The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has called for lockdowns and self-isolation measures across the world leaving most non-essential businesses no choice but to close their offices and work from home (WFH).
In light of this new reality, we asked some of our colleagues what some of their personal tips and tricks are on how they are best managing working from home and threw in a few others as well!
1. Set a schedule – plan your day the night before
“I like to plan out my day out the night before I go to bed as this allows me to better prioritize and remain more focused and disciplined throughout the day. Setting a routine schedule also helps me alleviate stress by ensuring that I keep a healthy balance between work and my personal time.”
Working from home may blur the lines between work and personal hours since homes are now essentially offices. For some, the inclination to want to sleep in a little more or be distracted by other activities is higher within the comforts of our own homes. Others may find it difficult to separate the two and end up overworking and not having sufficient rest.
To avoid that from happening, try setting a routine schedule that clearly defines the time to work and rest that works best for you and commit to it. This way, you can better account for your day to day activities and make sure that you are performing efficiently work wise and taking care of your personal needs at the same time.
Some scheduling applications that may be useful are Todoist, Noteplan, and Trello.
2. Take breaks in between – set aside a 10-15 minutes breaktime
“Taking 10 minutes out of the workday to do a little stretch and fix myself a cup of coffee helps me to be more productive and inspired. It keeps me feeling more refreshed and my ideas flowing better with the small change in activity as opposed to sitting at my desk the entire day.”
It has been said that taking short breaks in between a workday would help to improve efficiency and mental well-being. Therefore, depending on your company’s policies, ensure that you do take time to have your lunch and another 10-15 minutes break later in the day. This may not only enable you to perform better but also keeps you from overexerting yourself which may be damaging to your health.
Fix yourself a drink, take a walk around the house or connect with your friends or family for a quick catch up session – whichever way works best for you!
3. Exercise – incorporate home friendly exercises into your daily routine
“Now that I am home all the time, I am moving around a lot lesser as compared to before. Hence, to make up for this, I make sure that I take the time to do some home exercises to help me keep fit and healthy. I always feel more energized and alert after a good work out session.”
Research has shown that regular physical activity is important for our mental and physical state and has also said to reap many health benefits. Without the need to commute to work or move about as much during these times, it is important that we take time to exercise to keep us moving, more motivated and better abled to take on each day.
YouTube has many home exercises suited for all types of fitness levels from beginners to intermediates. Applications such as Blogilates, 7 minute workout, and Daily yoga are some other popular platforms where you can pick up a few work-out from home exercises, to name a few.
4. Communicate – stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues
“I make sure to dedicate some time throughout my week to tune in with my family, friends, and colleagues to catch up on how we are all doing and sometimes even engage in some online games to keep things fun and interesting now that we are confined to our own homes. It definitely helps me feel more connected both work wise and on a personal level and never fails to lift my spirits up!”
With applications like Whatsapp, Zoom, and social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, it is now easier than ever to stay connected with people. In terms of work, having more meetings and calls with one another may help in ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same projects and goals. Communicating often also reduces doubts and confusion, thereby producing better quality work more coherently.
Personally, maintaining social interactions may help in eliminating pangs of loneliness or anxiety if you are usually more accustomed to going out and meeting people. Besides that, it also serves as a good time to check in on one another and keep each other motivated and strong during this difficult time.
Take the time to let your connections know of your availability and the platforms where they can reach you and most importantly, never be afraid to talk to someone if you need help!
5. Set up an office – create boundaries and designate an area for work only
“To keep me focused and less distracted, I have designated a conducive area to serve as my office from home. Here, I only allow myself to carry out work related activities and nothing else. This has helped me so much in getting things done as I would at the office.”
Creating a favourable environment suited to your working needs is important in maximizing your level of productivity. Find an area in your home where you are able to concentrate best at and set up an office space with all items and documents needed within reach. Adopt the same mindset as you would when going to the office when you step into this area. This not only helps to create healthy boundaries between work and your personal life, but also minimizes distractions.