Last week, I wrote about the pros and cons of working from home. Many people have had to adjust to a new reality of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The adjustment has not been easy for some. If this was your first time having to work from home, you might have found yourself facing more distractions, incurring more expenses and not knowing when work ends and personal life begins. To aid your adjustment, I will share a few tips that worked for me:
Have a home office
It’s tempting to want to work from your bed. It might even feel nice typing away at your laptop beneath fluffy sheets and munching a snack while taking part in a voice call. However, there is a problem with that. Your brain probably does not associate your bed with working space. Your children also probably won’t make that distinction. If you can have a room in your house to use as a home office, that’s great. It’s easier to explain to children that when mommy or daddy are in this room, it means they are on an important call and you shouldn’t interrupt unless it’s an emergency. If you can’t have a room to yourself, mark out a daily workspace. It can be as simple as working in the same chair from the same position everyday. You need your brain to associate your “office” with productive work. It will be easier if you work from the same place everyday.
Get work-from-home equipment
A colleague listed the following items as his work from home kit:
- Two modems to ensure network doesn’t fail at a crucial time.
- A rechargeable fan to help with the heat.
- A generator for when the power goes out.
I jokingly added an inverter for when the generator fails to start. Regardless what you do, you are going to have to make sure you have access to the internet and a source of power supply. You will need both to beat deadlines, take part in online meetings and send reports. This is probably what turns most people off the idea of working from home. The above items represent a substantial investment you might not want to make during uncertain economic times.
Have a schedule
If you don’t know when to start and stop working, you will soon find yourself working 24/7. When I work from home, I make sure to “clock in and out.” I schedule tea breaks and also take an hour for lunch (not anymore since Ramadan began). When official work hours end, I make an entry in my daily log and stop working till the next day. This ensures I have enough time to attend to personal matters like playing a videogame and reading a good book.
Have you had to adapt to a new style of working too? Was it easy or difficult? What techniques did you try that worked for you? Perhaps you would like to share below.