Working from home because of COVID-19? Here are some tips!
Career Tips & Advice
So the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 has got you working from home - or you’re preparing for the possibility that your company will make that announcement in the coming days. Are you prepared?
- Stick to your schedule and routine for better productivity
- Designate a specific area where you can focus
- Set some boundaries and clock out
- Make sure you are online and reachable during work hours
- Be mindful and inclusive during meetings
- Get things done and work
We are facing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines daily. This has promptly led multiple companies to close their offices and impose work from home arrangements to reduce the possible spread of the virus.
Though working from home may seem like a good deal, it can become a challenge if you’re not properly prepared to turn your home into a temporary office.
Here are some essential tips on how to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak and how to ensure that you maximize your productivity without sacrificing the quality of your work.
Stick to your schedule and routine
You have to get out of bed and get dressed - maybe not as early since you aren’t going to commute, but you should still get up and get dressed. People coming from Bulacan, for example, don’t have to wake up at 3 AM just to make it to Makati by 7 AM. But it’s a good idea to at least keep your work hours and morning routines the same.
If you’re normally at work by 8, wake up at 7 and do your morning routine - take a shower, brush your teeth, have breakfast, etc. But be sure to change out of your pajamas. You don’t have to wear work clothes or anything fancy. Although some people suggest wearing work clothes, comfy house clothes will probably be enough - just as long as you’re out of your pajamas!
Designate a specific area
Just because you don’t have a home office, doesn’t mean you can’t work from home. You simply need to pick a spot as your designated work area. But not your bed since that isn’t conducive to productive work.
You can set up a small space on your kitchen table, or set up some pillows on the floor to work on your coffee table. No matter what, make it the one place that you will always work in. Ensure that you get enough light and air circulating too so you don’t feel sick.
Designating a specific area will help you get into the mindset that you have to work, in the same way that getting dressed out of your pajamas will prepare you for the day. This is especially helpful if your work from home arrangements will last a long time.
Don’t forget to clock out
What might happen when you’re working from home is that you lose track of time because of the comfort of being at home. When you do check the time, you realize you’ve been working for 12+ hours.
While that may be fine for one day, if it becomes a regular habit, you’ll end up tired and burned out. It’s important to maintain healthy boundaries and unplug when it’s time. You are more susceptible to viruses and getting sick when you have a low immune system and studies have shown that lack of sleep affects your immune system.
Make sure you are online and reachable
There’s nothing more annoying than not getting feedback from your colleagues. More so when you don’t have the option to walk over to their office and desk to talk to them. Maximize whatever communication tools you use at work like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, or even Facebook.
It’s part of your responsibility while working from home to ensure that you are online and that your phone lines are open so anyone who needs you can reach you. Remember to let your colleagues know when you’re online and working and when you’re clocking out.
Be mindful and inclusive during online meetings
Running virtual meetings can be difficult because of the lack of visual cues we rely on during regular meetings. Having a lot of people in a conference call can make it difficult for everyone to share their opinions.
If you are running the meeting, pause frequently to invite questions or comments from everyone. Remind them too that they can use the chat window to share their thoughts if it’s difficult to voice out during the call.
It’s a good idea to record your meetings so coworkers who missed the meeting can catch up later. You can also use it to refer back when you need to.
Get things done
If you have been trying to push for regular work from home arrangements, this is your chance to prove it can be done. If management sees that productivity and work output decreases during this time, you can probably assume that this will be the first and last time you get to experience working from home. Get things done and prove that work from home can work for your organization.
Work! Don’t just say you are but head off into the mall or binge-watch your favorite shows. This current suggested work from home arrangement is meant to contain the spread of the virus. It isn’t meant for you to catch up on Crash Landing On You. So save your Netflix binge until after work hours just like you would normally do and get to work!
Realize that not everyone has been granted the ability to work from home, so don’t waste it. You are doing your part by keeping the community safe from spreading the virus more when you stay home, but remember do your part to keep your business up and running even during this outbreak.