I don’t know about you, but I feel like I'm suffering from a bit of cabin fever right now. This Coronavirus has got me cooped up in a 300 odd square foot apartment for weeks with no end in sight. The silver lining is that I’ve converted part of my home into a snug, organised home office which is my little haven for the time being.
We can all agree that the beginning of 2020 has been a tough one. The latest statistics at the time of writing this declare that there are 134,922 cases globally with 4990 deaths spanning across 115 countries. Needless to say, those who are able to work from home are doing so to stop the spread of the virus. In fact, major companies such as Facebook and Microsoft in China have set the precedent through the closure of their work sites and insisting on remote work for all employees. Whilst Twitter, Apple, Google and Amazon are following suit globally, remote work is becoming the norm as we await for containment of the virus.
Let’s start by creating a home office environment...
Adapting your home environment as judiciously as possible for maximum productivity doesn’t need to be stressful. To begin give yourself the following checklist:
Start by choosing a dedicated area that is specifically for work and laying some ground rules. Privacy is also important if you are not living alone. Screaming children, or chatty flatmates for that matter, are not conducive to productivity.
Organise your desk efficiently. Have a place for gadgets and materials that is easily accessible and have ‘everything in its place’. Also make sure you have all the necessities you need, like a multipurpose printer etc. at your fingertips.
Try to work in a space with plenty of natural light, and even better, access to fresh air from windows or doors. If that isn’t an option, invest in a decent table lamp to keep you focused.
Consider ergonomics as an important aspect. A decent chair, foot-rest and table can play a big part in our efficiency and comfort. Nobody wants aches and pains to dictate their productivity. Also consider investing in soft keyboard pads, lumbar supports and instruments to protect your wrists.
If space is limited as it is for most of us in Hong Kong, consider investing in floating shelves and wall organisers.
Finally, make sure you have access to high speed, reliable internet. This will be your key to effective communication. A dodgy wifi connection will only impede your progress and extend your working day.
Now, what strategies should you employ for remote work?
It is important to set yourself up in every respect before commencing remote work. You don’t want to be facing deadlines without the resources you need to achieve them. I recommend:
Setting a clear work schedule and routine just as if you were in the office. Decide on your hours and breaks in advance.
Block websites that you normally read for pleasure or may find distracting during working hours.
Self-monitor with time tracking to get the most out of your day and keep on task.
Consider video calls your key to the outside world and make the most out of every call. Enable screen sharing with other team members and utilise document sharing apps.
Explore the many apps at your disposal for communication, organisation and collaboration such as Asana, Slack, Zoom Video, Dropbox, Google docs/sheets/drive, Trello and Ulysses to name a few. These will make your life so much easier working from home.
Take breaks and give yourself time out. Whether it’s walking the dog or going out for lunch, you want to make sure you don’t feel burnt out and can maintain your motivation.
Don’t forget to implement cyber security measures! Make sure you have secure wifi, passwords and a reliable antivirus installed.
Make sure to leave the house at some stage every day. You can still go to open spaces like parks, hiking, beaches etc whilst avoiding crowds and potential viruses.
Ultimately, your success at working remotely comes down to your own unique circumstances like your type of work, lifestyle, personal life and so on….
However, we can all up our game by adapting our home spaces into an effective working environment and applying practical strategies to our routines. So, whilst we are at the mercy of this virus, enjoy the extra sleep, flexibility and home cooked meals and why not check out Happyer’s latest job postings to find your dream career today!.