Issues and Challenges

Don’t Let Coronavirus Stop You!

Unexpectedly, the world has been hit by a strange force, leaving everyone scared and startled. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, people are largely feeling out of place, as no one really knows how to react or fight against the unknown. But one thing that is crucially needed right now, in order to stop the spread of coronavirus, is social distancing. Staying indoors, and minimising social interaction with people is unfortunately the new existing reality. With more than 16,000 cases in Pakistan, many work places, such as factories, private and government companies, including teaching institutions, have closed down their doors to contain the spread of the infection. And thus, for the foreseeable future, working from home has become a new reality for many workers. In these strange circumstances, anyone can feel lost and find it hard to stay active and concentrate while working from home. The important thing is to manage your time wisely and stay productive. Here are some useful tips, which can help you adjust with the quarantine routine. 

Start Your Day on Time
Even though you have an entire day to sit and work whenever you feel like it, starting your day early is necessary. Staying in pyjamas is what everyone wants when they are at home, but you need to dress up, take a shower, brush your hair and treat it like any other working day. Your morning habits are important as they set the tone for the rest of the day. Thus, the basic act of changing your clothes will help you feel active and ready to get things done on time.  
Give Yourself a Proper Work Place 
Working from home will tempt you to lie down on your bed or sofa with a laptop. However, try to find a corner, which can be turned into your workplace. Setting up a desk with a chair will help you separate your work from home life. Having a nice comfortable home office with your favourite office accessories will give you a sense of calm and ease. This will also assist you in keeping everything in order and maintain high level of productivity.   
Stay Well Connected with Your Colleagues
In such times, when you are unable to meet or socialise with your regular team mates and colleagues, it gets hard to get the work done right. As you try to do your job remotely, you can end up in a mess by not keeping a tab on your team. The key here is to stay connected with your manager and work partners. Today, we have many tech tools and online applications, which can help us stay connected  such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Therefore, don’t feel completely quarantined and start running short and fast meetings, and get your work done collaboratively throughout the day.  
Separate Home and Work mode  
Current circumstances have every member of the household to be locked up together. This means working mothers have double the work load to carry-out, from getting their work done to taking care of the family and doing everyday house chores. Juggling between a job and a family at the same time and place can be tough. Therefore, it is important to separate home and work mode. Give yourself fixed working hours, so that you don’t get distracted while doing your job. Also make your family understand that you are not to be disturbed during these hours. Good time management will allow you to give proper attention to work and presence in your home life.  
Give Yourself Short Breaks 
You are not always working at your office. You take time off to socialise with your colleagues, hangout during lunch breaks, even take a stroll to the restroom. This breaks down your day and makes you enjoy it. For that reason, remember to take short breaks while working from home. Make sure to have lunch on time, move around your home or go outside in the garden, and straighten up your legs. This will help you maintain your concentration level and keep you fresh the whole day. 
Avoid Getting Distracted and Stay Away from News Bulletins! 
Staying at home, you will be surrounded by many distractions. It will be natural to get enticed by interesting options other than your job or task at hand. But it is necessary to keep your focus and not let yourself get distracted. Moreover, you may hear about COVID-19 updates all the time. Don’t get too absorbed in every single news you hear as it can affect your concentration levels as well as make you anxious. Thus, avoid negative headlines and being too stressed out about each and everything.  
Go Easy on Yourself
No doubt, these are stressful times. Living through uncertainty, not being able to follow your everyday plans and getting stuck at home for an indefinite time period, you may feel restless and agitated. In such circumstances, you might not be able to complete your work on time. But then again, it is completely normal and acceptable. If your working pace has slowed down or keeping focus is troubling you, remember everyone is going through a difficult phase. Just try to stay happy and content. Take a day off, and enjoy doing what you love at home, spend time with your family, watch a movie, or even try out a new recipe. 
Stay Healthy and Positive  
Taking care of yourself is of immense importance. Staying at home can make you lazy, so don’t forget to take time out for your everyday exercise. Also, at home, avoid eating junk food and make use of this opportunity to eat home cooked food. Moreover, do not isolate yourself, stay connected with your friends and family, you are not alone in this. Staying healthy and positive will help you fight coronavirus as well as make it easy for you to switch to and out of work mode actively. HH

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*All figures are up-to-date at the time of publishing and are likely to have changed since. 

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