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Mastering Remote Work

With flexible working becoming the norm for many Hong Kong companies due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, more and more people are experiencing its benefits (goodbye, commute!) – but also the various challenges that come with working from home. If you’re new to remote work, fret not! We are here to make agile working work for you.

When your kids are home…

Every work-at-home parent can relate to this: you need to work but your kids are also home. The up side is you get extra bonding opportunities – by eating lunch together or playing with them during breaks; but for the rest of the time, you may feel your family and work responsibilities are fighting for your attention. Stressful, we know, but the good news is, you can train your kids to establish a routine, which is essential for developing good habits and a sense of organisation. It also sets expectations to hopefully prevent any tantrums from brewing. When creating a daily schedule for your little ones, consider splitting the day into smaller sessions that cover school work, playtime and hobbies. Make sure to get them involved in the planning, too – they’ll feel more motivated to stick to it when they’re given autonomy.

When work takes over your personal life…

It’s easy to blur the line between work and personal lives when your office is right at home, so create boundaries to safeguard your space and time. A physical boundary can be in the form of a dedicated workstation. Not only does it signal you to mentally shift gears between work and home, it also serves as a visible cue for your family – when you’re there, it means you’re at work and unavailable. Another trick is to plan your day thoughtfully. While it’s tempting to squeeze in an extra hour of sleep, turn your saved commute time into me-time – meditate, do yoga, or simply enjoy a cuppa to wake yourself up with a new morning routine. Then go about the day just as you would in the office, which means working, taking breaks, having lunch and finishing work at the same time as usual.

When you feel suffocated…

You aren’t alone if you feel stir crazy and maybe even a little down after staying indoors for a long time. In fact, it’s your body’s natural reaction to decreased sun exposure, which is responsible for triggering the release of serotonin, the mood-regulating hormone that helps us feel calm, happy and focused. Another factor that affects serotonin levels is the amount of oxygen you inhale. So, keep your windows open and draw back your curtains to let fresh air and natural sunlight in. If possible, set up your workstation by the windows and move a few plants near so you soak in as much sun (and “nature”) as you can. Finally, being sedentary can also cause low energy levels, so why not try these easy workouts recommended by Mind HK to stay active even at home?

When you feel disconnected from your team…

There’s a simple solution to this common challenge faced by remote teams: make small talk. Human connection happens when we pay attention to one another on a personal level. Think about the water cooler chats in the pantry – this type of exchanges takes place naturally in the office. While working from home reduces face-to-face interactions, it doesn’t mean you can’t create these moments of connection; it just takes a little more awareness to initiate casual conversations. So whether it’s via text messages or as part of your team catch-up calls, make sure you don’t just talk about work, but also show interest in your teammates’ lives.

When your team needs a pick-me-up…

Normally if you notice a colleague is feeling low, you might give them a hug – impossible with remote working. That’s not to say you can’t cheer them up from a distance, though. Besides offering verbal support and talking directly to them about issues they’re struggling with, give them something positive to look forward to. For example, make plans for a fun team outing for when you can meet again. Or, if some of your co-workers are in the office, surprise them with delicious treats delivered to the workplace. Bonus points for adding a personal message to raise everyone’s spirit.

Having a separate, relaxing space at home can help you wind down after work – try these tips to create your own!
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