Useful Tips for Working & Stay at Home during COVID-19 & MCONick Lo
The whole nation is entering the second stage of MCO due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many companies and public institutions have no choice but to ask their employees to work remotely from home. This may sound like a brilliant idea at first, but most people are just not used to the idea of working away from their offices. There are lots of distractions at home and it might not be easy to switch into work mode when there are no management and co-workers around. Here are some of the tips we gathered that might help you to stay productive and organise a comfortable home office.
First things first, are you surrounded by all kinds of distractions, for instance, your family is around watching TV while you’re working, or your gaming PC or console is waiting to be switched on? If that’s the case, how do you fight against all these distractions and stay productive?
Organise your Space
Tempting as it may sound to work on a couch or from the bed but, in fact, it certainly won’t be productive as if you may have experienced it. This is because if you work from a place where you typically rest, it will transform into a grey area in your mind and lead to frustration over time. You will neither find rest there nor be able to focus on your work. So get yourself a quiet place rid of distractions, a clean desk and a comfortable chair where you can dedicate yourself to work.
Create a Workflow and a Schedule
An effective schedule helps you to allocate time for work, preparing food, eating and relaxing. Similar to what you have in the office: A distinctive workflow with typical processes, tasks and work hours gets the job done, so you should create one at home too. Also, trying to stick to them is very important to avoid actually working more at later hours and lead to loss of productivity over time. Our team uses Trello and Google Calendar to keep track of tasks.
Stay in touch with your Team
Constant communication is a great way to deal with difficult situations at work. Many issues are solved by a brief discussion with the right person at the right time. If you’re facing any troubles performing any tasks given to you, it is always a good idea to stay connected and transparent with your management. Organising and participating in online conferences would definitely help the team to stay on the right track too. Our team uses Microsoft Teams to stay connected.
Water Cooler Talks are Cool
When you feel stressed in the office, chances are you take a 5-minute break and try to talk and rant some jokes with your colleagues. This is proved useful to staff productivity by experts and we secondly agreed to that. Using the tool we mentioned above, you can create a “water cooler chat” channel or any apps for that matter, to share memes or discuss the latest news with your colleagues. This will help you to switch focus from work and give your mind a rest.
How Not to Get Distracted
Now that you have organised your ideal home office, but you just received a notification from Netflix that the next season of “Peaky Blinders” just came out and you haven’t even finished watching the last season, and now is the time to binge-watching! Yeah!
No, it isn’t. Here are some tips to help you stay focused while you’re working from home.
Create a To-Do List
A to-do list with daily tasks will help you to keep an eye on the tasks that are prioritised or urgent and have not yet finished. Whenever you get distracted, always refer back to your list to keep yourself on the right track. You can also share your work items with your colleagues and management. At Robust, we utilise Microsoft To Do for individuals and Trello for team tasks.
Talk to your Family and Friends
Communicate with your family and friends to let them understand that you are, in fact, working. By asking them not to distract you during working hours, you will be able to create a personal space to keep your focus. However, outside of work, we do recommend that you spend more time with your nearest and dearest during this unprecedented time.
Work Hard, Play Hard
It might sound unreasonable, but hiding the distractions such as your console, novels that you haven’t finished yet or keep your distance away from the living room TV, will be a good practice to help you get focus. This rule applies as well to social network notifications from your Facebook, Instagram or 9GAG. You can easily lose hours of productivity surfing pages and pages of content with you knowing. Turn them off or silent your phone may help.
Music Might Help
A nice bit of ambient music in the background may help you to stay focused on your work. Our team prefers Spotify over YouTube with their vast collection of music.
For companies who hosted database or software licenses on the server inside their office, it is highly impractical to let users download the corporate resources to their respective devices or work from home through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Here are some of the tools we think it’ll be very useful to help overcome challenges from working remotely.
Virtual Private Network
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a quick and easy option to allow external access to the server in a secure way. It establishes a secure connection between your office and the users’ location and allows users to retrieve files as if you’re working in your office. The data requests are all encrypted to ensure that only your VPN users and server can read them. Read here to learn more.
Nothing makes a remote worker shake in fear as much as an internet outage. Since the MCO is restricting outdoor activities, public Wi-Fi hotspots may be out of the equations (plus they’re not secured), it may be time to consider upgrading your current broadband plan or leverage your mobile hotspot device to save you when your internet connection is unreliable. The good news is Telcos in Malaysia are offering free data initiatives for postpaid customers.
What happens if your PC/Server malfunctioned during the period? This may heavily affect your work and your deadline. Afraid not! Our experts at Robust HPC are still restless from assisting our customers in solving day-to-day IT challenges (remotely). Just give us a call or text at +6010-9000 448 or email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Last But Not Least
Days of working from home will most probably be weird that a lot of people are unused to, it is definitely easier to get distracted and the days will feel scrambled. However, if you plan your habits and organise your workflow well, you’ll find that it is not that difficult to retain your productivity nor your sanity. Finally, we wish you and your families the best of health during this unprecedented situation. Let’s be civil and discipline to brace through this and come back stronger.