Let me first wish everyone a good health and please stay safe. More and more companies are asking their staff to work from home since more cases of COVID-19 were found and the first incidents of death being reported. Working from home has always been many people’s dream… What is better than waking up from bed and the office is just beside you? And whenever you are tired, all you need is to jump onto the bed beside you and take a short nap!? Anyway, those are the usual comments I got from my clients when I told them I am working from home years ago. They said it’s an privilege only to realise it can be a disturbance when they experience it first hand. This article is not going to be on financial matters but to share the challenges faced working from home and my personal experience in managing it.
1. Time Management
To start the day may not be difficult for most since you are likely to log into your company laptop and the time will be captured. Your colleagues in the office may still call you to start your day. You will be surprised the problem with time management that comes with working from home is actually “Over working”. You don’t have colleagues to take over your shift, the need to chase the company bus or the urgency to rush home for dinner etc when you work from home. It is harder to switch off when your personal life and your work are both under the same roof.
Next is interruption! Sure…we do get interruptions at office too. Your colleagues coming over for a quick gossip or tea break. The interruption at home is worse. You get delivery man knocking on your door at anytime of the day or worse, your kid/kitten/puppy/etc that wants your attention.
We don’t have to go to the extreme as seen above. One way to manage over working & interruption is to set multiple alarms. It may be for your official lunch or tea break. It can be a little short 5 mins just to go to the window and get some fresh air. And remember to set a reminder to get back to work as well. This little reminders also helps to discipline us from taking a break that’s too long. And finally, set a reminder that it is time to knock off. It will be good to let your colleagues know you are off so they will not disturb your private time.
3. Prioritize your work
Setting up a “To-do” list can save you many hours thinking what to do first and what to do next or missing out something important. You can use the “To-do” feature in Google calendar so your job task will be synced to your phone alarm. Personally I am using “Just Reminder” apps as it allows more customisation for my use.
Screenshot of “Just Reminder”
I also use calendar widget on my phone to have a overview of my activities for the month. Some of you may like it to be weekly and you can set it to your preference. This helps me to have a overview if I’m running short of time for certain projects or am I too slack.
Screenshot of my calender widgets
4. Personal space
Creating physical boundaries between you and your workspace can minimise interruption. If possible work from another room instead of your bed room or worse, some work from the bed. Closing the door helps and a little sign that says “Do not disturb” may help further. In my opinion, it is best to inform your family members that you are not on leave and working from home. Let them know you do not wish to be disturbed during this time.
5. Keeping yourself healthy
Working in isolation can be mentally draining and I use snacks to keep us awake. Occasionally, my mum will come in with some food and all those lead to “Over eating”.
Exercising is the best way to manage that. Go for a short walk, jog and even climbing the stairs helps. It also keeps you healthier which gives you better immunity against viruses.
Working at home can be lonely and there is no human interaction at all. I leave web whatsapp on the tab and that helps me communicate with my colleagues.
It is important to keep ourselves mentally and physically strong at this period of time.