serious Kape

Working from home during quarantine, don’t forget your coffee

I have my complaints, but I am grateful I have an opportunity to work from home and even more grateful I am living in a home that makes it relatively easy to just #stayathome to help #flattenthecurve. Having said that, it’s not my dream job, but it’s what I have now and it helps pay the bills.

coffee-1284041_1920

This may seem nice at first, but it’s not good for the long-term/ pexels via Pixabay.com

It was not that hard to shift to a work from home set-up. I’ve always had a laptop and a VPN account. The hard part was shifting the entire operation from the office to work from home. We’re all past that and we’ve more or less gotten used to the new norm, but it’s still easy to feel lazy while working from home. Here are some of the things I try to do to keep myself productive as much as I can.

First, try to establish a start of day routine. My routine, which I try to follow as religiously as I can, is not dependent on my actual work schedule. My schedule changes from day-to-day, even if it was already supposed to be plotted in my calendar. Take today (April 13, 2020) for example: I had four meetings in my calendar at the start of the day; by the time I started writing this, three were either cancelled or rescheduled. The only one that remains is a one hour thing that starts at 11pm (PST). Plus I have one at 11am tomorrow morning. So no, I don’t pattern the routine according to my schedule.

shareyourkape working from home

Also important: stay hydrated!

Make sure to not start working immediately after you wake up. Allow yourself some time before starting to work. Use that time to do the normal routine you would do if you’re going to work, but try not to do anything that would make you go out unnecessarily. Have breakfast, exercise, take a bath, water the plants. If you have to walk the dogs, make sure you’re at least still wearing the basic protective gear and sanitize yourself immediately after getting back. More importantly, have coffee within the ideal morning window. Get yourself ready for work. If you get up and work immediately, you can get easily tired of working from home and that’s not exactly helpful during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). I try to take bath before working (not ashamed to admit that sometimes I do not), but I always make sure to eat and drink coffee first. I also, during the less than a handful times I have gone out, do my grocery shopping in the morning.

Now when you’re going to start working, make sure you’re going to do it in your “office”. If you have an actual office in your home, well hello fancy – good for you! For the rest of us, just pick out a space in your home that will become your work space. This, however, I am not 100% following myself. I’m currently working out of the family dinner table, but it’s the only space in the house that has my specifications for a work area (for now).

shareyourkape static window

This is the view directly in front of me. I look towards here when I want to rest my eyes or have to do deep thinking. See why I need it to be a “static window”

And that’s exactly how you can pick the right spot in the house to serve as your “office”; the spot in your home that have most of the things you need to be productive, including where the internet is stable. You may not want it to be too bright, you may want to face a wall, whatever your preference is, just try to work away from your bed. If you’re living in a studio room, try not working from your actual bed. Set up an area where you have to stand up, preferably facing away from the bed. I prefer being near a “static window” or a window where the view has little to no movement. I also like the table to be relatively high and spacious, plus I have to walk down the stairs to get there; that’s why I’m working from our dining table.

It’s also essential to take frequent breaks. Most of us are not sitting in the ergonomic chairs we have at work. Given that most of us are not using the same high-speed (yeah right) internet we had at work, it makes our machines work harder and more prone to overheating. Take a few short breaks, walk around your house. Make yourself a light snack. Cook lunch or dinner. Have a cup of coffee. Do something else other than work (like write something for your blog). This may seem that you’re not being productive but it will actually help you accomplish more. It can be easy to get burned-out working from work for a month. Strike up a conversation with your manager about your work schedule while working from home, if they haven’t yet. You both should understand how important breaks are from working for home, both physically and mentally. I sometimes head out to the yard to watch my pets play with each other. It’s especially fun to see a big dog try to play with a few grumpy cats. This is also when I exercise, at least 30 minutes during days that I do. Most importantly, set work aside during lunch and dinner. Since I work at the dining table, I have to physically move my laptop aside when we’re about to eat.

If you need to concentrate on certain tasks or meetings, tell the people that you live with about it. I ask my wife to give me time alone when I have calls because these are the times when I become my work persona (yes, I just said that) the most. Add to that we’re encouraging video conferencing for meetings, then it’s also better to not have anybody else in the video during meetings. By the way, the company uses a platform that’s not Zoom for our video conferencing, in case you were wondering.

shareyourkape do not drink while working from home

I know it’s tempting to be drinking while working from home, but save it for after or after a particularly “long” week

These may not be applicable to everybody, and some who have already been working from home before the ECQ may have an entirely different set of pointers, but I have started to see how these have helped me. The coffee part, I’ve had to work with instant coffee, but that’s because I had always preferred getting coffee brewed by experts before. I also don’t want beans to be delivered to my house, but I am considering that more every day.

Whatever you’re doing during the ECQ, always remember to stay at home unless you absolutely have to go out. Always wash your hands and make sure to always eat. Canned fish are a better choice than other canned goods, especially tuna. Get proper sleep. Take time to exercise. Support the frontliners in any way you can (even small donations through reputable channels goes a long way), and that also includes staying at home. And don’t let the quarantine stop you from drinking coffee, but don’t fall into the “I’ll only drink instant coffee from now on” hole, that’s only supposed to be temporary.


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