By: Omar Abdul-Hafiz
In a time of social distancing amid the current spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are three major aspects to think about as far as working from home is concerned: Staying healthy, staying productive, and maintaining your cybersecurity.
Let's take a look at each one of them in some detail.
In working from home, as in virtually every other endeavour you take on in your life, you have to take care of number one first, yourself. Unless you keep your body healthy, illness-free, and comfortable, any further discussion of how to be productive at work is futile. For that reason, staying healthy is undisputedly your top priority regardless of anything else.
And when it comes to staying healthy, there are a few simple tips to consider:
Follow the doctors’ advice
Especially within the current global situation with the global coronavirus outbreak, it is best to abide by the instructions announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) including:
Wash your hand frequently and thoroughly for 20-40 seconds.
Maintain social distancing: Keep at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice respiratory hygiene; always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Should you experience any difficulty in breathing or coughing, seek medical care immediately.
- Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider.
Working from home can easily entice your appetite, thus leading to weight gain. For this reason, you need to make sure to balance your meals and keep aware of what you eat and how often.
- Perhaps a good idea would be to keep a bowl of fruits and veggies close by so you can have a healthy snack once in a while.
- Think wisely about how much carbs and fats you eat during the day, especially when it comes to eating sweets or candy.
- Always remember to drink enough water.
Move and exercise often
It’s very important when working from home to remember to get off your desk once in a while to move around now and then. Perhaps you might want to go wash your hands and face to freshen up. Or, you could simply take a look out the window which would also be a useful relief exercise for your eyes, for example.
Speaking of exercise, there are quite a lot of excellent activities that you can do. Take a look at this interesting list of exercises, for example, and try to practice as many of them as you can.
Keeping a productive pace working from home might be quite a challenge for many of us. One can easily get distracted by all the noise and ruckus, especially those of us who have children for instance. For that reason, it’s essential to keep focused on accomplishing your daily tasks.
Find a suitable work location
Try to choose a place in your home that is as far from the noise and distractions as possible. Also, make sure there are adequate lighting and ventilation around you. Finally, try to choose a seat that is comfortable for you since that is where you will be sitting for most of your day.
Despite the challenge of keeping focused while working from home, given adequate planning, everything should go pretty smoothly. Perhaps you can start your workday by quickly jotting down your schedule for the day including the tasks you want to complete with short break intervals in between.
The next step after that is to force yourself to be as faithful to this plan as possible. With a little bit of focus, chances are you won’t face any issues accomplishing your tasks with ease.
Communicate with your coworkers
It’s very important while working remotely to not lose touch with your manager and teammates. Keep your Skype or some other video/audio/text conferencing software open all the time and do not hesitate to reach out to them about issues, concerns, or suggestions about a certain task or project, and so on.
Maintaining your cybersecurity
No less important than maintaining your health and fitness working from home is also ensuring your cybersecurity. Especially when working with some of your employer’s highly valuable and confidential documents, making sure that they stay safe and secure cannot be emphasized enough. And in this regard, there are a few tips that you can follow to help you maintain cybersecurity.
Ensure a secure Wi-Fi connection
Make sure your home Wi-Fi is protected with strong encryption such as WPA or WPA2, and relatively sophisticated password that’s hard to guess.
Set-up a powerful anti-virus software
Protecting yourself and loved ones from the coronavirus should go hand-in-hand with protecting your computer and the data stored on it from harmful viruses and other malware. To do that, make sure to install powerful anti-virus software and perform virus scanning regularly to ensure your device stays clean and virus-free all the time.
Use a VPN connection
In many companies, a VPN connection is necessary and provided by the IT staff to employees who are working remotely to ensure they have access to the company’s intranet facilities. The VPN connection, however, does more than just that.
Other than giving you access to your company’s intranet, it also encrypts and scrambles your data to give you an extra layer of protection against hackers and sniffers. For that reason, setting up a VPN connection can prove quite useful for keeping your data safe and secure.
Reach out to your IT staff when in need
As part of keeping in touch with your coworkers, you should also keep in touch with your company’s IT personnel whenever you face a technical issue of some sort. For them to help you, however, they might ask you to install a remote access software such as TeamViewer® so they can access your computer remotely and sort things out for you.
In the end, following these simple tips should help make working from home a fun and productive endeavour for you. Just remember: stay safe, work safely.