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Keeping Up with Work from Home

Working from Home. Source: Unsplash

Everyone has different techniques for managing their time, especially with being confined at home, where you have more distractions than when you’re in an office space.

Whether you’re a teacher, employee, or a student, getting work done while still doing other activities and chores at home such as spending time with family, working out, cooking, or cleaning the house can get overwhelming.

You might end up sitting in front of a screen for hours before getting to do other leisure activities. However, after it’s all finished, you’re already tired and then just end up leaving the other important things you wanted to do floundering unchecked at the bottom of your list.

The Pomodoro technique is one where you break work down into intervals of 25 minutes and take short breaks in between it. It’s possibly already being used by many of us without even knowing the official term. This technique helps people to be more productive when working or studying from home, while still managing to keep their stress levels low.

What other techniques are people using to cope with this recent situation? Indonesia Expat had the chance to e-interview some people with different occupations such as a teacher, student, and employees to understand the details of their personal coping mechanisms.

Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic. How do you cope with it?

Patricia: During this pandemic, everything has still been able to be managed in terms of workload and household needs. Just preparing groceries, vitamins, and other things to be ready when they’re going to be needed.

Jessica: Staying positive is the key for me. Knowing that things will get better soon definitely pulls me out of worrying and stressing about the future.

Annie: It’s a challenge and it has affected us greatly. However, looking at it positively; no more fast food, no more excessive shopping, and focusing on something that you’re passionate about has helped me to overcome the trauma of it.

David: I limit myself in social meetings. Using digital tech is the best way to stay connected with people during the pandemic. On top of that, I eat healthy food and take vitamins to boost my immune system.

Are you working or studying from home? If yes, what are the applications or websites that you use?

Patricia: Yes, I’m working from home. I’m a strategic planner and I use Hangouts from Google for making conference calls with my company. I also use Zoom when a meeting call or pitching presentation is needed to be conducted with clients.

Jessica: I’m a student, and yes, I’m studying from home. Most of my teachers use Google Classroom; in my opinion, it’s the best online learning platform so far. Other than that, my teachers also use Microsoft team, Schoology, and communication applications such as Line and WhatsApp.

Annie: I’m an economics teacher. I use Google Classroom, Zoom, Line, and WhatsApp.

David: I’m a marketing communication officer and a copywriter. I’m currently working from home so I use Office applications, Zoom, Gmail, and WhatsApp.

Any tips on how to work or study from home? What are the things you need to prepare? What techniques do you use?

Patricia: Every time I have a conference call, I always prepare a notebook to write important things that might be forgotten later on. Then, writing a to-do list and what I have done are jotted in Excel to report in with the human resource team which will be checked every end of the month.

Jessica: Definitely setting goals for studying such as finishing reading a chapter of a textbook for the day and avoiding procrastinating from those goals. Having your phone away can also help you avoid distractions.

Annie: Be focused and don’t take it too lightly. Have time for preparation and research. Don’t get distracted when you have to check your phone or laptop every now and then.

David: Do not stay up all night. Get some sleep. Not going to the office doesn’t mean you can wake up late. A duty is a duty. Try to get the work done the day you are assigned it. Play some tunes to keep you entertained.

Do you like working or studying from home more than you did working in the office or studying at school? If yes, give us some positive reviews about working from home.

Patricia: Working from home is nice since I can relax a bit but still make sure everything is done on time. Moreover, no transportation fees are needing to be paid so it’s more efficient time-wise. However, I still do prefer working in the office at times, since face-to-face meetings are more effective and minimise any misunderstanding.

Jessica: Personally, I prefer studying at school because I find it hard to study in an environment where I usually rest and relax. It’s more difficult for me to focus or even just wake up in the morning for classes. The only positive thing about studying from home, for me, is that I don’t feel pressured to learn things so fast therefore I can take my time to fully understand the lessons.

Annie: Yes, it’s more convenient. We can lie down and take a break when we want. Also, there is more flexibility in doing things our way.

David: I actually like both, but if I have to choose one over the other, I would work from home. I can blast the music in my room, which is something I can’t do at the office. Also, by working from home, I get to spend less money on transport and parking.

How do you manage your time while staying at home and still doing other activities such as cooking, cleaning the house, working out, etc?

Patricia: Usually, I finish my work first; what should be done on the day, then I will start doing other activities like mostly cooking and exercising.

Jessica: I prioritise things that need to be done first. Since I have classes in the morning, I would try to finish all my tasks. Then, I would carry out my daily chores and other activities.

Annie: Time management is very important. I usually just like working in the days, wake up early, and do the chores. My work-out schedule is also after school hours, just like usual.

David: I always try to get the work done; that’s the priority. If one task is done, then I will have to wait for another one, if available. During the wait, I will do other activities. I also use my break time to work out a little.

The Pomodoro technique is also known as breaking work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. Will you try this technique or have you done it whilst not being aware it had a name?

Patricia: I think I’ve done this before whilst being unaware of the term. I always have short breaks for some snacks or looking through social media.

Jessica: No, I’ve never used that technique before.

Annie: I haven’t heard about it before. However, I do take a break between tasks.

David: This is a great technique because it can reduce your stress and boredom levels. It is also good for your eyes because watching a screen for too long can be risky for the eyes. I will definitely try this technique.

What are the struggles you’ve faced during working or studying from home?

Patricia: The struggle is that I can only ask for help from my seniors through WhatsApp or phone calls, while sometimes it can be better to ask directly face to face due to the time that I have to wait for them to reply to the message.

Jessica: Finding the motivation to start on my work immediately after getting assigned is difficult for me. Being at home, there are so many distractions around me that tempt me to stray away from starting on my school work. However, with the mindset that I can do anything without worrying if I finish all my work first, I force myself to do my tasks immediately after receiving them. I also like to set reminders on my phone in case I’m not able to do my tasks immediately.

Annie: It seems the workload is just the same. I handle it just like I handle the usual work situation, by prioritising the most important ones.

David: It’s the barrier in communication. Sometimes we are too lazy to type, or maybe my colleague interprets my messages in a different way which can lead to miscommunication.

Give us three words that explain working or studying from home for you.

Patricia: Flexible, depressing, and workload.

Jessica: Complicated, freedom, and independent.

Annie: Convenient, calm, and good.

David: Simple, effective, and responsibility.

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