Bangkok Post

ADAPTING TO THE NEW WORLD

- Yvonne Bohwongpra­sert is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Ihave never been a fan of working from home. As Thailand tackles the Covid-19 outbreak, I find myself among many thousands in the city grappling with the fact that I need to work from home for a certain period of time.

I once had a desktop and laptop, both of which I gave away, because I preferred to work outside on just my Samsung tablet and keyboard. Light and easy to carry to a coffee shop, my regular haunt to make my deadlines if I could not make it to the office.

Being at home, for me, means not having to think about work. Maybe the occasional phone interview with a news source, or brainstorm­ing for story ideas while watching the news, was all I allowed to interfere with my home life.

Setting aside a place in my humble abode to use as a workstatio­n was a vague idea I had a very long time ago. It never panned out, largely because I convinced myself that I had other options when it came to picking a place to complete my weekly assignment­s.

Well, long story short: the Covid-19 pandemic has among other things rattled my comfort zone.

Looking on the bright side of things, I believe the forced-to-adapt predicamen­t I am in today can actually be good for me. Apart from the fact of social distancing, it is teaching me self-discipline.

I am a creature of habit. I need to have people around me to concentrat­e. When I attempted to work at home years ago, I found myself distracted to the point that I could not get any work done. I needed to get out of the house to become productive.

Well, this mindset has definitely changed, given the record number of people who have contracted Covid-19, and the many more who could if we don’t practise social distancing.

I am determined to make this happen. Self-discipline and a positive attitude have got me off to a good start. My workstatio­n, while simple, is a cosy spot in my condo where I can gather my thoughts and ideas. Given that where there is a will there is a way, I hope that my new working environmen­t will not interfere with the quality of the stories I pen.

Time-management is another area I am working on to improve the standard of my productivi­ty while working at home. Mind you, this is tough for me, as a person susceptibl­e to the slightest distractio­n. A Netflix email reminding me to continue watching my favourite television series can easily become a barrier to the goals I set for the day.

Working from home will surely entail learning to balance work and life in a manner most of us are not familiar with. My hope is that through this journey we will all learn a little more about how to become a better version of ourselves. Maybe start by learning to enjoy your own company more, become self-reliant and develop an inner strength to see the silver lining in times of trial.

While we all prepare to work from home to curb the spread of Covid-19, I cannot help think whether this could spark a revolution in working from home. And just how we can make it work.

For one, experts tell us that companies can increase the success of working from home if they have consistent communicat­ion via video-conferenci­ng, which can help ensure that tasks are co-ordinated, informatio­n is transferre­d, and, most importantl­y, social and profession­al isolation are reduced.

Two areas to focus on while addressing issues that might arise due to this are, one, letting go of traditiona­l ideas of how to manage and concentrat­ing on output that will be required, and, two, being sensitive to the challenges employees face working from home with children to nurture and online schooling to incorporat­e.

One of the most pivotal suggestion­s offered was for employees to establish boundaries between work and home life. Being able to switch off at the end of the day is crucial for both physical and mental health indeed!

With no clear end in sight to Covid19, it is a win-win situation if employees and employers can get the balance right and enjoy the benefits of wellplanne­d telework.

Could this outbreak in fact prove to be the tipping point for remote work arrangemen­ts to actually become the norm? We will soon know.

I am a creature of habit. I need to have people around me to concentrat­e

 ??  ?? Yvonne Bohwongpra­sert
Yvonne Bohwongpra­sert

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