5 Tips in Working from Home
Since the traffic and commuting in Metro Manila worsened, working from home has been most employees' dream. With most files now digital and the availability of productivity apps, working from anywhere can be done nowadays if you have sufficient internet connection.
However, working at home requires its own discipline. It's not for everybody, especially if you're so used to working at offices. Some say "I'm used at working in coffee shops, I can handle this work-from-home thing." No darling, you can't. As I said, it requires its own discipline that is similar to working in an office.
I've been both office-based and home-based during my career and from experience, the 5 things below helped me maintain my productivity during my work-from-home days.
1. Get Dressed
The saying 'dress for the job you want, not the one you have' can be modified into 'dress for the job you have, not the setting you are in.' Many people, when they work from home, they tend to wear anything comfortable because they're at the comfort of their own place. No need to dress up in any way.
However, it's recommended that you wear a casual shirt and shorts, just to keep yourself aware that this day is not a weekend. It helps you be aware that this it's not Saturday yet, which may lead to decline in productivity especially with all the distractions you have at home.
During video call meetings, do wear the now-traditional Skype attire - business up top, casual waist down. That way you will still look presentable in your meeting and even though they know you're just wearing shorts down there, they'll appreciate the effort and dedication you put yourself through just to look professional.
2. Have a dedicated workstation
A common misconception about working at home is you can work anywhere in it. Since your home is a place that's so familiar to you, you will end up being distracted if you just place yourself anywhere. You're at the dining table that's near the fridge? You'll end up getting a lot of snacks rather than working. You're in the living room? Why not turn on the tv and watch one episode in Netflix, to ease your stress? Before you know it you already wasted 3 hours with Crash Landing On You.
The best setup is choose a place where you won't be distracted and where everything you need for your work can be placed near you.
Me, for example, I work in a corner of my room that the sunlight can't reach. This is to avoid sunstreak on my monitor during the morning, and to not panic with deadlines once the sun starts settling down.
Everything I need - phone, charger, cables, alcohol, etc - is within arm's reach. Sure I need to go out of my room from time to time, but there's not much temptation to stay.
3. Maintain Your Body Clock
With commuting now out of the equation, the first instinct of employees that are new to the WFH setup is they can sleep more. Well, you can, to an extent.
Th advantage of working from home is you don't have to wake up before sunrise, but it's also not recommended to set your alarm one hour before you start your work. You should have enough time to prepare yourself for the day and not start your work still with crust on your eyes.
Doing so will also give you more free time at night. Whereas before you still have to spend 2 hours or more in your commute, now you can just close your work tabs and open Netflix.
4. Maintain Your Work Routine
You should maintain the work routine you've established when you were in an office setting. It's part of disciplining yourself so that again, you'll know it's not a weekend.
Start your work the same time as before, eat your lunch at the same time and only for an hour maximum, get those smoking breaks at the usual time, and finish your work on time so you can rant on Facebook on time.
Maintaining your routine will keep you away from cramming stuff late at night. We're not college kids anymore, do what you need to do and finish it asap.
5. Get those minute breaks
Despite all the disciplinary measures I suggested, an advantage that you can utilize in the WFH setup is getting a break whenever you can.
Sure, I said maintain your work routine, but there are times where you just need that one minute to lie on your bed to stretch, or take an extra meal in between just because, or even get another bath because it became too hot.
At the end of the day, you'll be the one to reap the consequences of your actions. Take too much break and you will be overwhelmed with backlogs, while if you discipline yourself, you can binge watch every night.
As much as possible, you should be as efficient, if not more, during your WFH setup. Its our chance to tell our employers that this is a viable solution, that we don't always have to go to the office, that we can all have a better work-life balance because this works.