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Stay at home, be productive: Work from home tips in the time of COVID-19

NoInk   |   16 March 2020

Here are some tips on how to stay productive while working at home.

To observe preventive measures and to keep more people safe from the widespread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Philippine government has placed the country’s capital region, National Capital Region or more popularly known as Metro Manila, under the “community quarantine” status. This means people are highly encouraged to stay at home during this period, but how does the workforce of many cope up?

Most companies have opted to mandate the work from home setup for their employees as much as possible, if their jobs can do it. We admit it or not, we all once dreamed of working in the comforts of our home. Who wouldn’t like that, right?

Yet, working from home is harder to achieve in reality. At home, we can face a lot of distractions – may these be the pile of laundry calling us to finish, a TV series you’ve been dying to binge watch, and yes, even your own children / family members and your beloved bed can hinder you from working productively. Worry not, though! In this article, we will help you become more productive at work even if it means staying at home.

  • Set a schedule for yourself.

Do you have a fixed schedule or are your working hours flexible? This is important to determine first. From this step, you can create a regular working pattern for your work from home shift. If you have a fixed schedule, let’s say, from 9AM to 6PM, then make sure you’ll log in at 9AM. Also, STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE as much as possible. This gives you the liberty to practice the work-life balance achievable.

  • Develop a morning routine

Depending on the schedule you will be having for your work from home, it is advisable for you to develop a morning routine in order to prepare for your shift everyday. TIP: Set an alarm an hour or two earlier than your work shift schedule to give you time to prepare and do the stuff you like to do every morning – drinking coffee, jogging, walking the dog, having breakfast with your kids, watering the plants, taking a batch, reading a book chapter, writing a journal entry, and more. By doing so also, you will become more energized and have a focused mindset to finish your corporate deadlines within the day.

  • Dedicate an office space as much as possible

Having your own office space – even if it is just a separate desk – is very important in setting up the mood for working. Avoid working on your bed (even if you feel like it is calling you!!) or even your living room where the TV is. Have a dedicated work area that is strictly for work alone so your mind will also know the difference. Additionally, make sure that your needed equipment, office tools, and other stuff dedicated for work are within your office space at home.

  • Participate in online meetings

Summarized in one yet important word, the pressing need to COMMUNICATE to your work circle, especially with your boss/es and colleagues you closely work with should always be remembered. You need to be updated and at the same time, they need your work updates as well.

  • Set limits to people in coming to your work space

This is to give you privacy and to maintain your focus with what you’re working on with your deadlines. If you are, for example, a parent, you should instruct limits to your children and other family members regarding your office space, but sometimes, there are uncontrollable circumstances which you can’t control. This is fine, but should not be repeated at times.

  • Take a break

Taking breaks is an essential part of the working cycle to keep the productivity flowing. Just like the usual office setup, don’t forget to take your one hour lunch break and eat. You can also use this one hour to energize, stand up and stretch, and to do something for yourself, even for just a few minutes.

  • Observe social distancing but do not isolate yourself

Working from home does not mean you have to isolate yourself from other people. You can still leave little notes and messages to your friends and reply to theirs as well. We just need to physically distance ourselves from one another but thankfully, there is the internet to help us stay connected with the important people in our lives.

Of course, we understand that not all jobs in the country can do the work from home arrangement. This is the time for us to become more considerate for the people around us and to also be appreciative for the efforts of those workers who do not have the chance to stay at home while doing their jobs. We salute you all and we pray for your safety!