- working from home can be both efficient and productive; tips are:
- manage your time- schedule your works;
- avoid checking emails too often- people will call you if they really need you;
- enjoy your break the different way- do some household works;
- enjoy your music- turn on your speaker and have fun!
The one new thing that many people have experienced amid the outbreak of COVID-19 is to start working from home. If you haven’t done this before or haven’t done it often in the past, then working from home is actually quite exciting. It is because:
- You save commuting time. You only need to wake up at 8.30 for starting work at 9am! How wonderful! You may be still holding your bowl of cereals and in your PJ when you start working.
- You can concentrate on your work without people knocking on your office door (if you have one) or people coming to your desk and talking to you.
- You can wear your PJ for the whole day, if you don’t need to show up in any online video meeting calls. Isn’t it your dream to don your PJ for the whole day? ^_<
- You have more time to work because you save commuting time. More productive, it should be.
- You eat lunch at home, so saving your lunch $, too.
Given all the good stuff by working from home, it should be easy and straightforward to do so, isn’t it? The answer is NO!
If you have worked from home frequently, then you will notice a few traps that kill your enjoyment and productivity of working from home. They include:
- You spend too much time on emails, because a quick office conversation is now done through emails. Very bad!
- You can’t help checking emails, because you feel ‘socially isolated’. Checking emails, as a task you do, makes your brain ‘happy’ but bad for your productivity.
- You don’t wear office dress to work, so at times you don’t feel like a professional working at home. I know some people, although working from home, still insist wearing a shirt (and a tie!). Hmmm…. PJ is not as good as you thought.
- You end up with lower productivity, because your work routine is broken. You no longer have office kitchenette quick chat and this makes many people uneasy when working from home.
On average, I work from home for two days each week (if possible), and this has been my working routine for the past 10 years. I have also gone through the above and have found some tips to share with you, so you could enjoy your time working from home. These tips are:
1. Manage your time- schedule your works. It’s easy to get lost or procrastinated when working from home. Schedule your work and use a to-do list or calendar reminders to make sure you finish your work. I have a strict routine to do my paper writing or difficult math models in the morning when working from home. I then lunch around 1.30 or 2pm, and it is followed by checking emails and other admin works. By concentrating major works in the morning when my brain is still fresh, I am productive and can use my time effectively.
2. Avoid checking emails too often- people will call you if they really need you. Psychologically, people may feel socially isolated when working from home and home alone. To balance the desire to socialise, people tend to check email more often so to establish a sense of belonging. Office quick chats are now turned into emails or instant messages (via some software like MS Teams or Skype). These tools including emails are good for communication, but if you don’t manage the usage well, then they will kill your productivity and time! Try only check your email every two hours or less frequent, so you could concentrate on your work. Trust me: when people really need you, then will call you and try to find you. They won’t try to find you via emails when it’s urgent.
3. Enjoy your break the different way- do some household works. To refresh your brain during break times, it’s a good idea to do something. In fact, you’d better do nothing! I had a client switching from the big screen to his mobile when he works from home and has a break. This causes a lot of problems because you literally don’t give your brain a break, although it seems like you have a ‘break’ from work. Since you are working from home, the best break to do is actually some household works such as drying clothes on the cloth line, turn on the cleaning robot to vacuum the house, or hope outside and enjoy your cup of tea in the balcony or garden. A quick pruning of your plants is a good thing to do in 10 mins (and I always enjoy this). These works don’t burn your brain energy, so you will be back to work fresh after a 10-min break.
4. Enjoy your music- tune to the music you like and start from there. In an office environment, you can’t listen to your favourite music without a headphone. At home, you can! So, turn on your speaker and listen to your favourite music or radio station. If you are happy, then your productivity will be high; no rocket science about it.
Enjoy working from home and be safe during the virus outbreak period. After some time, you will start hating going to office every day and start missing working from home. ^_^
Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com
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