Work from Home Amidst COVID-19: Embracing the New Normal

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I got it. Curtailing your freedom in a snap can be frustrating. But have you ever weighed things over and saw the bigger picture of life’s unfavorable circumstances? Yes, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is lethal. While it is a blessing in disguise for some, some find it very challenging.

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The views, opinions, and tips expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the Innodata employees. I am not an expert. My purpose in writing is to share my story and hope to be, somehow, helpful and inspirational to some, if not all.  

For me, having been working from home since the outbreak is a blessing. I could never be grateful enough for the opportunities our company (Innodata) has provided us. Here’s why:

First off, I would like to confess that this so-called “new normal” – work from home (WFH) – isn’t actually new to me. I was sent home for work twice under my previous project/department. I have been into this work culture for years as well. The difference is that I will be doing it full-time now hence, there are still some adjustments.

Before the Pandemic

Early March of 2020, I started hearing the possibilities of sending employees home for work due to the worldwide threat of the viral infection. Before long I’m one among the first batch of Innodatans for the WFH setup. Others follow after days and weeks until everyone is now at home to work as we are under quarantine.

During the Pandemic

Despite being at home 24/7, there are key challenges most, if not all, of us encounter. Slow to intermittent and lost internet connection, disconnections to remote access, boredom, lack of energy and drive, work-life balance, etc. Surviving WFH difficulties is not rocket science but you can do something to get things better.

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Managing WFH Issues

Here are my top WFH challenges and how I manage them to stay healthy, productive, and sane while adjusting to the age of coronavirus.

Lazy Mornings

My regular shift starts at 6 am so I need to get up at least 40 minutes ahead. The bed is so tempting that I usually take extra time to sleep and delay my alarm since I need not prepare much as my desk is just a step away. But days pass and the time becomes narrower.

A stricter wake-up call is a must. So, I set my alarm not just ones but thrice – 5 minutes interval every time. I motivate myself to wake up early, pray for a brand-new day, make my bed, and do some morning stretches.

I opted to get started early to have a lot done at my desk and inside my room before sundown. Also, this is a favorable time to get the most of fast internet and have a fresh mental state.

Intermittent Internet Connection

Everyone faces this struggle maybe because of the bulk of users using the internet since the outbreak. I’m patient enough but there are times when “Ctrl + Alt + Del” is an easy-peasy option. Trying to find solutions but sometimes the universe seems against me. This isn’t and never be good.

What I’m doing? I tried some sitting and/or in place stretches and exercises while waiting for the reconnection. When the systems department, top management or anyone concern for the technical and other work-related issues is unavailable, I try to figure them out. Some are manageable but some are really out of my control.

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fruit shakes, my saving grace

Relax. Have some refreshments if you can. Take some time to compose yourself so you will have a clear thought. Just a warning. This is no easy especially when the due date, productivity, and quality of your work are at stake. Still, I’m dealing with it.

Defining Boundaries

There are instances when house chores, social media, and other stuff become overwhelming. Great adjustment is critical in the first three weeks of the new work setting. Work-Life balance is quite alarming. When you are too busy at work or on social media, you tend to compromise one from the other. A balance on things is significant.

Organization is the name of the game. I need a timetable and vowed to follow it religiously. My daily routine was established with my list of Dos and Don’ts. Ideally, it is great for a healthy life while on quarantine. I make sure that my day-to-day lifestyle includes work, exercise, right diet, and social life. Following the schedule properly is difficult. Struggling but striving to do my best.

Consequently, time management is a real deal. Aside from listing my To-Dos and Not-To-Dos, I set time to fit in everything accordingly. I schedule a time to eat, work, rest, have physical activities, do grocery, and check social media.

Social Media Influence

When we are working at the office, accessing social media and any other websites is limited or even restricted. However, the probability of checking Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, etc. is highly likely at home.

Do you have that habit of always checking your phone? I’m guilty as charged. Most of the time it’s already wee hours and my eyes are still on the screen. Very unhealthy and I only gained eyebags when I woke up.

As I’ve said, I tried and I’m still trying to set things in order. It is arduous so I resort to diverting my attention to more relevant stuff instead. It’s better to talk to our family and friends than always checking our phone’s notifications. Schedule time to check the phone than looking at it the whole time.

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Lack of Energy

The pandemic fears almost everyone which can cause lethargy. News and articles heard and read may also be the triggers of panic. This may result to weakness in no time.

Remember, we need to boost our immune system. One thing to achieve this is to improve our energy. Make time for your fitness and indoor sports. A few steps inside the house or some stretching while standing or sitting between work would be great. Doing 5-10 minutes of daily exercise would not hurt.

Self-care

Balancing work and life at home can be stressful. Too many tasks to complete can sometimes jeopardize our health, my eating schedule per se. Later I realized that I haven’t eaten anything yet until I felt dizzy and have headache.

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steaming while cooking rice below

Do not let work compromise your health. Avoid burn out as much as you can. I usually prepare breakfast ahead with overnight oats so I can just grab it and eat while working. Quick morning meals are also great like toast, sandwich, egg, and hotdog. Most of the time, I cook my go-to-food after work hours.

Note: Be careful with your food near your workstation. The 5s principle should still be observed.

My usual morning meals:

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Have breaks, exercise, phone your family (if you’re away from them) or friend, get a hobby, sleep properly, keep hydrated, stay healthy, and anything else. Do whatever works for you to stay fit and mentally well.

Boredom

Normally, my weekends are spent outdoors with friends and/or co-workers. It pains me a bit to cancel scheduled travels and adventures but safety remains my top priority. I’ll be missing nature for some time. On the other hand, I am glad that mother nature is healing itself. The irony of isolation is at stake.

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The good news is: We can break through boredom at home. We all are on the same page. Be it self-love regimen, new things to learn, workouts, or goals to hit – we all have been setting up our routines. I find interest in writing, solving puzzles, cooking, and watching movies and series. This pandemic unleashes my delayed hobbies and skills.

Some of my tummy-yummy creations:

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In this Age of COVID-19, functioning from the comfort of our home does not have to be a hassle. Find joy while being productive through proper planning, organization, and implementation. Turn those negatives into positives.  We are even lucky enough to keep our jobs while others are left with nothing. Let’s be thankful and pray to keep us all safe.

This too shall pass.

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excuse my hair 😉

How about you? What’s your WFH story?

2 thoughts on “Work from Home Amidst COVID-19: Embracing the New Normal

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