Let’s Work from Home Better

Let’s Work from Home Better

It has now been almost two weeks since Singapore’s “circuit breaker” measures were officially implemented.

Under the new measures, most of us would have spent the last week working from home. This prolonged period of homestay is probably the longest we have all have stayed at home without stepping out. This situation, as with most guidelines related to COVID-19, is a novel situation for many of us.

Flexible work arrangements have of course been a hot button topic for the last few years. With the advancement of technology and as more digital natives enter the workforce, there is more clamour for work at home arrangements instead of having to report to an office everyday.

Unexpectedly, the circuit breaker have made working from home a necessity rather than an option and have provided an extended period to test out just how feasible it really is

There are definitely many plus points in the “change in scenery”, with many glad that they now have more time with their family and with virtually zero time wasted in transiting from location to location, we suddenly find ourselves with more time on our hands.

Yet, there are also those of us who may be having trouble adjusting to this new reality. Working at home can blur the line between our work and private lives.  With our home being our work environment now, some may not be able to switch off from “work-mode”, thus leading them to feel stressed up all the time. The more insecure amongst us may even turn paranoid, and start to constantly wonder if they are doing enough to be be considered “productive”. Over an extended period of time, the risk of more people burning out can become a very real threat.

As numbers continue to spike, it is likely that the current status quo may remain, with enforcement possibly becoming even stricter. The importance and urgency of being able to adapt and getting comfortable to working from home should therefore not be underestimated!

Here’s looking at a few ways which may be able to help one adapt and make the transition more seamless!

Keep to your morning routine as best as you can

It is not advisable to start work immediately once you wake up.

Maintain basic routines, such as washing up and having your morning coffee, or even change into your work clothes. Basically, do as per what you would do on a work day before the circuit breaker, i.e. get yourself into the right frame of mind first before you begin work!

Maintaining certain activities will help you to mentally draw a distinction between the “home you” and the “work you”. If wearing a shirt and tie at home is too much for you, then do change out of your pyjamas at the very least.

Acknowledge that there will be changes to your daily schedule and change your timetable accordingly

This may sound contradictory to the above point, but the reality is that you are based at home, together with your family and not at office with colleagues. Parents would have HBL obligations with their kids, your parents would be asking you to check on why the WIFI is not working properly again and your sibling will pop in every now and again to borrow some stuff from you- the distractions can be endless, and you would be naive to think otherwise.

You should embrace all of these chaos. Accept that your schedule will have to be fragmented and plan a new timetable that can gel better with your new environment.

For instance, get a head start to the day by starting before the children get up. Then, focus on your kids as they begin their day or their cyber-lessons. Then, resume work when they are on their breaks or having their naps.

If the environment simply becomes too distracting to work, your time may be better served taking a break or better still, slot in pockets of time to enrich yourself through reading a book or listening to podcasts, rather than just feeling frustrated. Own the situation instead of letting the situation own you.

Focus on the most important work

At the same time, the amount or the kind of work which you have to do or are able to do now, may also differ now that you are working from home.  What used to equate to productivity in the office may not necessarily mean the same now that you are working from home.

With resources, such as “distraction-free time” or equipment being more limited, it is important that enough time is spend on giving quality to significant tasks rather than urgent but trivia matters.

Avoid working in your bedroom or demarcate a clear working space

Or even worse, work on your bed!

For most, our bedroom and our bed is our one true sanctuary. If you are constantly working in your bedroom, soon, you will associate the bedroom with work and the stress that comes along with it mentally. That means that you would find it even harder to relax at night, and find yourself constantly coped up by the pressure of work, even after the workday has ended and you are lying on bed resting.

Living in HDB flats plus the fact that everyone is basically under stay home orders means that unfortunately, not everyone will have the luxury of space to not work at their bedrooms.  It is then important to mark out a specific area of the room which will be for work only.

Get out

Well, of course we should not be heading out unnecessarily during this period. However, do not get holed up at your work station for hours/days on end. Get to the balcony for some fresh air, or just go say hi to your neighbour (while maintaining social distancing guidelines).

The COVID-19 is unparalleled in our generation and extreme measures may be needed to be put in place to neuter its threat to us. Along the way, the pandemic has changed our lives irreversibly, including the way we work.

However, unprecedented period can bring along with it unprecedented opportunities. Instead of getting agitated by what we cannot control, it is up to us all individually to take advantage of this unique period during the circuit breaker to reflect and to prepare ourselves personally for what may just be the “new future”.

Written by : Ling Weiming
Edited by : –
Published on : 16/04/2020
Image : Source / Envato  Elements

The “Essential Kit” to going out in Singapore

The “Essential Kit” to going out in Singapore

With the implementation of the Circuit Breaker measures, do remember, only leave your house if it is for “essential” purposes, as you risk exposing yourself to the coronavirus.

If you do need to go out, here’s a list of items which you should have with you at all times:

  1. Mask- either surgical or reusable. Surgical masks are able to filter bacteria more effectively, but the reusable mask given to all households still serves as a form of basic protection. Be sure to wash the reusable mask with warm water and soap after use.
  2. Hand sanitiser. Washing your hands with soap is the best way to protect yourself. Viruses, with the coronavirus being a prime example, may have an outer protective layer. Soap can break down this layer of the virus and to help them get washed away (together with other impurities) more effectively. If there is no available sink nearby, hand sanitisers are your next best option as the alcohol content can help to kill pathogens. So, keep one handy (no pun intended).
  3.  Reusable containers. If you are going out to buy food, you are encouraged to bring along your own containers. Not only does this alleviate the stress on the hawkers’ disposable containers supply, you will be doing your part to save the environment too!
  4. Water. Drinking water will not “flush the virus” out of the body, but it is always a good idea to stay hydrated, especially in times like these! Although we really shouldn’t, but drinking enough water is something that’s easy for many of us to overlook.

Water regulates our body temperature, helps to carry oxygen to body cells and remove toxins, amongst its many benefits. The lack of water weakens our immune system and make us more susceptible to diseases, which can really make you a sitting duck during this period!

While these few tools in this kit may protect you to a certain extent, the best protection  would still be to stay home as much as possible, wash your hands with soap regularly, and always maintain a safe distance from the people around you.

Stay safe!

Written by : Cheong Shu Yin
Edited by :  Ling Wei Ming
Published on : 16/04/2020
Image : Source / Envato Elements

Rockabye Baby

Rockabye Baby

The announcement that iconic guitar-maker, Gibson was bankrupt shocked many guitarists, both professionals and amateurs alike, most of whom were adult musicians who had grew up watching their rock heroes such as Elvis, Jimmy Page, Edge and Slash amongst others, rocking out in one.

Therein, it was initially speculated, lies the problem. Guitar-based music has simply failed to reach out to the millennials, thus resulting in lacklustre sales.  While more official and detailed reports later released proved this speculation to be untrue, and that it was failed business and investment decisions that had left the company, which is more than a 100 years old, in tatters.

The disturbing truth however, remains. Kids of today are just not into jamming in bands anymore. It is, of course,  not to say that people are not listening to or interested in music anymore. In fact, children are getting exposed to music at an increasingly younger age as parents rush to sign their children up for piano or violin lessons.

It instead reflects the changing preference in music. It could also be that with so many options nowadays from social media to video games (ahem, GuitarHero- So maybe people are still rocking it out, just in a totally different manner),  there are so many other hobbies one can indulge in other than one that takes up as much commitment.

Alas, playing in a band may indeed become a thing of the past. And that’s a crying shame.

Much like picking up a team-sports, playing in bands go beyond just the music and can teach youngsters skills and values which will prove to be invaluable later in life.

Being in a band is more than just looking the part, you learn to be responsible for yourself. A soccer team may be able to win matches with just one or two star players. Even in the simplest song however, every single member in a band needs to know his or her part well and be competent in their individual role so that collectively, the song that they are playing at least sounds coherent. If you are not putting in your weight, it would not be long until you are found out.

The band life is indeed all for one and one for all. It is not uncommon to see a band rehearse for hours or even days just to perfect a segment which probably lasts just a few seconds. Dedication, perseverance, attention to details and patience are all necessary traits to perfect your craft and make your band better.

The most obvious lesson one learns when playing in a band though, are the dynamics of teamwork. Any band, no matter how good or talented any individual member may be, is only as good as its weakest link. It does not matter how fast or fanciful one player can play- everyone still has to play at the same tempo. For the band to be able to play together, the most talented musician must learn how to cope and work in tandem with the member who is the least inclined. Working in close proximity with one another in a creative environment, conflicts or differences in ideas are also inevitable. One learns how to work past each other differences and to assess other people’s inputs to achieve the collective good.

It might sound like a whole lot of work and maybe even painful then to play in a band, especially if one is only looking for a leisurely hobby.  No matter what, music remains an ever-present in life. As with everything else however, it too is ever-changing and the advancement of digital equipment means that aspiring musicians, unlike their predecessors, need not form bands to pursue their passion.

Yet, there is no denying the charm of live music, as anyone who has played in a band or watched a performance from a live band would attest to.

From that sense of accomplishment when everything finally clicks together after all the hard work rehearsing to the exhilaration of being able to express oneself through music, no matter what genre, it  is a magical reward one can only get from playing music together in a group but ultimately one that has to be personally experienced and not read about…or played on a gaming console!