The Coronavirus, or better known as COVID-19 is upon us. Due to the severity of the issue and how easy it is to contract the virus, most companies have issued statements for employees to work from home. Here are several ways and tools you could use to help you work from home more efficiently.
Where Are You Going To Work From Home?
Most people aren’t used to the whole “work from home” idea. Even if they do get the chance, it’s usually a one-off thing because you’re sick for a day or two. However, if you’re going to be stuck at home for a while, it’s best you choose a spot that helps you focus. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire floor for you to work.
If you have a study room to work in, that’s great as it gives you a more quiet space to work in. But if you like working on your sofa, that’s fine too, you can create your mini office. But, try to avoid setting up shop near your bed. Because that’s where it’s easy for you to just cuddle right back into your sleep. Trust me, it can get to the best of us.
What Time Does Work Start and End?
Living in an era where technology makes us so accessible, it’s even harder to have a proper work schedule at home. You might even end up working 24/7. Try your best to end work on time. How? To achieve that, try working only during your usual working hours (usually 9am to 6pm, right?). If your bosses are considerate, you might be able to stick to that working hour.
However, there are cases of late deadlines or assignments that needs extra after-hours attention. If it is absolutely necessary, you’re more than welcome to complete the task. If not, that 12 midnight email you’re sending out can wait till the morning for a response.
Tune Your Body With The Right Furniture and Exercises
One thing you’re going to want to upgrade at your work space at home is your desk and chair. Ergonomics is essential in keeping your body properly postured so you don’t hurt your back while working. Most offices already have proper work desks and chairs that are designed to be ergonomic. So, you should definitely replicate this at the workstation at home.
Not to mention, do take time off to get up and walk around. Maybe do small little chores around the house, it’ll help you stretch your muscles and straighten your back in the process. Also, do make your work space is properly lit so you won’t have too much strain on your eyes.
Have The Right Tools
Now that you have your workspace environment and equipment settled, it’s time to get to the nitty and gritty.
A Capable Computer
If you can bring back the laptop your company provided you, then that’s great. Otherwise, you could just use your own personal laptop to work from home. If it doesn’t perform that well, you might need to upgrade several parts to get it to work more efficiently so you can get your tasks done quicker.
The Huawei MateBook D15 or Acer Swift 3 are solid choices when it comes to productivity machines. They both have capable processors powering them, complete with high amount of RAMs and large storage space for you to store files. The best part? They both come with Microsoft Office suites.
A Decent Smartphone
As most work is done on your PC, a smartphone would be your secondary tool when you’re away from your workstation. Technically, any smartphone would do. But you would want it to at least be smooth and lag, so you wouldn’t have to wait ages for an app to load or an email to be sent out. Recently, mid-range devices are more than capable of handling work tasks. They’ve also gotten more affordable too.
The Huawei Nova series and the Samsung Galaxy A series are mid-rangers that are more than capable to get the job done. However, if you want a little more power to do additional things like play a game or two, you could opt for the higher end models like a Huawei Mate 30 series, or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series that are made with productivity in mind.
Slack is a good work messaging app that organises everyone and keep them in the loop of what’s happening. You’re able to directly message a person, create groups (called Channels), send attachments, react on comments, and more. You can even sync up your calendars so you can keep track of your deadlines.
If you’re away from your PC, but you still need to stay up to date with the conversation that’s going around in the workplace, you could use the Slack app. However, not everyone has the app. So, you can turn to WhatsApp or Telegram where everyone is more accessible. Of course, most people use these apps for their personal conversations, so you should keep your work texts in the group chats specifically created for work.
WhatsApp and Telegram are great when you’re out and about, but what’s better is that they both have web clients for you to continue the conversation on your desktop browser. You can also send photos, videos, documents, have voice/video calls, and more.
Now, when it comes to deadlines, that’s something you’re going be forgetful about (or for me, at least). Personally, I use Trello. It is a collaboration tool that lets you create Kanban-style lists to help keep track of your tasks and deadlines. In Trello, you can create boards for marketing, logistics, development and etc, and in those boards, you create cards. These cards can be work in progress, requests, to-do’s, completed tasks and etc.
How it works is, you simply create a card in the respective category, then you drag and drop in the corresponding section when you’re done. For instance, I’m preparing a proposal so I create a card in the work in progress section, complete with my assets and deadlines, as well as collaborating member (colleague). Once I’m done with it, i’ll drag it to the “For Review” section, where if my superior approves it, he will then drag it to the “Approved” section. My colleagues will then carry out the task and drag the card to “Completed” once they’re finished. Pretty simple and intuitive, right?
When you need to have a quick meeting with your colleagues, Google Hangouts Meet might be your most simplistic option. Get to the site, create a meeting, copy the Hangouts Meet link and send it to the colleagues involved. All they have to do from there is to click the link and request to join the meeting. Once they’re in, they can either just use voice call, or show themselves through video. You can also project your desktop screen if you’re doing a presentation.
Another thing that’s cool about it is if you’re not able to listen to the audio from the meeting, you can turn on captions. From here, Google will then convert any audible dialogue and turn them into subtitles for your reading. From my experience, Google gets the word 95% accurate, which is pretty neat.
To work from home, it is a differing personal work experience for each individual as everyone’s mileage may vary. It is important to decide what is best for you, what helps you focus, and ultimately, what you can afford. It’s going to take a couple of trial and errors for you to figure out the best setup for your workstation at home, but by the end of it, you’ll be putting more cards in the “Completed” section than you know.