With the recent push for “social distancing” and a concerted effort to keep the Corona virus (a.k.a. COVID-19 or nCoV) contained, many companies have implemented a work-from-home (WFH) policy. This means that: a) you don’t have to wake up before the sun rises to avoid rush-hour traffic, b) you don’t have to spend hours on the road after you clock out, and c) you can save a bit of money while you’re holed up at home. This doesn’t mean that you’re getting a paid vacation.
While working from home saves you a lot of commute time and keeps you away from your boss’s watchful eyes, it doesn’t mean you get to slack off. But if you’ve been working an 8-to-5 office job, the distractions of home (e.g., your pets, your Netflix, your bed) can keep you from turning in your best work. Here’s how to handle this gift of seemingly unbridled freedom:
1. Stick to a schedule.
WFH requires you to be highly self-motivated. Because you don’t have a boss keeping tabs on you or co-workers constantly looking over your shoulder, you may not feel the push to get things done. But get things done you must.
Follow your office schedule—including lunch and coffee breaks—cross those tasks off your to-do list, and save your Netflix-ing for after-office hours. Hyun Bin can wait.
2. Get out of your PJs.
Pajamas may be having a moment but don’t use that as an excuse to stay in your sleepwear all day. Get up, shower, get dressed, and put on some makeup to help get you into work mode. You don’t need to put on your office attire but at least get out of last night’s clothes. Think it’s a waste of effort? Start a WFH OOTD series on your Insta to keep you motivated.
3. Have a dedicated space for work.
Not everyone has space for a home office but it’s important to have a spot where you can consistently hunker down and work. It can be a seat at your dining table or a corner of your living room—any place that can signal your brain that it’s time to get stuff done. P.S. Avoid your bed. It doesn’t encourage productivity, plus you’ll have a harder time falling asleep at night if you associate your sleep spot with work.
4. Be productive.
A Stanford study shows an astonishing jump in productivity for telecommuters, but if your boss isn’t entirely convinced, then now is your time to shine. If you’ve long been pushing for a remote working option, then use this opportunity to show your boss that it’s viable.
5. Really work from home.
The WFH policy is meant to contain the virus. It is not an excuse to go to the mall on a Thursday afternoon. If you’re tempted to gather a bunch of co-workers at a cute café so you can work together, don’t. The whole point of this exercise is to stay isolated. Feeling lonely? Stay in touch with fellow WFH-ers online. If you do this right, you’ll help keep the virus from spreading and make a case for remote working in the future.
So, get out of bed, get out of your PJs, and get to work.
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