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Feel like you're going out of your mind with the Movement Control Order seemingly never-ending? Don't despair yet, we've got some pretty neat tips and advice from people who've survived not just the deadly Covid-19 virus, but also from being stuck indoors all day, every day!
When the Covid-19 virus rapidly escalated into a global pandemic (and panic), it forced the world into the largest work-from-home exercise in history.
As Malaysia undergoes the same exercise, we’re pretty sure you’re reading this while safe at home, and wondering how to possibly survive the next few weeks – all while maintaining your sanity.
That’s why we decided to step in with this guide containing some tips and advice from those in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo.
They’ve survived not just the deadly Covid-19 virus, but also from being stuck indoors all day, every day!
Check out the 6 tips below:
1) Make sure the productivity is flowing
The number one advice that everyone seemed to have: “Go” to work. And by that, we don’t mean break the law, and travel by public transportation to your office!
Rather, keep as close as possible to your original work routine. For example, if you start working at 9am, don’t set the alarm for 8:55am. Wake up earlier and get ready as though you’re “going to the office”.
Don’t forget to dress up in your regular (but comfortable) office wear too, and not hang around the house all day in pajamas! For the men, there’s even a special piece of advice for you: Remember to shave!
All these grooming tips help frame your mindset to be productive at home. You know what they say, if you look the part, you’ll play the part and behave in a way that’s characteristic of your regular routine.
Where you can, set up a space that allows you to feel like you’re still in the office: a well-lit room or space filled with natural sunlight, a good chair for back support, and a quality pair of headphones/earphones.
And then there are other little (but important) things to consider, such as if you’re a caffeine junkie like our Editor, which means the coffee needs to be plentiful and within easy reach!
Other things to try and have would be a mouse instead of constantly using the laptop trackpad; an external keypad so your wrists don’t give out; and a second monitor screen, if you have one at home.
All of these tips are part of the mental tricks to keep you fresh, productive, and less lazy, allowing you to fully separate work from the rest of your life.
2) Healthy boundaries need to be in place
While you’re busy hammering away at your keyboard or attending virtual meeting after meeting, it can be very easy for you to overwork yourself.
You may find the day passing more quickly than if you were at the office, and the lack of a commute creates the illusion that you’re more productive with your day.
This may lead to you feeling like you’re not actually done with work when your regular working hours are up, which is why it’s so important to know when to get up, log off, and turn off all devices!
What you can do is to designate an area specifically to work from, instead of lounging on the sofa all day. You can opt to create a makeshift standing desk using a combination of boxes and bricks.
In case you face a serious state of frustration and stress from having to deal with a slower home internet, smaller screen, and noisy occupants, the key is to minimise all of that for the sake of your mental health.
Consider getting a portable internet dongle, taking plenty of mini breaks to stretch and look at greenery (good for the eyes!) without leaving the house of course, as well as selecting the quietest spot possible to set up that dedicated, actual physical space to work.
3) How to handle having kids at home
Whatever has noise and/or lights will instantly become a focal point of interest for curious children, trust us on this! That applies to your handphone/laptop screen, keyboard keys, and even that clickety mouse.
How you can distract them would be to have things on hand that are even more irresistible to them, like their favourite toys, or cookies and candies.
Because you trying to tell your children to stop or not grab something important is only going to fall on deaf ears.
If all else fails, make sure you stock up on plenty of craft material, colouring books, workbooks, plus new toys. You’re going to want to keep them occupied, so you can enjoy blocks of child-free time.
And yes, that involves giving them the iPad/smartphone too (hey, some things have got to be sacrificed)!
At the same time, it’s a good idea to sit your children down and have a heart-to-heart talk with them about what’s going on, with all the age-appropriate details.
It’s not only challenging for the adults to be home 24/7, it’s new territory for them too.
4) Don’t isolate yourself from other people
We get it, this can be a difficult time to adjust for some people, especially if they’re used to a noisy bustling workspace.
So, make sure you talk to people outside of the home space at least once a day via messaging apps, phone calls or video calls, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
If you’re the type who used to love going out for destressing lunches with your colleagues, why not try something new while stuck at home: eating while watching ‘mukbang’!
This is a type of video streaming that’s becoming increasingly popular, thanks to its format of people eating on camera and talking to you, as though you’re part of a conversation with them.
Better yet: during spare moments and free time, hop on a video call with fellow friends and family members to catch-up over light and non-gloomy topics like the work-from-home (WFH) experience, pets, families, or just to share happy and funny stories.
You can also try watching movies or TV series with a bestie, remotely of course. Schedule a special day and time for the both of you to look forward to, and start watching at the same time.
Stay on a video call if you’d like, so that if either person has something to comment (or complain about), just pause, unmute, and fire away!
Most of all, be kind to yourself. There will be days when things seem to be a bit harder to cope than usual, and the last thing you’d want to do is beat yourself up for your perceived inability to cope.
5) Keep your health levels up
Do you know what’s almost as fast as the Covid-19? Lethargy and weight gain setting in on you, because your daily steps are drastically reduced!
Where possible, start doing plenty of simple home exercises like stretching, pushups, walking up and down the stairs (if you live in a double-storey home), brisk walks round and round a room, or yoga exercises.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, check out YouTube for online tutorials on how to start a new activity with your family. They can be as simple as sit-ups or very basics for boxing, gymnastics, and dancing.”
This WFH situation can also be used as a reason to change up your eating habits – say good bye to snacking every hour on pantry junk, and hello to a low-carb diet with meat, vegetables, fruits, and small portions.
If, after all that you’re still feeling the slump and can’t keep your eyelids up any longer, go and take a nap! A short 15- to 30-minute nap on your lunch break can boost your productivity and keep you focused over a longer day. It’ll feel a bit like starting a new day.
6) Embrace the unexpected benefits that you get
While many are bemoaning the fact that their social life is now over, why not take the opportunity to look at things differently?
For example, with no more commuting to and fro, you’ve got extra time to do all the things that have been delayed or built up.
There are so many refreshing rewards to look forward to – blasting your own music, cuddling a cat to relieve stress, getting additional sleep, and working from the toilet seat if you so choose.
Furthermore, as everyone is in the same boat as you, you’ll get plenty of understanding from your co-workers even outside the office.
Having a conference call and your toddler is challenging your patience by shouting at you to play with her? Your pet pooch deciding to bark non-stop at the mailman during an important phone call with a client?
No worries, everyone understands the challenge faced now, so you might even be able to chat about it and laugh it off!
Above all, the amount of time you spend at home with your loved ones is priceless – nothing beats having all meals with them, just seeing them around the house, and being able to talk to them any time of the day.