As Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus) has forced more people to work from home, here are 5 essential tips to surviving the days of working from home.
1) Family & Kids
First of all, you’ve got to inform your family about the impending change that will take place at home. You’re going to be at home that much more often and you’d need some sensible working space and time to get the job done. To do that successfully, you’ll have to sit your family down and let them know that this dual-role of the home will take place by which date and should last for how long. With that, you may inform them that habits will have to change at home especially when there’s a phone or conference call coming through in the day. Trust me, they will come.
Time is of essence when working from home. You might contend that since you’re no longer commuting to work, you may be afforded with the pleasure of waking up later than usual. Well yes in a way but you shouldn’t be sleeping in more than 2 additional hours. If for instance you used to wake up at 6am to beat the traffic, perhaps now you can get up at say 7am or 7:30am to give yourself enough time for everything you need to do in the morning eg. brushing your teeth, shower, breakfast etc.
With the extra time before you start work, say at 9am, it’ll give you sufficient room to recap what needs to be done. And if you’re into spending some time meditating, devotion, prayer etc, rising early will give you the much needed space to do so.
“Having a sensible amount of working time is important to get the job done and starting much later than usual is not a wise option.
For lunch and knocking off time, establish a good sense of timing for these and not go overboard at working without rest. But what’s the consequences if you extend working time at home since you saved so much from commuting? If you work more than your mind can take, chances are you’ll dread working at home sooner than you might think. You need to keep the environment fresh and the mind blissful when operating at home because unlike the office, there’ll be more distractions than you can imagine coming within the confines of your own home but without the “fresh air walk”, Starbucks or anything of that sort nearby.
3) Office & Boundaries
From point no. 1 above, you have to also inform you family where you’ll be operating from in these coming days. Will it be in the study, bed room, study, living room, dining or out at the patio? And if both spouses are working at home, then it gets trickier as to who gets which space. A sensible discussion should be able to sort this out.
But wherever you are, you need to alert those at home that this area will be off limits and cordoned off from mischievous games from the kids and no place for the pets to hang around for food. It’s war time when you go into this work space and they have to give you that extra privilege because you need to think and work. Failing to make this your new office will heighten the risk factor to your productivity.
4) Chores at Home
Never ever indulge in chores at home during working hours, not even if you’re working at home. If you have to water the plants, do so before the start of your working time, at lunch time or after work. If you have to get the laundry done, it’d be the same, do it when it’s not your official working hours. If you have to feed the cat, fix the new lamp or attach the new glass panel to the window, do not attempt to do them during working hours or you’ll start regretting because more time may be needed to fully get them completely done.
5) Noise & Earplugs
Sometimes the noise at home is inevitable. The kids may be screaming on top of their lungs like they’re at the water theme park everyday or that renovation is going on these few months at your neighbour’s. If these are the factors you’ll have to work with, buy a pair of ear plugs. It’s a better weapon to fend off the noise than soft music can. I carry my earplugs everywhere I go including to the cafes if I have to work on a file quickly at the cafe. You can’t imagine how such a cheap pair of little rubber plugs can do to your working mood, it’ll keep you sane in a world filled with insanity.
- Dress sensibly, you’ll never know when the next conference all or urgent appointment will be.
- If you find yourself bored after some time, go out of the house as if you’re driving or commuting to an appointment. We’re creature of habits, we need such distractions to remind us that we’re still in working order.
- If you find yourself a little tired, allow yourself that afternoon 10-minute power nap. It’ll do wonders now that nobody is there to catch you sleeping in the “office”. But make sure it’s only a short snooze.
- When your mates call and want to come over, tell them no, period. Catch up after hours.
- If you need to break a sweat at the gym or at the pool, this is the best time to think and work efficiently. The key is, get in, do it, get out and freshen up quickly. No extra indulgence in case it compromises your productivity.
What about sanitisers?
For all those sanitising and hygienic tips, there’s plenty already on the world wide web. Google it, we’re sure there’s heaps you can find.
Till the next time, may you be productive working at home in this Covid-19 season.
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