As of the writing of this blog, it seems that we are finally seeing the light at the end of this very dark tunnel known as the COVID19 pandemic. Mass vaccination is underway and the President himself has said that all those who have already completed their two rounds of vaccinations (that’s only one round for those who opted for Johnson&Johnson vaccines and two for the rest) do not need to wear face masks anymore, even when they are in public. If that’s not an incentive for the lot of us who are still having second thoughts of having the vaccine, then nothing will ever push us to get injected. Besides, if the government is pretty strict about not allowing travelers with the new strain from India to arrive on our shores, then it shouldn’t be long before we can enjoy some “new normal” action.

But you know what? A lot of the people I know may already be excited to be in the thick of things that used to occupy their schedule, except for one: Having to go to work in the office from Monday to Friday, back to the usual grind of 9 to 5. We may not really explicitly declare it,  but it seems that working at home for most of us has been manageable, if not something we’ve already gotten used to. Certainly, this is as long as we haven’t had hard disk drive failures or other productivity killers while we have been at home. Thus, when everyone’s going back to the “new normal,” I bet there will be a good number of us who will negotiate with our bosses to arrange for WFH setup for most of the workweek and only report to work as needed. If you’re one of those who envision more telecommuting for yourself, here are a few tips to make sure you’re doing things right.

Be a pro at schedule creation and time management.
A huge roadblock for some people as to why a work-from-home setup is not working for them is because they are not particularly in a work frame of mind when they are at home. They equate staying at home with relaxing and spending more time with the family. But instead of this, a little tweak in this mindset can make you a more effective telecommuter. Start by making a schedule of all your work and personal tasks make sure that the time you spend for those two portions of your life does not clash with each other, stick to that schedule for at least a month, and after a month of religiously following said schedule, you will find yourself appreciating the structure you implemented in your life.

Do you find yourself working longer hours during the pandemic? Recent research from Microsoft says yes. A study conducted by a group of data scientists found that employees worked an average of four more hours a week. Now that your commute to the office might mean a walk from your bedroom to the kitchen table, it’s more important than ever to focus on time management.

Care to log your time?
If you are having difficulty in weaning yourself from distractions that prevent you from working efficiently, try downloading time management or logging app. By the end of the first week of using this app, you will notice the areas of your schedule that get wasted on distractions or are not handled efficiently. This is where your sense of discipline kicks in. because now that you know which things distract you, be it social media, Netflixing and Chilling in the middle of the workday, or “tutoring” your kid in the middle of his online class, then you will have to remove these distractions, at least while you are still at work.

Making time registrations a staple in your routine, you automatically make your business more transparent. It allows you to stay on top of the working process, offering insights into the jobs being completed and their duration. Additionally, you start to understand which activities are being constantly put on the back burner and start prioritizing work better.

Practice video conferencing etiquette
The thing about video conferencing is that we’ve been practicing it for more than a year now and even before with our remote clients and team members, but somehow we still aren’t 100% confident that we are doing it correctly. Maybe because we just go with the flow of things when video conferencing that we think of it as one of those “when it ain’t broke don’t fix it” matters. But little things such as not turning on your camera when in a videocon, muting your microphone when it’s not your turn to speak, and using appropriate lightning may feel trivial, but actually, make or break an effective video conference.

There’s nothing more irritating (and frustrating and not productive) than a meeting in which everyone languidly checks in, and then the person who scheduled the meeting has no plan. Don’t schedule a meeting if you don’t have an agenda.

Prohibited things at work = prohibited things at home
A lot of us have grown used to perpetuating bad habits such as checking social media and procrastinating because we think that they’re okay things to do – we’re working at home anyway. But we should remember that at least for our work schedules, be it 8-4, 9 to 5, or a graveyard shift, we still are at work and therefore should avoid these bad habits. Be efficient at work so that you’ll have more time for these activities after work hours.

Interruptions by others are not the only form of distraction that home-based workers encounter. We can all be distracted by email, social media, household chores, television and much more. To avoid distractions when you work at home, you need self-discipline.

Effective work habits are all the more important when you’re working from home. When you have lost important files in your work laptop because it crashed or for some other reason, get in touch with us anytime.