Working Remotely During COVID-19: Tips On How To Work Productively

Working remotely is not a new concept. In fact, it has taken center stage for the last couple of weeks across many countries since the COVID-19 outbreak officially reached the pandemic status. Many companies, organizations and non-essential businesses have made working from home mandatory, even here at Bongo Live, the entire team has been working from home for the last couple of weeks now. This will continue until we deem it safe to return working at the offices.

For the many who have never worked remotely before, it’s certainly a very huge adjustment. So If you’re one of those people who are doing this for the first time, we would like to share a few tips on how to adjust to this new working environment which is your home.

We hope these tips will be helpful to you as you take them into consideration during this pandemic period.

Establish & Maintain A Routine

  • Get Started Early And Get Into The Right Mindset

Do not let your transition time from your bed to your laptop fool you into thinking you still got time to snooze up your alarm and sleep more. Just because you’re skipping the morning commute from home to work does not mean you give yourself more time to sleep. Instead, wake up at your usual time, exercise for a few minutes, take a shower, have breakfast, dress up(do not work in your PJs) and hop onto your to do list for the day.

Don’t just pretend like you’re going to the office, act like it throughout the day. This mentality association you make, will make you more productive. 

  • Structure And Maintain A Consistent Schedule

When working from home, you’re your own personal manager. Yes it can be hard to stay focused and productive due to certain circumstances that may happen e.g. a family member wanting your help or looking after the kids e.t.c.

It is also important to note that secluding and burying yourself in your work can also lead to losing focus and burn out. Having a schedule can help to break up your tasks, stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day.

  • Choose A Dedicated Work Area

Avoid working in a certain space within your home that might affect your productivity like the kitchen. Instead, dedicate a specific room or space (that is not associated with leisure time) in your home specifically to work. This space should help you get into the right frame of mind, if not, keep switching places in your home until you find it.

Stay Connected

  • Communication Is Key

Working from home might help you focus on your work in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off the larger operation happening in the office. Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with coworkers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.

Try moving all your conferences, meeting appointments online. Use technology apps, devices, tools and communication channels to communicate and proactively reach out to co-workers and clients updating them on work progress. It is better to over-communicate rather than wait to be asked for updates now and then.

  • Interact With Other Humans.

Planning some social interaction time during the day can be a good idea especially when most of your work day is solitary. You also get to interact and see another face during the day that is not your coworker. Remember: You’re working from home, not the moon. Interacting with other people during the day is allowed

Maintain A Healthy Work/Life Balance

  • Take Regular Breaks

When the line between “work” and “home” starts to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period of time. Don’t let the guilt of working in the building you sleep in prevent you from taking five to relax. Use the brakes to get away from your desk. Go for a walk outside and get some air or spend time with others who might also be in the house.

Schedule stop times in which you clock out and trust that whatever is waiting for you will wait. If possible, don’t check work emails or texts after clocking out. 

  • Pick A Definitive Finishing Time

You might be under the impression that working from home establishes more work-life balance, but be careful with that assumption. Working from home can also feel like being at a casino — you can get so caught up in your activity, in a relaxing environment, that you lose complete track of time.

In lieu of coworkers, whose packing up and leaving the office reminds you to do the same, set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your normal work day is coming to an end. You don’t have to stop at exactly that time, but knowing the

Embrace The Changes And New Work Environment

For the many who have experienced working remotely, this situation can be a walk in the park. They are skilled at the art of working remotely and have mastered what works for them and what doesn’t, how to stay focused, productive, connected and manage to balance both work and social life all while working from home.

As for those who are starting to work remotely for the first time, you are probably discovering that it’s not as easy as you may have thought. You may find it hard to stay productive as most of us have been conditioned to work and focus by outside constraints such as office meetings which force us to adhere to certain schedules, office hours that dictate our start and end time and a manager’s watchful eye which keeps our internet surfing to a minimum, for the most part.

So, instead of trying to immediately mirror your office work practices, simply embrace that things are a bit off kilter and you might as well allow yourself a little indulgence and enjoy being at home vs. in the office. But, and this is critical for remote work success, do it for no longer than a day or two. You don’t want to create new and unproductive patterns. Don’t assume that this remote hiatus will be short-lived. You want your brain being able to separate and focus in a productive way vs. getting sucked into an inertia of all the million of potential distractions available to us at home.