or a signal to show that it’s time to end working. For instance, some of us would visit the toilet for a toilet break before hitting the jammed up roads on your way back home from office, or some would start cleaning up by washing their mugs or restacking the paperworks on their table. This helps to decompress and prepare that you’re off to get on with the day with other things than work. At home, you may start cleaning your workspace or take your pet for a walk (if this is allowed).  You may set alarms or get your loved ones to call you too. But, remember to manage your own timings and work deadlines, of course.

5. Don’t Get Too Distracted

Distraction is the biggest challenge when working from home especially for people who aren’t used to it. When you’re at home, you tend to unwind and let your mind distract you with many things you’re able to do at home or outside. The TV remote is just a stretch away or the fridge is just a few steps away! Don’t get me started with your comfortable bed! It’s normal to get distracted but how do you control it at times like this? 

And at times like this, news will be the biggest distraction! We obviously would like updates on what’s going on with the world and what can we do to prevent ourselves from getting the virus? It’s good to stay updated, but try filtering your news on your mobile app and set it to buzz you only at the end of the day or during break times. Turn off all other notifications and use earphones to listen to non-distracting songs, if your surroundings are too noisy.

Taking a few breaks is essential when it comes to work, but don’t mistake it for an opportunity to finally do things you weren’t able to before this, like cooking that recipe you saw on Instagram or cleaning up your wardrobe or doing anything that defocusses you from your work too much. Use your break times wisely, as time permits. Use alarms.

6. Communication is Key

Alike in relationships or friendships or workmanships, communication is key, especially with your reporting managers and team members. Come up with a plan that works for everyone, which isn’t very easy but start by using online collaboration tools, get yourselves used to video calls and online presentations. Work on a tool that works with your projects or workloads and keep them open and easily accessible by your team members and managers. Not feeling too well on a particular day? Buzz and notify them, the same way you do before this.

Keeping each other notified is important to pan out an honest relationship between colleagues, figure out solutions and expectations together. It’s okay to make some changes as you go, as it’s expected to be a bit bumpy at the beginning, but then again, this is how you learn to manage work expectations with yourself, your team members and manager. Unique challenges may arise, but reach out to the people you usually do for each type of challenge, in respective ways.

It’ll be a good time to add your colleagues into group chats by projects and departments. Use online chatting tools that’s easily accessible by your colleagues to ensure easy communication throughout the period and you can carry on even after, as this helps break the formal-email-only ways.

7. Don’t Forget to Socialise

You may be used to talking to your colleagues while you were at the office, or not, either way, when the whole office switches to the working from home policy, you will feel a difference. Therefore, don’t forget to make small talks or even a simple checking up on your colleagues will help both you and them.

Make small conversations with your colleagues, ask how their days have been or even as simple as ‘What’s for lunch today?’. Reply on group chats when someone shares about news updates and tips, in turn, share something with them too. Acknowledge one and another, this will go a long way. 

Scheduling a video call every two days or twice a week with your team members also helps everyone to stay updated with each other, keep conversations going and ensures no one is left behind or lost. That anxiety and isolated feeling is what we’re trying to beat, together.

This also applies with your loved ones, family members, friends and pets. As you’re not able to meet them for time being, initiate a check-in, get them on the line or start a group video call. Have movie or game nights together, there are plenty of free online tools we can utilise, thank technology for that! Reach out, connect and most importantly, take care of each other virtually, for now. Socialise for your own sanities.

Source by Daily Muse Inc.

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