Make Work-From-Home work with these tips

With the enhanced community quarantine extended, work from home is now the new normal. And while your officemate is diligently sending out emails at 11pm or messaging some ideas to talk about on a Saturday morning, I can assure that they — just like the rest of us — would rather be doing something else.

This work from home setup is a lot harder for all of us than we think. Why? Well, first of all, there seems to be more work to be done — as if your company wants to make sure that your time at home is fully maximized and you’re not slacking off. Second, the constant distraction from just about everything in your house – whether it’s your kid brother making noise, your mom asking you to help in the chores, the new Netflix show that just dropped, your FB and IG feed, and even your refrigerator — everything can be a distraction. Third, the need to be productive feels like a dark cloud over your head when honestly, you feel a little sad and uncertain during a time like this.

So while everyone’s work from home experience is different, one thing is the same. We need to get our job done. We need to clock in at a certain time, check emails, attend Zoom meetings where people don’t know how to mute their microphones, and concentrate on actual work while our officemates continuously message us. While we’ve also read and heard a lot of tips like creating a routine because we are creatures of habit or getting your work tools ready, each person’s experience will be completely different from another.

The struggle as we know it is real. The question is, what do we do about it? How can we stay sane while working from home while ensuring productivity and also have fun? Here are 5 tips that just might work for you during this quarantine period.

Create and decorate a workspace 

If you’ve been working in an open-space office layout like I have, then you know how it feels to not have a work table of your own. Well, now’s the time to have that personalized office space. Put in a photo of your favorite BTS member, a couple of toys, maybe a home plant. Having a dedicated and decorated workspace can make it more inviting for you to work. It also helps you focus, knowing that that area is where you should get work done.

Take a fun break

One round of Mobile Legends, an episode of Money Heist, an hour-long nap. Any of these are fun breaks that you can do while working from home. No one’s going to stop you and it actually helps you get back to work refreshed. The disclaimer: just make sure that when the boss calls, you’ll answer and have the output he needs. Don’t forget to take the more important breaks, too. Eat lunch, go to the bathroom, sneak in a few snacks, have a cup of Dalgona coffee, and get that all-important water break to nourish you throughout the day.

Dress nice or dress down

Seriously, do what works for you. Some people find comfort in working in their pajamas. Others feel the need to get dressed in office clothes to set the tone for their workday. It’s all a matter of preference. There’s no pressure to dress nicely as you sit in your home office, as long as you’re mentally prepared to get the job done no matter what you’re wearing. It’s like pre-school where some kids wear their favorite princess or pirate costume, and the teacher lets them be as long as they participate. This can work for you, too, so give it a try.

Know when to stop

There must be clear boundaries set in place  for all of us working from home. Because all communications are via email or phone, sometimes we tend to forget that it’s already beyond working hours or the weekend. Setting boundaries is not just for your boss; it’s for you too. Go offline when your working hours are over and you’ve finished your tasks for the day. Take a break from your phone or laptop to avoid seeing work messages. Detach from your workspace and spend time with the other people in your home, whether it’s your family or partner. Do a non-work related activity to ease your mind off the work day, like an hour of yoga or a bath. Enjoy anything that will keep your mind and hands off your tools for work.

Communicate (the most important tip of all!)

It’s easy to get lost in the craziness that is having work and home in one setting. Hence, communication will really help you survive this setup. Talk to your teammates about the task at hand. Make sure that no details are wrong or misunderstood, so that all of you can seamlessly work on what’s needed. Talk to your boss about the support you to get your work done, or your struggles to submit to a deadline. Talk to your family members or partners on why you need to concentrate on your work, and how they can help lessen the distraction. Communicating what you need and how you feel will is the only way to be understood. It can also be a way for people to help you, while easing the stress that you might be feeling.

Which one of these tips are you doing now? And which ones are you excited to try the next work day? Don’t forget that these are just some ways  to get you through this unusual and challenging time. While some of it may be applicable to your setup, others might be not. At the end of the day, it’s really up to you to find a flow that would help you stay productive and efficient while enjoying your work-from-home setup.

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