Tips on how to efficiently work from home, from those who've been doing it for years

Tips on how to efficiently work from home, from those who've been doing it for years

 If you’ve been part of the rat race all your life, all this freedom about managing your own time as you work from home during the lockdown may come as a challenge more than a blessing. How do avoid blurring your personal time with your professional hours? How do you keep motivated when there are so many distractions? How do you keep things strictly business when you haven’t even showered yet? We asked veteran work-from-home employees for tips so we can all navigate this period with as much professionalism as we could muster, in the comforts of our home. 

Look your best before going to work. Put a divider between you and your bed—that way, you won’t get distracted, and if clients or bosses ask to do video calls, they won’t see your bed. —RICA PALOMA ESPIRITU,writer

Always make sure to wear your work-from-home clothes. Don’t wear your pajamas to “work.” It messes up your brain and your routine. It is confusing to tell yourself you have to work but you’re dressed to sleep, or lounge. —WACKY MASBAD, freelance photographer 

Choose an area that’s conducive to work. It doesn’t have to be totally quiet, but the space must be conducive to phone calls to clients, with minimal noise in the background. If you have kids, make sure you have a system where they understand “NO INTERRUPTING” because mommy’s on a call, or you may schedule client calls during nap time. This goes for ‘physical’ clutter too. Make sure your work area only contains office—and not home—essentials. —KARLA GAE PASCUA BUELA, project coordinator.

 Wear earphones when working to mute the world around you. If you have back to back conference calls, give yourself 15 minute breaks in between. Being in Webex with the same people who don’t know how to mute or unmute themselves can drive you crazy. I find making a to-do list and summarizing it at the end of the day, not the start, effective because you readily have a list for the next day. That’s how you stay on routine. —KHRISTAL MAE, project manager

Some jobs can be accomplishment-oriented, not scheduled, so long as you get the task for the day done, you can deal with WFH setup in whatever way or time of day. Reward youself. —KARLO ANTONIO GALAY DAVID, writer 

Those of us who do this for real has a backup system: Noise cancelling headset, electric generator or large capacity power bank, backup Internet connection, an ergonomic chair, adjustable table, and soundproofed room. You can even add a snack table. —OMAR GARCIA, IT 

List down all your tasks, from high priority to low—that’s your schedule to follow.—RANIA ECHAVEZ, digital artist

Remind yourself you’re still working. Wear your company ID. —CARLO SANCHEZ, IT

Download Microsoft Teams. It’s a good communications tool for conference calls. —KATE MARGARET MEDINA, project manager

Use time blocking. For example, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. is just for checking emails. 9 to 11 a.m. is for producing content. And so on and so forth. Set three goals for the week plus list the three actions needed to achieve those goals. It’s really just integrity + discipline + a load of coffee. —JHAZZ CLARO, ads strategist

Lock your door. I was in a call with a client when my sister came in screaming at me. —ADCEL NARNIA, project manager 

Unless your job requires you to be online while working, go offline so you won’t be tempted to browse the Internet for useless stuff. —GERALD ALBACITE, QA editor 

Have a morning routine or you’ll feel lost. I try to follow a sequence diligently. My days usually become productive when I stick to a certain routine. If I don’t follow it, it messes up my entire day.—JAM ACOSTA, artist

I’ve been working from home for the past three years. A really good playlist amps up your brain, so make one (or two).—FRAN LABRADOR, website operations manager 

If you have kids below five years old, ask if you can do graveyard. Get them to bed by 8 pm and start work then. It’s hard to work with a four-year-old calling for you every two minutes. Identify the best work hours that truly work for you.—PAULENE JOTA, writer 

I’m a gamer, so I keep my gaming computer and work computer separate. If that’s not possible, make a list of checkpoints or landmarks of work done to reward yourself, with snacks or whatever.—RYAN PARMAN, LIS coordinator

Personalize the alert for emails, messages, etc for your boss so you know when its urgent and so can attend to it even when you are doing household chores.—JEN CHUA, HR 

Our company set up a group Skype so we are in touch all the time, and whenever we would be unreachable, we just update our status so that they will know that we are unavailable on those times, as well as signal that you are logged off and you’re done with work.—CES BATESTIL

If there are deadlines, use the Pomodoro Technique. Use a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length separated by short breaks. It is uninterrupted 25 minutes of no calls, no texts, nothing. You’ll be amazed by how much you accomplish.—JADE TEE, online entrepreneur 

Treat your FB time as your office chika time. Know when to stop and go back to work.—KRISTINE CRUZ CARINGAL, IT 

Set expectations with your boss. Tell them what your work hours are, as well as core hours. Core hours are time that you will have to be available, whether or not it is convenient for you, whether or not you’re cooking something in the kitchen. Know what to deliver, when to deliver it, and how you plan to communicate progress, issues, and milestones.—BOB CAL

Cook all your meals the night before and just reheat the next day.—GEMMA YBANEZ,  project manager

Still inject fun in your work. Share meals with colleagues, share your OOTDs for the day, and even have an E-numan session.—ANNE TIANGCO, PR practitioner