Singapore went into a “circuit breaker” mode on Tuesday, 7 April in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19 has infected over a thousand people and killed six people. The circuit breaker dictates that there should be no dining out, and all schools, places of religious worship and non-essential businesses and facilities should either move online or be closed. The work from home regulations are very strict and there are severe consequences for firms that breach such regulations. Many Singaporeans are working from home as a result and we have come up with these tips to help you maximise productivity while you Work from Home.1. Have a Plan
As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. When you wake up every morning, you should set your targets for the day and record it somewhere such as Google Calendar. Other productivity tools such as ZenDesk, Trello and more can be used as well to manage the productivity of an entire team.
By setting clear goals and having a plan, one would be more motivated to complete tasks in a timely manner. If the task was not completed on time, one should not discard the entire plan, but rework a new schedule and give yourself a more reasonable timeline. Your team members should be informed of the plan as well and be aware of how their deliverables will affect yours.
It does not take a long time to plan everyday, and we suggest to set aside at least half an hour daily in the morning to look at your schedule and plan the tasks that need to be done. You may use the time spent on travelling to work to make a better plan. A weekly group planning session would be useful as well for teams that are highly interconnected and reliant on teamwork.
2. Get to know your remote working productivity tools
There are many remote working productivity tools. These include email, video conferencing software, planning tools, accounting software, chatting software and more. Finaxar also offers an online platform where our clients can request for a drawdown remotely. Remote working software helps us to stay connected and if used in an appropriate manner, can increase productivity to a great extent.
Do take some time to explore the more popular tools in the market now, such as Zoom for conference calls, Salesforce for sales needs, Slack or Telegram for communications, Xero for accounting needs, and offerings from Google that ensure group productivity and connectivity, such as Gmail and Google Hangouts.
One should know the differences between the different communication channels. For example, urgent matters should be done via phone, and one can send a follow up email to ensure accountability. Urgent matters should not be handled via email as it is slower than phone calls. On the contrary, non-urgent matters that involve a lot of details should be done by email, which is an excellent tool to record and communicate details. A follow up via phone or a chatting app would be ideal to ensure the receiving party understands the contents of your email.
With many different applications being used at the same time, one needs to prioritise which is the most important, and turn off notifications from the less important applications to prevent overwhelming yourself with too many notifications from different applications.
3. Ensure your physical environment is free from distractions
While working from home, it is important to ensure that your physical environment is free from distractions. For example, parents should keep their children in a separate space while working and ensure that there is a caretaker with them. The cleanliness and tidiness of your workstation matters as well, and you should only keep things that are necessary for your productivity. We think it is a great opportunity to clean up your living environment, and a clean house is important in preventing illness as well. In addition, if you live in a noisy environment, you may choose to listen to calming music on a pair of noise-blocking earphones.
One should also not work while lying on the bed, and instead, use a suitable table and chair and work in a proper posture. Your workstation at home should be equipped with everything you need, such as monitors, video cameras, a good keyboard and mouse set, good WiFi connectivity etc. If not, it would be a worthwhile investment to spruce up your workstation at home, as the Circuit breaker is expected to last for a month and it is possible that it will be extended.
4. Dress comfortably
We have come across some articles suggesting that people dress in formal attire while working from home to ensure that they are in a mood for work, but we beg to differ. A benefit of working at home is that you get to wear comfortable clothes, and you should. Comfortable clothes enable you to breathe comfortably and sit comfortably and this enables you to focus. You may choose to wear light clothing to circumvent the blazing heat and turn off the air conditioning if you already feel cool enough. This has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly.
A set of clean, light and soft clothing can help you to feel comfortable and relax your body, enabling you to focus on what is important- your productivity.
All in all, it is important to ensure productivity during work from home, to keep companies going and keep the economy running even during this circuit breaker. Working from home helps you to reduce the time spent on travelling and be more productive- if you have the discipline and will to make it work. It is crucial that we stay at home as much as possible to prevent further spread of Covid-19, and we hope that these tips will be useful for you and your company.
Finaxar offers short term business loans to help small businesses deal with cash flow gaps. Our products include Finaxar Credit Line, Receivables Financing and Purchase Financing availing up to S$1 Million for SMEs, subject to credit assessment.