Don't neglect your usual morning routine, and do remember to reward yourself after working effectively from home, share experts from the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).
Working from home will likely be the new norm for most Singaporeans even after the circuit breaker period ends on 1 June. While a handful of us have already become accustomed to using online platforms for work discussions and working independently, some may still face distractions and interruptions which can potentially impact our productiveness.
As we work towards this new norm, consider these tips to help you work from home effectively.
Tip #1: Set expectations
Do not start telecommuting with confusion. Speak to your supervisor beforehand, and agree on what you need to deliver while you work from home. This will prevent misaligned expectations and disputes.
Tip #2: Get 'ready' for work
Always appear professional if your job entails many video calls. Don’t neglect your morning routine and dress in something comfortable or professional (e.g. when video calling a client).
Tip #3: Identify a suitable space
Find a space in your home where you will be least distracted, ideally a room for greater privacy where you can work comfortably on confidential matters. Do keep in mind that any noise would be amplified in a teleconference call and be distracting for your fellow colleagues or customers, so when taking calls, make sure that you observe a professional ambience.
Tip #4: Be prepared
Bring in your flask of water to stay hydrated and one or two healthy snacks to munch on to keep your momentum going. Ensure that your laptop is plugged in and charging so that it will not shut down halfway while working. Play some music if that helps you concentrate better.
Tip #5: Pick Up a New Skill
If you are new to working from home using virtual platforms, take this opportunity to pick up new skills in leveraging technology for virtual conferencing. It is not that hard – get a colleague to teach you or refer to an online guide for help.
How to stay focused and engaged
Tip #6: Set boundaries so you don't get distracted
Establish guidelines such as work hours and break times as you would work in the office. You should not be running errands or squeezing in household chores in between your work. Make childcare arrangements, if required, or work out a schedule for your children to keep them occupied so that you can focus. Remember to go for lunch!
Tip #7: Safety and comfort first
Make sure you have a proper table and chair so that you will not suffer a backache at the end of the day. Keep liquids at a safe distance so that you won’t accidentally spill them onto your laptop and work documents
Tip #8: Stay connected
Remain contactable through mobile or other audio and video conferencing platforms such as Skype or Microsoft Teams. When you are required to attend virtual meetings, discussions, workshops etc., do remember to ‘turn up’.
Tip #9: Stay engaged
You can still maintain social connections through audio and video conferencing platforms, so that you won’t miss important conversations with your co-workers. You can also lend support virtually when someone needs it. Supervisors should continue to guide and communicate with staff virtually even when working remotely. Conduct daily structured check-ins either as a team or on a one-to-one basis to find out how they are coping and offer the necessary support.
Tip #10 Reward yourself
Don’t forget to affirm and reward yourself for working effectively from home. Treat yourself to a gourmet coffee, ice-cream or something else that makes you happy at the end of the day.
Working from home is a learning journey for many of us, and there would be challenges along the way as we figure out how to work from home effectively. So the next time you find yourself getting distracted while working from home, consider the above tips to help you stay focused and productive.
This article was adapted from “10 tips to working from home effectively” by the Ministry of Manpower.
For more resources on work-life implementation, visit tafep.sg.
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