Working From Home – AGAIN!

Zoom calls again, cat on the keyboard once more… but here’s how to make WFH2.0 a better experience.

Here we go again… it’s WFH once more with COVID-19 cases on the rise (and it’s still going up so who knows, total lockdown next?). Just when we were all getting used to working with colleagues physically beside us (even if we were going to office every other day), it had at least a semblance of a normal working life.

But now we are back at home, some of us working on the kitchen table, some back into the corner of the room. Not that we mind it a lot – after all, it’s less time on the road which means less traffic, more lunch options with delivery, not having to iron our work clothes, and home on time for dinner every day.

Plus, it means a second chance for us to do WFH better with more productivity and results. If WFH1.0 was tough with you trying to figure out your schedule and not wanting to spend all day in front of the couch surfing Netflix, this is your opportunity to rock WFH2.0 where you can get more done and still have time for Netflix.

Ready? Here’s how:

#1 Get that workspace sorted out already!
We don’t have to tell you how important it is to have a dedicated working place for WFH2.0. You need to keep your work and home lives separate. Working at the kitchen table can cause you to slack, especially if people are walking in and out every other minute (and they definitely will – it is where the food is!). If space permits, have a separate room for your home office. That way, it will feel like you are really stepping into a proper working zone. No space? Create a corner in your room that is brightly lit and more importantly, far, far, far away from the bed so you don’t feel tempted to have “five minutes to close my eyes”.

#2 Repeat after us: You need a proper chair
Look, a stool isn’t going to cut it if you are going to sit for eight hours a day. Neither is a wooden chair with some pillows prop up on it. Your comfort is important for your productivity so invest in a proper office chair – who knows how long you might be working from home so better get that chair now.

#3 Always be in touch with your colleagues
Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s easy to forget that there are other people on the other side of the Zoom call and that you need to constantly be in touch with your team members and boss. If anything, working from home means you need to double up on the communication to ensure work continues on smoothly. You no longer have to luxury to just walk up to your boss and ask if she has a minute. If you felt like WFH1.0 was lacking in communication and that caused some hiccups, make it a point to constantly reach out to your colleagues to make sure everyone is on the right page. And you don’t have to stick to just Zoom calls or instant messaging. Pick up the phone and dial in – you’re less likely to have miscommunication and it feels good to hear a familiar voice on the other side.

#4 Make a schedule. Keep to it
Still recovering from WFH1.0 burnout? The problem with working from home is that it is too convenient to keep on working – and many of us did during WFH1.0 where there was no distinction between work time or down time. Some of us worked till late after dinner because we were worried about our productivity! And when you are at home working, chances are you’re constantly thinking of work and all the tools are just there (your laptop) for you to continue working.

To prevent WFH2.0 burnout, do this: Maintain regular hours. Set a schedule and stick to it… most of the time. Having a clear schedule for when work starts and when to call it day will help you maintain work-life balance, which is super important especially now during a pandemic! Try a time-tracking app like RescueTime that lets you check in and check out, and also figure out when you are most productive so you can plan a schedule that is most productive.

#5 Get headphones
Background noise can be really distracting, especially at home. You won’t be hearing the whir of a printer but instead TV noises, mum making lunch, the dog barking at everything that moves… and that can be really annoying when you are trying to get some work done or listening in on a call. So use noise-eliminating headphones to drown out all these noises. Plus, they work as a Do Not Disturb sign so others will respect that you’re working (expect for the dog).

#6 Stay positive!
The idea of WFH2.0 getting you down, especially when WFH1.0 was super duper hard? Say this to yourself every morning: This too shall pass. With vaccination in progress soon, hopefully the pandemic will eventually come to an end and life will resume (with a bit of changes still, for sure). So hang in there and do your best. We are all in this together!

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