No Pyjamas, No Bed! How to Work From Home in Times of Coronavirus

Stay away from the bed, take a shower, slack your co-workers and walk around – how to work from home 101.

Updated12 Mar 2020, 12:21 PM IST
India
4 min read

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases in India, and with the government advising “social distancing” as a way to manage the disease, more and more workplaces like Flipkart, Dell India are including a work from home option for their employees. Columbia, Harvard, Ohio and other US universities have also switched to remote classes online, asking students to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus. Here's how you can make a smooth transition to working from home in a way that ensures you actually do some work, and not get distracted by a TV show binge.

1. Shower, And Get Dressed

A good piece of advice to manage contagious viruses, and to start your work day from home. Getting dressed in the morning gets you out of bed and establishes boundaries between your work and home life. This may seem trivial, but it's a great way to get in the mindset of working. In other words, if you're working, you need to feel like you're working. So no pajamas.

Even Terminator gets dressed for work, and so should you. 
Even Terminator gets dressed for work, and so should you. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

2. Get Away From That Bed

Sitting in bed, under a blanket, tapping away at a laptop is the first image that pops up when you hear the words "work from home." But working from your bed is actually a big "no" for most people who have to regularly work from home. Make a clearly defined space as your workstation -- preferably a desk. Writing in the WIRED, Brian Barett writes, "At all costs, you should avoid turning your entire house or apartment into an amorphous space where you’re always on the clock but also kind of not."

Don’t be that person, get off your bed. 
Don’t be that person, get off your bed. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

3. Ask People to Not Disturb You

When you're working from home, it's very easy for people around you to forget that you're *actually* at work – and not just chilling with your laptop. So speak to your family or roommates beforehand, and tell them that they should respect your work hours, just like they would if you were in an office.

Remember that infamous BBC interview? Yes, talk to your family about boundaries. 
Remember that infamous BBC interview? Yes, talk to your family about boundaries. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

4. Make a To-Do List, and Self-Evaluate

It's easy to lose track of your work when you're working on your own. More often than not, you realise it's 5 pm and you have not fulfilled any of your daily goals. A way to counter this potential decline in productivity is to make a to-do list at the beginning of your day and to self-evaluate your progress at regular intervals.

A to-do list keeps you on track. 
A to-do list keeps you on track. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

5. Keep in Touch With Co-Workers, Even if Online

Working from home can be isolating, normally. It's common to feel that other co-workers are in office, and you're away from the office culture which makes a normal day. This point may not be applicable if you're forced to work from home, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, since everyone will also be working from home. Nevertheless, communicating with your manager and teammates through messaging platforms like Slack and WhatsApp will keep morale high.

Slack is your best friend. 
Slack is your best friend. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

6. Don't Do Anything At Home, Which You Won't At Work

So, no TV breaks. While work from home may seem like implicit permission to break rules, it's not. So even though it's really tempting to have your latest Netflix favourite play out in the background while you work, it might do more harm than good. A simple mantra, according to Barett, is don't do anything at home, which you might not do at work.

Razor sharp focus, which you can’t establish with a TV in the background. 
Razor sharp focus, which you can’t establish with a TV in the background. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

7. Walk Around!

At office, a walk to the coffee machine or to chat with your office friend guarantees some form of physical exercise. Working from home, it becomes even more important to take breaks and walk around to avoid back and leg pain. Some people also choose to opt for a standing desk when they're working from home or walk their pets.

Don’t sit around all the time – take a break and walk around. 
Don’t sit around all the time – take a break and walk around. 
(Photo: GIPHY)

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Published: 12 Mar 2020, 12:11 PM IST
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