Remote working has become the norm in Malaysia. Those lucky enough to avoid retrenchment during the Covid-19 pandemic are more likely than ever to be adapting to a working environment that is both familiar and alien at the same time. While that may sound ideal for some, the truth is switching from a structured office environment to the comfort of your own home can be rather challenging - in surprising ways. You will basically need to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life.
With all that in mind, learning how to work from home is important if you want to be efficient and effective at your job. Here are some great tried-and-tested working from home tips to help you stay productive and maintain the right work-life balance.
Maintain a Regular Schedule
Begin the day as you would if you were working in your physical office. Wake up early, get dressed and have breakfast before switching on your laptop. Setting a schedule can help provide structure to your day and concurrently, making it easier to get into the rhythm of working from home.
Next, family time! Do not drown yourself in work and forget about your loved ones (and yourself). Schedule your time with your family and take some time for yourself as well. It will really help to list these activities on your daily calendar and make sure to adhere to it accordingly. Do not extend your working hours too far beyond what you planned, at the risk of burning yourself out.
Pro-tip: Set up an “Out of Office” automatic response after your work hours. This serves as a gentle reminder to others as well, so no meeting or tasks will be expected from you after those hours.
Set Clear Boundaries
It can be surprisingly difficult! Your partner on endless Zoom meetings, your children and their ongoing online tutorials, the loss of structure and continuity - a concoction of this can be disorienting and tiring. Also, when you work from home, it’s easy to let your work life integrate into your home life. Without maintaining strict boundaries, you may start to feel like you are always at work and lose your sanctuary - a place called home. That’s why it is vital to keep the two distinct. You may want to start by informing your friends and family that even if you are home the whole day, visiting during scheduled work hours are off limits (unless it’s an emergency of course).
Photo from Elite Business
Define and Optimize Your Workspace
Sitting on the bed with the computer on your lap or even sitting with it in front of the television does not create a conducive working environment or the best mindset for work. It only leads to inevitable distractions and hours of delay. To avoid that, you need to create a workspace that is only used for working during the scheduled hours. It’s understandable that many of us might not have the luxury of having a home office all set up. But there’s always a way around it - you can section off a portion of your kitchen island or your bedroom to create a designated space for your computer. This creates an office atmosphere and will limit your distractions from the rest of the house. More importantly, keeping your space organized and decluttered is a very effective way to make working remotely more efficient.
Check out our article on “How to Organize Your Paperwork and Declutter Your Desk“ for more productivity tips.
Take Regular Breaks
This seems to be counterproductive but avoiding breaks could cloud your mind and affect your overall concentration. Breaks can be split into having multiple quick breaks throughout the day and your lunch break. Short breaks could last up to 5 minutes - it is basically a few minutes just to recuperate and refocus to get back to your work in full force. Lunch breaks are important - try your best to set about an hour away from your computer. If you happen to eat and rest before an hour, that’s great but do not jump right back to work. Use the remaining 15 minutes or so to speak to your family or catch up on your messages.
Remote working isolates you from your office colleagues. Gone are those days whereby you could hangout and chit-chat at the pantry - everything is via a virtual conference call now. Although it gets pretty much all the work done, this arrangement could be an issue for your work progress because getting noticed could be even more difficult. Hence, increasing visibility by over-communication to your bosses could actually give you an upper hand when there is a promotion available. Make it a point to check in and share a minimum of one accomplished task daily. Don’t forget about your colleagues as well - it’s good to have regular communications to foster good working relationships and teamwork.
Moreover, interacting with other people helps to clear your mind and get your brain juices flowing. After a long day, you can be stuck to a project that seems like a dead end. Hence why it’s important that you stay connected and speak to your partner, friends or even your pet at home - this will help to keep you sane and you might even find a solution for the problem that you are stuck on!
To be honest, remote working seems to be a long-term plan in most organizations and it makes sense to simply adapt to this working arrangement. The tips above are the best practices for working from home and staying on top of the game. While you are at it, head on over to https://store.lionfile.com/ to purchase all your work-from-home essentials!