The whole Metro Manila will be on a “community quarantine” for a month starting March 15 because of the coronavirus outbreak. So more companies are now letting their employees work from home to help stop the spread of the virus and for their safety. Read on to know how to work from home productively if you happen to be one of those employees!
I’ve been working from home for more than 6 months now, and I wanted to share some useful tips to help those transitioning to this whole work from home arrangement. I’m sure it will be a challenge to some people — that was the case for me at first. It was a big leap for me after working in an office setup for over 8 years, and it took me a while to adjust to my new lifestyle. But you can do it with proper preparation and the right mindset. 😉
Before anything else, please make sure you’re feeling well! Don’t force yourself to work at home if you’re sick! Inform your boss and rest for the day (or visit a doctor, if necessary).
10 Tips On How To Work From Home Productively 💪🏻
Set up your workspace
Just as you would in a normal office setup, you will also need a proper workspace so you can work at home productively. Make use of your table and find a comfortable chair. Place a lamp if needed or move your table near a window so natural light can be maximized.
Also avoid working from your bed as much as possible (you wouldn’t want to associate your bed with work, right?). You’re expected to work, not to chill.
Inform people at home about your work setup
This applies if you do not live alone. Inform everyone in your household and tell them about your new work arrangement. This may sound foreign especially to old people. So it is important that they know you’re actually working and you have to focus during working hours.
Shower before working
Or the very least, wash your face and brush your teeth and change your clothes. Promise, it’s an instant mood booster knowing you come to work clean and fresh! It will help put you in a work mindset.
Put on some comfortable clothes
The best part of working from home is you can wear your comfy pambahay clothes! Except of course when you have a video conference call, then put extra effort to change your top into a more work-appropriate one. But yes, most days you can wear anything you want! No dress code, no uniforms, you can even work without your bra! FREEDOOOM!
Set a work schedule
Ask your boss about your work from home schedule — if you have to clock in and out the same time as you were in an office setup, or if you can have a more flexible schedule (e.g. work any time of the day as you please as long as you deliver your outputs in time). Knowing what time of the day you have to work helps make you more productive since you can plan ahead your day.
Use tools to work from home productively
Since everything must be done online, it’s important that everyone in the team is in sync with the projects, deadlines, meetings, etc. Good thing collaborating online is now made easy, thanks to the many tools available at our disposal. Some of the popular ones are Trello, Monday.com, Zoom, and Slack.
Don’t forget the good ‘ol Google Hangouts, too! You can set up different threads for different topics in Google Hangouts so discussions stay on point. If your company still doesn’t have these tools in place, maybe now is the best time to explore and find the best ones to use!
Constantly communicate and don’t hesitate to ask
More than anything else, it’s important to overcommunicate in a work from home setup. Since you’re all not physically together in one place, your colleagues wouldn’t know your whereabouts, the particular projects or tasks you’re working on, if you’re experiencing difficulty with something, and so on. Make it a point to communicate with your team members if you’re done with a project or an important task.
Moreover, It’s best to have a group chat thread where everyone says a quick “hello” or “good morning” to let others know who’s online. This same thread can be used for “goodbye” and “will have lunch” so your colleagues will know and are not left wondering why it’s taking you so long to respond.
Also, never assume you know everything. Ask help — it’s better to do it right the first time with the guidance of your colleagues than to repeat something (and waste time) because you committed a mistake that could have been avoided if you asked in the first place.
Write down a to-do list for the day
Prioritize tasks and make sure projects are moving despite the fact that you’re working remotely. You’re not superwoman so don’t expect you can accomplish everything — be realistic about your to-do list.
Again, keep in mind that you’re expected to work, not to chill. So work from home productively without distractions. Just like working from the office, respect the proper use of work hours. That means no TV, no playing of games, no surfing the net (unrelated to work).
Take your lunch break and mini breaks
So you can work from home productively, you have to take your breaks too! Stand up, walk a bit, do some stretchings!
As much as possible, take your lunch during regular lunchtime and avoid having a “working lunch.” It’s good to be away from the computer, too, you know. 🤓 Staring at your laptop screen for long hours can strain your eyes, so it’s important to rest them too.
I also use my lunch break to take a quick 10-minute power nap (after all, that’s one of the perks of working from home – your bed is within reach).
If you’re using your personal laptop for work, make sure to set up a separate work profile in your browser specifically for work-related stuff (where all work emails and work-related websites are logged in and bookmarked). That way, you can simply close down that browser when work hours are done, and then open it up to come back where you left off the next day. Trust me, this trick is super helpful!
So there you have it! Those are my top tips on how to work from home productively amidst the coronavirus situation.
Please stay safe and avoid going out if you can. Let’s all be responsible citizens and help stop the spread of this killer virus. Let’s also pray for those already infected that they recover soon. My thoughts are with the health professionals around the world who are risking their lives each day to battle this pandemic.
Leave a comment if you have any other tips on how to work from home productively! Let me know also if your company is allowing you to work from home already and your thoughts about it! 🤔