With thousands of people across the UAE facing the prospect of working from home due to the global coronavirus pandemic, many of us will be transforming our living rooms into makeshift offices.
Luckily, technology makes it easy to stay connected with your colleagues when working remotely, but the thought can still be a little daunting, especially if you have not done so before.
Here, we share some tips for remaining productive when working from home …
It is important to create a place where you can work distraction-free, says Suzanne Gandy, a UAE-based expert in people, culture and leadership. “Having a dedicated space from which to work will make your family members aware that when you are sitting there you should really not be disturbed, so you can concentrate,” she says. Wearing visible headphones or closing a door is a great way to indicate to people in your household when you should not be disturbed.
Have a routine
Of course, right now we all need to take things one day at a time, but it is important to try to build a routine. "Getting up and getting ready will put you into the right mindset to be productive," Gandy says, "but managing work and life can be very challenging, so organisation is key." She suggests using an online diary to set aside periods of time to be productive, and using reminders so you don't get sidetracked with other matters at home.
When you are away from your colleagues, it is important for both your peace of mind and workflow to remain in regular contact. “Communication builds and keeps the trust, so constant communication with your line manager and your teams demonstrate your commitment to working productively,” Gandy says. “Trust is key when being given the opportunity to work remotely, so make sure you nurture that trust in the morning with a list of what you are planning to do, and in the evening with what you have done.” Video-calling using apps such as Zoom or group chats on Slack are a great way to keep in touch.
Set mini goals
It’s important to have a clear daily plan to keep yourself focused, Gandy says. “Set yourself daily goals of what you must do, should do and could do that day,” she suggests. “Make sure you complete the ‘must do’ goal before the end of the day, even if it means waiting until the kids are in bed. Tick them off at the end of the day and update your line manager.”
Care for yourself
It is important when you are working from home to make sure you take time to rejuvenate and move around, as you would in the office. “Most of the work you will be doing at home will be sitting down and at a screen,” Gandy says. “And because you will not be going to meetings or walking around the office, make sure you remind yourself to look after your physical wellbeing by getting up and moving.” This includes switching off your social media, she advises, as it can be a major screen time distraction, limiting your productivity.