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.
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.
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