COVID-19 crisis is being faced across the globe and a lot of companies around the world are implementing the “working from home” concept. I had the opportunity to work from home for 2-weeks and here are my thoughts and experiences on this remote working concept which is considered as something unfamiliar in Cambodia.
Surprisingly, working from home is a good deal to me. It certainly saved me 45 minutes of daily commuting and it meant I could get a little more sleep, still wake up on time and start sending some emails, make some phone calls and still make it to my desk before 9AM.
I started off my morning with the same schedule as my office work and that is with a fresh coffee. At the same time, it is also like a buffer time after I wake up mentally takes me from my home life to my work life and tells my brain like “hello, we are entering office time now!”
Next, is creating my working space! Spaces affect your mentality so much and especially when working from home, it is crucial to simulate that separate office space, definitely not your bed! I don’t have a working table at home so I have converted my dinner table into a home office for 2 weeks! It fits perfectly with a comfortable chair, sunlight from the window and most importantly the high speed internet connection.
To do lists is the main way that I structure my work schedule either working from home or from the office. I always have my “plan of the day” written down on my notebook. It is always essential to set a schedule of the day and keep track of daily tasks. I work pretty much all day as if I was in the office.
In the first few days, I felt a little quiet, there was no noise, completely at ease! But then as the days went by, I started missing those jokes, like having people working around you, working on similar tasks and you cannot really simulate that through a team video call. It started to make me think that being present and having presence are completely different things.
Working from home can be a little lonely and depressing in my opinion and usually that could lead to a long break during working hours. One of the biggest struggles working from home is avoiding distraction, especially when you don’t have a boss to keep you on track. One of the tips that I found during my 2 weeks work from home is to do a productive break. For me, that means taking breaks or doing something physical rather than doing something mental. For example, like cleaning up some spaces in my house for a few minutes or making myself some more coffee. Since I am stuck in one place,I tried my best to do small activities throughout the day. Switching tasks and away from the laptop helps me gain more productivity and motivation to finish my tasks just as I was working at the office.
The increasing use of smartphone, laptops means employees have more freedom to work remotely and flexibly. I was lucky enough to receive a working laptop from my office right before the outbreak so I could easily request work from home. Besides official email, we are using a few other software for work communication and shared documents such as Microsoft teams and Whatsapp.
There’s a bit of a challenge for efficient communication when working from home since all of the meetings were done through phone calls and video conferences. Furthermore, people at different places have different speeds of internet connection which could lead to a 5 minutes pause or slow down the entire meeting. What I did during my work from home period is “over communication” with my colleagues. If the matter is urgent, I usually do redundancy in communication. I did a lot of follow up just to make sure we are on the same page.
Overall, I think it was a good experience to be able to explain or present all the works through a screen. This virtual team allows people to work separately, access from different places and still be able to maintain the work flow nicely. What’s important through my observation is that you should try to communicate as much as you can with your team, respond to them kindly or typing with the same tone as how you would talk, I think that is the success of the remote working culture.
Nevertheless, everyone’s situation in terms of home environment, habits or personality is different. This is just my experience and I really enjoy working from home for the past two weeks! I actually wish to have that two or three days per week because I feel like I have more control over my day to day and I can have a more work-life balance. It seems like working from home is the new reality and it is probably going to be here for a while so I think we all need to get this opportunity and learn on how to make it work better.
Blog written by:
Ms. Vann Chansopheakvatey
Fourth Awardee of Blog Contest on ICT to study and work from home in times of COVID-19
Ms. Vatey is a Marketing Executive, Hongkong Land Limited.