Five Great Tips for Expatriates & Global Citizens Working from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, big companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and many companies in between have rolled out a mandatory work from home policy all over the world. In a joint effort to flatten the curve, governments around the world are urging people to self-isolate and stay at home.
With schools and non-essential stores temporarily closing down to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, parents are taking up homeschooling tasks. Work, classes, and support networks reduced to Zoom meetings and Face time, and there’s no way of escaping to a co-working space of coffee shops to get your work done. With so many things to juggle and struggle with, we’ve come up with five easy tips to work from home for expats. For digital nomads, it is work-life as usual as they are used to working remotely for their clients and employers.
1. Set up a proper workspace
First and foremost, having a designated area to work will help you concentrate, and you can avoid the intrusion of family members and vice versa. Equipping your workspace with double monitors, wireless keyboard, and mouse will create a conducive place to work. Check emails, voicemails, and texts are your specific work area so that you’re not doing it in front of the TV or kitchen table. Make your workspace a stress free zone where you can concentrate and work in peace. It’s easy if you have a separate room, but if you don’t, find an area with minimum footsteps or off the main area.
Establish boundaries at your work station, so you’re not tempted to do house chores or have your mind wander. This tip increases your productivity during your work hours. You can complete your unfinished work tasks outside of work hours.
2. Treat it like a real job
Another work from the home tip is to treat it as an actual job. It will help you get into the right mind frame. Instead of lounging around in your pajamas, wake up earlier, take a shower, and get dressed. You don’t have to wear a suit or dress, but something a little more formal than your underwear is a start. Do exactly as you would when you’re going to work. Don’t have breakfast while working as you will start adopting the habit of snacking at your workspace. Additionally, you now have the time to squeeze in some mini workout and healthy breakfast before work.
Plus, you don’t have to “rush to work” and feed on anxiety. On the other hand, it is also essential to take sufficient breaks. Take a quick walk, look outside your window, and breathe in some fresh air. Do what you can to keep your mind active.
3. Crank up the communication
Now that you’re more isolated, opt for video calls instead of audio calls for meetings. It will also help you look more presentable and take it more seriously. Telecommunication devices like Zoom and Slack are widely used by employers to keep in touch with their employees. Global citizens, global nomads who work remotely usually use these telecommunication devices to get their work done.
There are several ways to keep your team engaged and curb the feeling of isolation. Use video calls to have team lunch and ‘bring your kids to work’ day. It will help you get to know your colleagues better and have a productive workday. If you’re feeling lonely, set up a support group of friends and colleagues who are also working from home. Also, remember that you will want to get the fastest internet that is available in your region.
4. Keep personal intrusions at bay
When you’re working from home, it’s easier to get distracted. We’re much more likely to check up on our phones or play games while working since there’s no one to check on us. Additionally, we might also have friends and family members dropping in at home. All these factors can reduce your work from home productivity, causing you to procrastinate or get behind on a deadline.
To prevent this, inform others that you require your privacy and concentration during work hours. We should also create water-tight boundaries with social media and be disciplined when working.
5. Remember to plug out
After all the typing, clicking, client calls, and team meetings put away your electronic devices and work tools. It’s too easy to keep working throughout the day and not unwind. Learning to keep work-related stuff out of sight, helps you relax and recharge your batteries. Do not go back to watching TV or scroll through your phone. Instead, go for a walk, do some gardening, play with your kids in your backyard.
Research shows that spending time in nature reduces stress, helps you clear your mind and relax. Enjoy other areas of your home – read a book, cook a fun meal, enjoy a movie. FaceTime, Skype, and chat with your friends and family. Get connected to the people you care about.
Some Final Thoughts for Global Citizens Working From Home
Remember that when you are working abroad and especially if you are working from home as a global citizen, don’t forget to take care of your health and wellbeing. That includes some exercise and keeping some work/life balance. Finally, it is important that you make sure you are well protected by some high-quality global health insurance. This is especially true today with the rise of COVID-19.