Some tips on working from home during the coronavirus pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic is crippling the global economy, but many companies have implemented mandatory work from home policies. While many others know what it’s like working from home, still many of us are working from home, full-time for the first time.

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Designate a workspace

You can’t just prop out your laptop on your bed and start working. It just makes you sleepy. In fact, it’s never recommended to work from bed because it weakens the mental association between bedroom, work, and sleep. Working from home is especially difficult if you’re used to working in an actual office environment, so what you can do is designate a specific workspace in your home and emulate your office. If you live in a flat, you can designate a corner with a table and a comfortable working chair. And don’t forget that freshly brewed cup of coffee for good measure.

Define your working hours

While this is relatively easy for those working on a fixed 9-5 schedule, others who work on a flexible schedule might find this difficult. Just as you’ve designated a physical workspace in your home, you should also define a specific time for working. You could always emulate your regular working hours, e.g. 10-6, 11-7, just like how you start your shift whenever you’re in the office. If you also happen to live with others, establish limits to eliminate distractions during your working hours. And of course once your work ends, it’s important to fully disconnect from work and reconnect with your home life.

Get a decent device

Many companies have issued work laptops for employees who will work remotely, but some others allow BYOD scenarios. Depending on your agreement with your company, your device should preferably be a business-grade device, such as a Lenovo ThinkPad or a MacBook Pro. Get a device that allows you to seamlessly multitask between your usual plethora of apps you use for work without lagging and stuttering, with all the ports usually needed (USB Types A and C, HDMI, etc.) and with decent battery in case you are on the move.

Always communicate with colleagues

Working from home doesn’t mean complete radio silence with your office friends. In fact, you can still sync-up with them using whatever collaboration app you use at work. Do you use Slack? Google Hangouts? Zoom? Cisco WebEx? Microsoft Teams? Whatever you use, all these apps support chat and video calls, so you can always stay connected whenever possible. If you used to run team meetings at 11AM in your office conference room, continue doing so virtually. If you have coffee sync-ups at three in the afternoon, do so virtually and still with a fresh batch of coffee. Remotely working doesn’t necessarily mean that your usual daily stops.

What about you? Are you one of the many who used to come to the office, but is now working from home due to the pandemic? Chime in below.

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