WAHM, SAHM – we’ve probably heard of these before. The terms Work-at-home-moms or stay-at-home-moms have been circulating the virtual space for a few years now. Mothers, mostly, are the ones who maintain online jobs to earn while attending to their families. Today, however, forced by circumstances we find everyone staying home while earning.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns implemented almost all over our country, numerous adjustments have been made. Companies struggle with ensuring that the workforce deliver the necessary services. It helps if policies and processes are already in place so there are clear expectations between the bosses and the workforce. If not, we just need to make do with whatever resources we have on hand. For most employees who report for work daily (like me), being cooped up at home but needing to do work can be a little, if not a lot, disconcerting.
One free helpful resource is this video of UPOU Asst. Professor Mari Anjeli Crisanto about “Platform for Work at Home Setup.” She focused on the technology that will be helpful especially for those who are paid on an hourly basis.
Also, I asked for some tips from some of my friends who have been working from home for a while. One is a work at home mom for 10 years, another is a new dad who has been doing online work at home for 7 years, and another switched to online work at home after a couple of years of experiencing office work.
Here are some of the points they raised based on their experiences in a work from home (WFH) arrangement:
- No morning rush for commute which translates to less expense for fare or gas, and less worry about what to wear.
- More flexible schedule. At home, we can do so many other things while working.
- We spend more time with our family.
- Miss out on the freebies enjoyed at work such as free coffee, meals during face to face meetings, all day supply of drinking water.
- Expenses on electricity, internet connection and other tools and applications needed for work.
Since early March, I’ve received a number of emails sharing best practices about transitioning to online work. They’re helpful but I also asked friends within my circle to share how to be productive while working from home, in our context.
- Discipline is the key. Treat WFH like an office set-up.
- Create a schedule and stick to it. Write down your tasks arranged according to priority. Free (if not supplied by your office) online project management tools can be used. At the end of the day, log your accomplishments. It will help give you a sense of accomplishment and will help you do better next time. Working smart is better than working hard. Write your checklists, arrange some sort of system for yourself or your team. These things can and should be refined over time, so keep looking out for improvements!
- Use time tracking applications to help focus on work and be productive.
- There is a different conduciveness when you are home than in the office. So, if you cannot put your mind to work yet, just open your computer and all work-related apps and browser tabs. Staring at them until you’re able to work will help you get in the mood.
- At the same time, focus. Close any social media tabs or even YouTube. It will also help to purposely avoid other distractions, if possible. Ambient music works well with some people.
- Taking short breaks will help with mental blocks. If you run out of creativity, a short walk, nap or even a short game – anything that will temporarily occupy your mind besides your task. Then make sure you get back to work.
- Think about finishing your tasks first – the reward comes after. If you finish your workdays or weeks ahead of time, the long R&R is awesome.
- Motivate yourself with rewards – if on hourly rate, think about how much you’ll lose or gain.
- Last but not the least, be honest and transparent. Work honestly and wholeheartedly. Lying about your work will eventually catch up with you.
I hope these points will help all of us. Of course, we all have our own experiences and preferences, and it is really up to us to find the perfect combination to achieve productivity and deliver needed outputs.
As a pregnant mom with two very active toddlers, I cannot claim any space in the house as my own. Four weeks through the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I still haven’t found the most conducive workspace yet, so I keep moving from the side table, to the bed, to the sofa, in front of the TV, to the dining table or even at the terrace. So far, this works for me. The comfort of knowing I’m not alone also helps.
Working in bed clothes, before or while breakfast or preparing it, especially in the middle of a house in chaos of toys, notebooks, colors, and kids, also works. For now.
I should not miss mentioning that being able to lie down anytime needed and being near the refrigerator is definitely a plus. If the lockdown persists, thanks to my friends and free online resources sharing best practices, I can safely and productively deliver whatever comes my way.
Written by: Ms. Anna Cañas-Llamas
Layout by: Ms. Lovelyn P. Petrasanta
Edited by: Dr. Joane V. Serrano