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How to stay productive while working remotely

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By Aliyya Sawadjaan
Features Writer, The Philippine STAR

The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic has changed the lives of millions all over the world, with people now physically distancing themselves and practicing self-quarantine to prevent infection.

Most companies have to stop physical operations and employers have adopted a work-from-home policy to help curb the coronavirus.

Some excel from working remotely, compared to working in the office. But others, not so much, as working from home can mean too many distractions (Netflix, napping, snacking, etc.), or productivity dwindles mid-working.

Here are some tips to keep the momentum going while working from home:

FIND AN OFFICE SPACE

Find a dedicated and comfortable location in the house to work on — that is not the bedroom. This area’s sole purpose should be for working, a place that you can come in for work and leave later when you’re off the clock. If there is a spare room in your home, the better, so that you can close the door and shut out any and all noise and distractions. Create a cozy but productive space that is suited to your individual working style. While you’re at it, add elements that promote either a calming environment or an inspirational one.

DECLUTTER

If you find that you lose concentration because of a cluttered desk or room, declutter. Claim the space as a clutter-free zone. This will help you stay focused on your workload and more aligned with your in-office experience.

GET READY FOR THE DAY AS USUAL

Working from home does not necessarily mean sitting around in your pambahay clothes. Instead, get ready for the day as if you were still going to the office. Practice your morning routine: getting dressed, making your coffee, eating breakfast, etc.

PLAN OUT YOUR DAY

Determine which time of the day do you prefer working: in the morning or in the afternoon? Then keep a structured daily schedule. Determine what time you start and what time you stop or clock out. Some studies recommend that time spent alone is better if it is structured. Include multiple breaks. The schedule also gives a message to your coworkers that these are the hours you are available. Don’t forget to put your highest priority task first.

TAKE BREAKS TO GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER AND/OR DESKS

Spend time with family or pets. Make yourself a fresh cup of coffee or green juice. Have lunch at the kitchen table with family instead of bringing a plate to your desk. Just because you are working from home does not mean you need to work 100% of the time just to be productive. Don’t be afraid to take a nap if it’ll make you more productive and energetic after.

TALK TO SOMEONE

Some people can work through isolation and solitude, but others may need some social interactions to get through the day. Some studies say that it is essential for the mental well-being of a person working remotely. Find or choose a colleague that you can chat with when you feel the need to chat with someone. Alternatively, find a friend who is going through the same experience as you.

WORK ON YOUR WORK COMMUNICATION

Build up camaraderie among your colleagues by using digital communication apps that go beyond texting. Use video conferencing services like Zoom or chat apps like Slack. Better work communication while working remotely can help maintain your relationship with your colleagues and managers.

Managers should also remember that each employee works differently, and that even though they are working from home, these are challenging times and that the COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of stress to themselves and their employees. It is key that they communicate with them and help the employees who are struggling with the quarantine.

FIND INSPIRATION

Play on blast your playlist to get you going, or put on a more soothing soundtrack while working or try listening to an audiobook or podcast. If you prefer looking at nature and listening to the birds, face your desk towards the windows (or doors) towards where there is greenery.

DO MORE TASKS

Commit to doing more tasks as this might make you more productive and burn a fire within you to see those list of tasks filed under “complete.”

TAKE CALLS AND MESSAGES AT A CERTAIN TIME

If you are the type that easily gets distracted from taking calls and answering messages, allot a time slot on your schedule just for this particular purpose. You will save time and energy to focus on other tasks and projects.





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