Coronavirus: making work from home more productive
With Beijing imposing a 14-day self-quarantine on people returning to the city, in an attempt to contain the spreading coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, many residents might now face a new style of work: home office. For those working from home, waking up in the morning doesn’t mean physically going to the office, because… they are already in it. However, for work at home to be efficient, it requires a well-defined action plan, discipline, and strong motivation. Below, Pacific Prime China, a division of a global employee benefits brokerage in the Asia Pacific region and globally, shares several ways to increase efficiency and properly organize your time and space in your home office for maximizing your productivity results.
When work means home
Space, where you work, is essential for great results. The home environment, however, can be filled with many more distractions than the office; therefore, employers worry about their staff productivity. Family members, cats, noise from outside, or even unblocked social media sites can contribute to the lower levels of productivity while working at home. Below are the top tips on how to maximize your potential at your own home office.
Set the rules
It can happen that for family members, the presence of dad or wife at home can mean an opportunity to, for example, perform household duties together. But before you start working at home, it’s worth talking to the household members. A good solution is to enter into an agreement with your family that you will not be available for a specific time of day. This way everyone will respect each other’s space and time, so things can be done without there being distractions.
Office in the living room
It is worth separating the space that will be the workplace. Lying on the couch with a laptop or wandering around with documents and a telephone around the house can not only be ineffective but also contribute to the formation of many nervous situations (e.g. when the phone accidentally drops or a child destroys an important document).
That is why it is so important to organize an “office” equipped with all the necessary gear such as a computer, and a telephone. Having a workplace is not only important for setting boundaries for the family regarding ‘workplace’ and ‘home space’, but also has a positive effect on efficiency.
Don’t work in your pyjamas
What you wear can certainly help motivate you and boost your efficiency. Do you associate your free time at home with walking all day in an extended tracksuit or pyjamas? It is no wonder that when you sit down to your duties in the same outfit, you can’t focus on them. It is not about putting on a shirt or jacket, but to mark the difference between work and rest. If only you can just convince yourself to focus on the responsibilities at hand, work efficiency will increase right away.
Plan the day and stick to it
Postponing duties is a very common problem among people working from home. If you check Weibo a lot, together with your e-mail inbox, watch (sometimes) online videos, and find that your project has not moved forward at all, it means that this problem also applies to you.
Effective use of working time depends above all on skillful planning of duties. Try to create a list of tasks that will detail the hours and the next steps. Do not underestimate the schedule, and make sure you can see and access the to-do list easily.
Keep the work-life balance
John Pencavel, a professor of economics at Stanford University in the US, conducted a study in which he found a surprising fact: employees who work 56 hours a week are as productive as those working 70 hours a week.
Although difficult, it is important to separate work time from free time. Just because you work from home shouldn’t mean you work from morning to late evening and you don’t have time for yourself or your loved ones.
Working effectively from home is possible. However, it is worth noting that it requires a lot of discipline. When a comfortable couch is in sight and a demanding boss is not standing above you, it’s often really hard to focus. To work efficiently at home, you must follow a set of rules that will organize your day and separate your work life from your private life. Work-life balance is also very important, even if your home office becomes a comfortable haven.
Stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak
Even though working from home can decrease the chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus, there’s still a risk of the disease spreading in residential areas. This means that you’re never entirely safe, and you should consider other safety measures, too.
For any more advice on staying safe feel free to read this flyer, and if expat health insurance in China is in your interest, it is best for you to contact our experienced advisors directly. We will help you compare plans and offer free plan quotations to match your needs and budget, all at no cost to you.
When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or from the boat - the closer to the sea, the better!
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