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“Wash your hands.”

“Maintain social distancing!”

“Stay home and stay safe!”

“Self-Quarantine!”

And now, and I’m guessing your favorite one, “Work from Home.” Maybe, maybe not?

If you haven’t come across any of these messages, either from the people around you or through swarms of posts saturating your social media platforms, then you’re most likely a total recluse or a holy ascetic, which means you are not reading this. But you are reading this…so I’m guessing you are a smart and well-informed individual who is aware of the chaos unfolding before us.

This is one of the most detrimental crises we have faced in a while. I say detrimental because there are many essential areas of our livelihood being impacted drastically: human lives, animal lives, the job market, the economy, and even the simple freedom of being able to leave one’s house at their leisure.

We are seeing the very beginnings of a societal restructuring. Case in point, a necessity for professionals in the current corporate world: remote working. Even though many of you are aware of this concept, I’d like to elucidate a little as to what it is. Remote working is the concept of professional employees working outside of traditional office settings based on the principle that executing high-quality results in one’s work is not contingent on their specific workplace.

Remote working is not a new or alien concept. Most people are already familiar with working from home. With tools like Time Doctor, it is easy to track employee time and progress. Some people even prefer working from home because it has several benefits like:

  • No commuting
  • Productivity is likely to go up
  • More employee autonomy
  • Company saves costs

So, why are you so gloomy?

Oh, right…the virus.

Yes, that complicates a few things. You have to work from home, and you’re stuck there indefinitely.

Here are eight suggestions that can help you with remote working in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Set up YOUR BOUNDARIES

At the office, you are assigned a workspace, which is just yours. The space is used by you alone, and no one is allowed to interfere for the most part. At home, the story might be slightly different. To all the parents, your kids are running around and constantly want your attention. To all the young folks living with their parents, mom might walk in with sliced fruits or some news you’re going to pretend to be interested in. To those with roommates, the annoying wants to make small talk, again.

What do you do?!

Set up your boundaries. Communicate to your beloved family and friends that your workspace is yours and needs to be yours for some time. Is it because you are selfish? No, you’re a good and faithful employee who wants to get their work done during this crunch-time.

Parents, you will need to lovingly tell your children that they should not enter your workspace unless there’s an emergency. Young folks communicate with your parents in whatever manner works best. The same goes for all you with roommates.

The key is to be firm but charitable in your approach.

With your workspace undisturbed, you can now plan out your schedule.

Create a WORK SCHEDULE

Remember, outside your walls, there is chaos. But that doesn’t mean it should affect your work—fight chaos with order.

List out all your tasks one by one, order them by importance, and get them done within the appropriate time (all things being equal). You are at home, and therefore have a little more liberty to customize your schedule as per your mundane tasks and the people who surround you.

With your work checklist drawn out and well prepared, you are set to carry out your tasks in a well-organized and systematic manner.

But wait a minute. What’s that? Don’t you have the motivation to get going?

Mimic your WORK ENVIRONMENT

Some of you might be missing your office. The sight of your office, the sounds and smells therein, and the feel of your office clothes. The senses play a critical role here.

So let’s say you work better in the office. Time to bring the office home. Mimic your workplace. Here are some suggestions:

  • Wear the same clothes that you would wear to work
  • Start your day as you would on a regular workday
  • Wear the same cologne/perfume that you wear to work
  • Arrange your desk to mirror, as much as possible, your office desk
  • Play a sitcom or podcast in the background if your office has a few chatty folks

When you create this environment that mimics your office, you should feel a little more motivated to start your work. This is provided you are someone who loves working at the office.

Get a WORK BUDDY

Now, let’s say it’s not the workplace place affecting your output, but rather the people who surround you. Unfortunately, you cannot have your coworker over or go to their place due to the currently placed sanctions.

There’s still your phone and social media. Communicate with your coworker and create time-blocks during the day where you both can check on each other and keep energy levels high to ensure the highest productivity.

Don’t just sit there, MOVE AROUND

Things that stay at rest tend to remain in the state of rest… unless acted upon by an outside force. Set a blaring alarm for breaks where you can walk around and stretch.

The comfort of home, for some of you, might lead to the tendency of staying in the same spot: perhaps your bed, the dining table, or that favorite couch of yours. Additionally, your coworkers are not there to call you out for lunch, tea, or a cigarette break.

It is up to you to maintain a healthy balance between sitting down in one place and moving around and letting your muscles breathe a little bit.

Create time for LEISURE

Of course, you cannot be working the entire day (unless you’re really into that). Your brain is inside your head. You are inside your house. That’s it. The mind needs to be distracted from the fact that you are being quarantined, at least for a little while.

Pick up a hobby to burn some time. Try something new:

  • Learn a new language
  • Cook something new
  • Journal
  • Meditate
  • Workout
  • Board games

The list can go on.

My point is that you cannot afford to put all your mental energy into work while stuck inside the house and expect to be mentally stable after a week. Set aside time for leisure activities.

Your best friend and worst enemy: SOCIAL MEDIA

Let’s face it: most of us are pretty much glued to our phones. There is the sweet sound of a notification bell and the slight dopamine rush from picking up your phone to check your social media, only for you to read more disconcerting news on the epidemic. Even worse, it could be false news from some chain messages a person started because they had nothing better to do apart from picking their nose.

That’s not to say that you don’t disbelieve everything. I am merely suggesting that you double-check any news you receive via social media. I could also suggest that you keep away from it, but it is one of your major sources of news and updates.

Now you see why it’s your best friend and worst enemy? So, keep a positive mindset, no matter what you read.

Prepare for CHANGE

We don’t know how the world will shape up after the pandemic is cleared. So, use this time to study market trends and focus on developing valuable skillsets that will make you an asset in the workforce.

Not everything here will apply to everyone, and there’s more to add along the way.

Who knows what awaits us in a few weeks, months, or a year?

What we know is that we can take charge and use what we have to make the best of a bad situation.

Focus on your work in the given circumstances. It is undeniable that your efforts now will bear sweet fruit at the right time.