April 30, 2020

How to effectively work at home on lockdown

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With most of the Philippines under quarantine, working from home has become the new normal for most office employees. While the “freedom” of working from home may be exciting at first, the reality is, this new norm will require adjustments. Some may experience anxiety caused by having no supervision, managing technology, and juggling family and work responsibilities.

Aside from staying motivated and attending teleconferences, here are a few tips to help you work from home as effectively as being in the office.

Keep your normal schedule
Structure your day just like you would a typical working day.  Don’t fall into the trap of poor discipline, as it could negatively impact your motivation and productivity.  Make a daily to-do list and prioritize what is important and urgent.

Dress the part
Working from home does not mean working in your pajamas. Even if you do not have a scheduled online video meeting, dress up in the morning to make yourself feel like you are going to work. More than just keeping up appearances, wearing your business clothes can help put you in a work mode mindset.

Set an alarm
To establish better work-life boundaries, set the alarm to signal the start and end of working hours. If you plan to work overtime, hit the snooze button, or set another alarm – just don’t forget to clock out and “go home.”

Accept distractions
When you are working at home, there will be a lot of distractions. You have the kids, laundry, dinner, and TV interrupting you from time to time. Accept that distractions are a reality, but at the same time, remember that some distractions can be prevented. Take a break to deal with other errands or, if you can, adapt to multitasking.

Sit near a window
Set up a dedicated workspace, free from distractions, near a window for maximum comfort. Exposure to natural light can sharpen your focus and boost your productivity. Moreover, a view of trees, or even a picture of a scenery, can help lessen the feeling of being cooped up indoors.

Establish boundaries
Make sure everyone in your family understands that when you are working, you are not available for pillow fights or Netflix binge-watching. You can also wear noise-canceling headphones to signal others that you need to power through a deadline and should not be disturbed.

Be equipped
If your work from home arrangement is more long term, you may want to invest in various work setups such as an ergonomic keyboard and a standing desk. But for a temporary set up during the quarantine, the only must-haves are a working computer, a decent Wi-Fi connection, and a reliable phone.

Sleep on time
Resist the urge to sleep in. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and schedule it so you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Research shows that oversleeping and sleep deprivation dampens cognitive function and energy.

Stay in the loop
Humans are social creatures.  If you miss the casual chats in the pantry, you can still keep up with peers in a virtual way through phone calls, online chat, or social media. Technology makes it possible to stay connected as though we are still in the office, rather than at home.

A final word for employees working at home: strive to be a better worker. Even without the conventional supervision, be responsible and accountable. You are the master of your integrity.