Complex Made Simple

5 unconventional, yet effective, ways to stay productive when working remotely

Avoiding burnout and staying motivated when working from home is tough, not when you have kids screaming, bosses fuming, and you burning the midnight oil, scrambling to get everything done. Stop the madness. Here's what you need to do

One-third of Gulf-based employers are planning to have staff work from home Everyone needs to respect your space during working hours The typical knowledge worker is only productive three hours every day, on average

Think working from home (WFH) is a COVID-19 thingy that will go away once a vaccine is found? 

Around 200 million Chinese people started working from home last February alone, according to a McKinsey estimate. Facebook, Google and Twitter’s employees can now do so indefinitely. Zoom Video Communications’ market value more than tripled this year to $70 billion. 

One-third of Gulf-based employers are planning to have staff work from home, according to a survey conducted by the Middle East employment portal, GulfTalent. Firms in Bahrain reported the highest rate of remote work plans at 38%, with the UAE and Kuwait at 37%, and Saudi at 30%.

This train is picking up speed and passengers. The bandwagon effect is on.

But WFH is no joke. 

Read: Study on WFH: Employees More Productive Than Ever, Reveal the Pros/Cons of New Normal

Burnout up in smoke 

When working from home, you can get hacked, sidetracked and sacked for a variety of reasons that you need to stay vigilant about to save your job.

But here we discuss ways to avoid suffering from a seriously debilitating effect that many WFH employees report experiencing: Burnout!

And we’ve heard it all: Take time off, have a walk, exercise, or do yoga. And all of these are great, but seriously, when it comes down to it, you’ll need to do these:    

1- Sprinkle “No Trespassing” signs

Your company pays you money. You don’t need more company at home to drive you off the wall and cause permanent income loss. Hang all the signs you can get your hands on to keep kids, parents and siblings on a short leash and inquisitive neighbors off your lawn or porch. Use every trick in the book: “Beware! Angry Doberman on watch! Do not ‘ever’ disturb! Trespass and I will sue!” Everyone needs to respect your space during working hours, or suffer dire consequences.  

2- Work as little as possible 

What 9-5? Remember, you’re at home and unless the boss has spyware on your desktop with a window on your personal life, habits and secrets, you decide what hours you work. According to some estimates, the typical knowledge worker is only productive three hours every day, on average. If you can be productive for 3 hours instead of 8, then by all means use those hours to better advantage. And take the rest of the day off. Maybe get up at 3 am and be done at 6am or 7am. Answer emails lying on the beach or working out at the gym. Mobiles are made for people on the go like you.

3- Digitize yourself

If you’re going to do your job online, and be part of a virtual office, why not go digital all the way. Be one with the ether. Use the best video conferencing and collaboration tools. Join a forum for employees to share personal as well as professional updates. Engage in virtual team activities like online quizzes. Be part of every virtual coffee and water-cooler break and dish out binary jokes to lighten the mood. Merge completely with the trend and emerge a winner in the end. 

Read WFH: When was the last time you called in sick?

4- Play games  

70 % of Forbes’ Global 2000 companies will use gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues. Those organizations are not dummies. Playing is human nature. Don’t just play. Earn points for helping teammates beat the competition and win employee perks like discounts on various brands, gift cards, and gym subscription plans. The only thing left to say is: “Game on! When do I start work?” 

5- Make yourself heard (but watch out for the cops)

Try those vocal chords that former co-workers made fun of at your pre-COVID-19 office. Let out frustrations by singing out loud, in short bursts, so as not to draw the ire of neighbors who could call the cops and ruin all the fun. If you have such an atrocious voice that you can’t even hear yourself sing, then turn the music on to reset that mood (use the same precautions). Better yet, play the guitar, drums, the piano or any musical instrument and prove you have the talent to survive though you’re unlikely to star on the X-Factor (again, same precautions). Start and end your working day on a “high note”.