The Malaysian government has ordered about 1 million private and public sector workers involved in management and supervision to work from home in the states that are affected by the conditional movement control order (CMCO) starting on the 22nd October 2020. This measure is undertaken in order to reduce the number of workers in their premises. These orders will be in effect until the period of CMCO is over and those  who need to work on-premise will have to undergo swab tests and their employers have to issue letters of release stating that they are needed on-site.

Since March 2020, we have been seeing an increase of jobs that are being converted to telecommute positions or working from home. However, many people may find that switching from working in the structured, and frankly, more disciplined office environment to working while being surrounded by the comforts of home quite difficult. However, there is no reason why a person can’t be as efficient, effective, and productive even when they’re working from home or remotely, as long as they are able to establish a routine and stick to it. Below are a few tips to work from home effectively and productively:

  • Keeping to regular working hours

It is important to establish a regular work schedule at home. A consistent schedule will help a person keep accountability besides getting their work done. With total flexibility, it is sometimes tempting to take more breaks and even call it a day earlier than usual, which would definitely affect the work. Besides, keeping to a regular schedule allows for better communication and accessibility between co-workers.

  • Differentiation of work time and personal time

It is equally important to take some personal time away from work. Just like it is too easy to get complacent while working from home, the opposite is also possible where one can extend their workday too far. This can cause burnouts and decrease productivity. Compartmentalizing different aspects of one’s life while living and working within the same space in order to keep optimal productivity, reduce stress, and have a life.

  • Plan the workflow and take breaks.

Planning the workday has proven to help people work efficiently. By working on high priority tasks first and doing the most difficult tasks when one’s energy levels are highest, the work can be done more efficiently. Rewarding one’s self when achieving milestones is a good motivator to keep completing tasks on time. Taking breaks is also important. It is best if one can step away from the working desk to get some fresh air and some simple exercise, or some snacks, or have a quick conversation with someone. This will help them get their blood circulating and refreshes them, allowing them to be ready to tackle the next set of tasks.

  • Dress for the task

While it may be tempting to just lounge in bed in pajamas, fluffy bedroom slippers, and unkempt hair all day with a laptop propped up on pillows, it would be better to actually shower and dress up for work. This is because subconsciously, when a person goes through all these routines to get ready, the brain receives the message that it is time to work.

  • Create a dedicated working space

Everyone has daydreams about accomplishing all their tasks from bed. However, it is best to have some room set aside just for work. It is a simple matter of cognitive association. The brains associate the bed with sleep, and the beanbag for relaxation, and the same way it will associate the working space with work. Setting boundaries with the people who live with them is also important so that they will respect the working hours.

Shifting one’s routine may be difficult and challenging, especially when it comes to shifting the work environment to home, and somehow still compartmentalizing both. With the tips above, one can still have a productive workday from home.

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