This Travel Writer Tells Us How To Cope With A Work From Home Situation

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If you’ve landed on this recommendation then chances are that you’ve started working from home and are finding it difficult on how to do it. Trust me, I’ve been there. Since the last 2 ½ years I’ve been working remotely as a travel writer and have picked up a few tricks that should be written in a rulebook now.

Covid 19 has caused our routine lives to undergo drastic changes and precaution is utmost priority right now. While 70% of my income is dependent on travel and I was supposed to be in Bangalore right now to start a 20 day solo trip across borders to Kerala, it has now got to wait.

So, I’m going to make the most of this self quarantine status, revisit everything I’ve picked up over the years and productively ace WFH days in the coming few weeks. 

It is dreamy, it is fun, but it is also highly distracting. Scroll down to see sure shot, practiced tips to make WFH double the efficient from your office jobs! 

PS: We’re all in this together. Don’t forget that.

Educate Your Family

First and foremost sit down with your close ones or the people you live with to explain why you’re working from home and how to go about it.

WFH is a millennial concept that we 20 somethings can easily gel into but it’s the older generation that has probably never faced such a situation. My dad commutes to his office every single day since the last 35 years. So to explain to him how to sit at home and do his job is going to be tricky but needs to be done. Deal with patience and give examples. Better than that – lead with example by doing your WFH bit extremely well.

Next it’s important for them to know that you’re not on a holiday and it is regular working day for you, only the surroundings have changed. Make them understand to not disturb you with some family gossip, talk loudly when you’re on a work call, and say NO to household chores how much ever emotional drama is involved. Give it a few days and even they’ll get into this routine.

Dedicated Workspace

I cannot stress on this fact enough. Create a makeshift workspace for yourself in your home. If you already have a study space or a work desk then kudos to you! But if you don’t, choose a corner that you will be least distracted in.

Get one of those portable laptop tables or convert your coffee table into one. If you have a living room then set shop there as bedrooms tend to make you lazy, the soft blankets inviting you in for a nap. Sofas are another one of the comfortable zones. You can do some light work like replying to emails or going through excel sheets while sitting on it just to give you a change of pace.

Ideally, opt for a space that is slightly uncomfortable so that you get work done as soon as possible. Maybe, work near the proximity of a washroom so that you can wash your hands frequently.

Dress For The Job

When we say ‘Work from home’ the mind automatically goes ‘Ahh, working in pajamas and not taking that dreadful shower’. I can see you nodding instantly on this fact. Now, if you can work wearing your underwear and a shirt like the many characters they show in movies, well and good but for most of us this is not a super power we possess. The comfort of our nightwear just makes us want to snuggle the pillow or our pets all day.

So wake up, take that bath and dress up like you would anyway. Not asking you to wear your shiny heels. Keep it casual with a pair of jeans or shorts if it’s too hot, a shirt/ top and sneakers. Yes, ditch those slippers and fuzzy socks and actually lace up. I on most days give the latter one a miss myself but the times I’ve done it my deadlines have been met beforehand, much to my editor’s surprise.

Breaks Are Vital

It’s natural to feel like you’re not working enough when it’s in the realm of your home. Hence take timely breaks like you would otherwise. Call up a friend, make a cuppa of coffee, chat with your mom who has been waiting for you to stop typing, prep for dinner, research about the movie you want to see next on Netflix or simply play with your pet.

Understand that you’re giving it your all and need these breaks to keep your mind fresh.

Beyond Emails

Meetings turning into emails are a thing that many of us even day dream about so relish it as much as you can. But don’t go overboard with it. Isolation can make a human go crazy after one point because after all we are social beings who need our quota of interaction.

Every now and then open Google hangouts to chat or schedule a video call with your team to keep your sanity in check. Also, it’s a great way to remind yourself that everyone is in this social distancing phase and is going through something similar. Plus, it saves you from a lot of miscommunication and snail-paced responses. Looking at the bright side for everything, guys!

Keep Calm

Our generation can have a Master’s degree in panicking without even studying for it. More than washing your hands and not touching your face, this is a time to keep your marbles in check.

Read the news but don’t indulge with it to a point that you hamper your work. Dedicate certain times in the day where you’ll check on the latest updates. Close all notifications on your phone so that even the slightest horrible news doesn’t reach in the middle of a great brainstorming situation.

It is tempting and worrisome, I know but you continuously refreshing Instagram feeds won’t help anyone’s cause.

And keep sipping on water, yeah? Even some spiced tea will work wonders in this case. It is proven that of you sip on hot beverages while working it helps you stay focused.

Prep In Advance

This is fairly simple – keep your bag ready before you start working. That means, your planner, stationery, chargers, post it notes, laptop and even your meals.

Just like you would carry everything to work, spread it out near your workspace and get going. Prep for your lunch, snacks and other mid-day dishes in advance so that you’re not leaving work to cook. In fact, even use a tiffin for added discipline.

Find Your Groove

Lastly, I can give you a thousand other tips but what works for you will be a combination of few of these tips or more. Try them out and find your groove. Find out what is best for you and then go ahead be amazing at WFH like you’re at your job.

Oh, and curate a kickass playlist to help you work. Your song choices with no one around to judge that can be played on loud as well! See there are quite a few perks of this WFH routine.

Maybe share additional tips if you have in the comments below for the world to know? How are you managing work from home in the times of Corona Virus? 

Note To Freelancers: Being a freelancer, I get how difficult it is to heckle employers for payments. In a situation like this, it is going to get worse since they’re also losing business. Talk to them right away and find a middle ground that works for both parties.

An example can be: you work less, get paid less.

Note To Managers: Apart from you following these guidelines, you have an added responsibility of keeping everyone composed. Schedule regular calls with your team to check on their mental health and suggest breaks if you think it’s needed.

But don’t forget to take care of yourself first! Also, make sure you do get in ample exercise and not spend all your time eating potato crisps and furiously typing away! #StayFitStaySafe