How to be an effective remote worker during the Coronavirus

Posted by Prospect‘s Asia Pacific Team

It feels like every employee has been asking their employer for more flexible work arrangements and the chance to work from home. The Coronavirus is a key concern to us all and many firms in Hong Kong and China are implementing remote working / work from home policies. As such, whether we like it or not, our working arrangements over the next few weeks will likely be from our homes.

Many of us, in Hong Kong and China, live in relatively small accommodation which will present challenging conditions; particularly if children are also at home due to the school closures.

So how can we all work as effectively as possible at home?

  1. Treat each day as a normal work-day. Set the alarm for your usual waking time: you will get more things done as you are not wasting time commuting. Maybe crank in some exercise or additional reading to help your Work Life Balance and wellness before you commence your work-day.
  2. Dress as if you are heading out to work. No one wants to see you in your PJ’s should you have an impromptu zoom video meeting!
  3. Think about using noise cancelling headphones to limit other home distractions and keep you focussed.
  4. Create a working space at your home- try to have a dedicated area that is your work zone which is quiet and has limited distractions. If you have children, and they are at home all day, explain to them that this is your workplace. Establish boundaries and rules to minimise disruption.
  5. Keep your work and personal time separate- this will help you remain productive during the core working hours and reduce stress when you aren’t ‘at work’.
  6. Plan regular breaks as you would if you were in the office. Take the time to leave your screen and do something else.
  7. Still commit to meetings with clients, partners and colleagues as these can be via zoom, skype or google hangouts. Using technology wisely will allow you to keep up momentum and move projects forward.
  8. Have WhatsApp video calls with colleagues to catch up and feel as if you are working together. A career in PR/Communications is focussed around teamwork and brainstorming ideas. You can still do this by using technology effectively. Even if you all eat lunch over zoom will make you feel part of your team.
  9. Use project management tools such as Trello so everyone is up to date with current projects and can see online how they are moving forward.
  10. Over- Communicate! After all we work in the world of communications so remember to communicate verbally and in writing during your working day to feel connected with your team and check in with your boss. Without face-to-face access communication often flags, creating inefficiencies or, worse, loneliness and disengagement so make sure you over communicate to keep on track.