Coronavirus: 7 easy ways to make work from home more productive
So you’ve been given the opportunity to work remotely due to the Hong Kong government’s implementation of a work from home scheme. But with this timely opportunity comes a tiny problem. How do you work productively at home when you can easily sink back into your bed for a relaxing all-day nap?
Working from home has yet to be widely implemented in Hong Kong, so the chances are that you’ve got little to no experience working remotely before. If you’re not sure how to keep up your productivity while at home, you’re not alone.
That’s why our experts at Pacific Prime Hong Kong are here to take you through 7 super easy hacks that will allow you to work from home productively in no time. With that said, let’s get started.
1. Compartmentalize your space
First, you must compartmentalize different areas in your home. Here’s what we mean.
You’re off to a strong start on your first day working from home. You’ve put in a good one hour of productive work time, but you’ve been working next to your living room sofa. Suddenly, you’ve got this irresistible urge to take a short break and before you know it, two hours of useless TV browsing pass by.
To stop problems like this from happening, you need to organize your room so that the working place is physically far from all your distractions. Here’s a list of how you can neatly compartmentalize your home:
- Dedicate a space in your home just for work
- Your workspace should be relatively far from key distraction areas like your bedroom or your living room sofa
- Your workspace should be comfortable so that you can remain seated there for a long period of time without feeling tired or agitated
- Sit facing a neutral view and avoid facing other spaces in your home that could distract you
2. Set up a daily work schedule
Much like sleep, your brain approaches work in a habitual way. Hence, you can work at home much more productively by implementing a daily work schedule.
The great thing about working from home is that the nature of your work schedule is entirely up to you. You can choose to work from dawn to lunch if you’re an early bird, or work from dusk into the night if you’re a night owl.
Here are 7 actionable steps to help you create a productive work schedule:
- List your work deliverables for each day
- Allow for enough hours during the day to achieve your deliverables
- Choose a strict time during the day to start working
- Choose a general time during the day where you’ll be finished with your work
- Include short breaks in between to prevent burn out
- Allow extra time each day for emergency tasks or unexpected delays
- Stick to your created schedule and keep planning ahead
3. Establish a consistent process
We all have a work process that allows us to execute our job functions effectively. However, when at home, your way of working can quickly go off track if you’re not careful.
This is why implementing a fully systematized work process that can be rinsed and repeated is key to staying productive while working from home.
Once you’ve nailed down your work process to the tiny details, you can simply follow the process every day to prove to your company that letting you work from home was a great decision!
Here are 4 simple steps to figuring out your personal work process at home:
- List your work deliverables for each day
- Put your deliverables in order of priority
- Create a brief start-to-finish process for each task you’ve been assigned
- Use your work from home schedule to create a brief timeline of how long each step of each assignment should take
Once you’ve sorted out these 4 steps, start implementing your process in real day-to-day work and keep perfecting it until you’ve got a flawless working system that allows you to work productively at home.
4. Hunt down ‘workable’ cafes
Here’s an unspoken truth – some cafes will boost your productivity, but others will suck away your productivity in seconds.
Working in a cafe can be a great idea. They offer a dynamic environment that can keep you refreshed at work, especially if you’re getting bored with working at home all the time. This is because ambient noise, such as those from the coffee machine or the dish sink can improve your creativity and help you stay concentrated.
However, you’ll need to choose the right cafe that’s appropriate for work. Choosing a lousy cafe with poor air-conditioning, pungent food, or overly loud crowds can hamper your remote working productivity and ruin your day.
Here are a few things to consider doing when scouting for a workable cafe:
- Ask acquaintances about whether a cafe is good for working
- Look for cafes where other people are also setting up their laptops for work
- Check if there are electrical outlets near seats
- See if the bathrooms are clean
- Check if the wifi is stable and fast
Finally, keep testing out different cafes each day until you find one that makes you most productive.
5. Stay connected with your team
For a work from home rookie, feeling lonely and disconnected from your colleagues can be detrimental. A recent survey found that 50% of gig workers experience feelings of loneliness and helplessness. For remote workers who barely ever have direct contact with colleagues, this feeling can be all too familiar.
This is why it’s extremely important to stay connected to colleagues during your work from home period in Hong Kong. Using work-based channels like Skype, Slack, or Discord, as well as social media channels, can help you stay centered and connected with the rest of your team.
These channels can be used to communicate productively, such as reporting the progress of your tasks, asking others for suggestions or advice on any hiccups, and chatting with co-workers during short breaks.
6. Take short but powerful breaks
The great thing about working at home is that you can take breaks whenever you want. This means that you can have plenty of mini-breaks to keep you energized throughout the day.
Taking short breaks throughout the day can boost your productivity in these following ways:
- It keeps you physically healthy from the symptoms of office syndrome.
- It prevents the feeling of fatigue from working long hours.
- It restores your motivation to achieve your daily and long-term goals.
- It boosts creativity at home.
Some productive breaks include walking, exercising, having a healthy snack, taking a power nap, and meditating.
7. Embrace the ‘minimal is optimal’ workspace mindset
Finally, keeping your workspace tidy and minimal can go a long way to make your work from home experience more productive. This ‘minimal is optimal’ mindset can help you get rid of the clutter that’s distracting you at home.
Workspace clutter can negatively affect your ability to process information, leading you to finish tasks at a slower pace than usual, according to researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute.
To tidy up your workspace, you can follow these easy tips:
- Sort all your items into categories and label them accordingly
- Throw all useless documents away
- Keep a list of your most important items and store them nearby
- File all your documents and store them in a dedicated compartment
Depending on the state of your desk, you can easily clean them and start working more productively within just a few minutes to an hour.
Staying safe during the coronavirus outbreak
Although working from home can go a long way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there’s still a risk of the disease spreading in residential areas. This means that you’re never entirely safe from being infected by this deadly disease.
There is currently no cure for the novel virus, so treatment can take weeks or even months. This makes getting proper expat individual insurance in Hong Kong crucial if you want to avoid expensive medical bills.
In his free time, Phuwit enjoys reading and playing badminton. He also loves a good cup of coffee.
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