By Joey Lim

After a year of going through the Covid-19 pandemic and multiple versions of the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, we have experienced a plethora of changes to manage in our lives. A remote work environment was one of the first few things that many of us faced, where we were tasked to adapt to. For some of us, working from home only lasted a few months before going back to the officer. However, there are others who have been permanently working from home since March 2020.

Results from the KMPG HR Pulse Survey 2020 have shown that 30% of Malaysian companies will most likely continue working remotely over the next 12-24 months. 82% of survey respondents also came to a startling conclusion where they agree that it is likely for the workforce to continue working from home. With this new data in mind, it is more evident now than ever on the importance of balancing work and home life.

We know there are many families out there who still struggle to adjust to the new normal, as their children reach school going age. There are still schools who are divided between home-based learning and attending school physically. Attending to your children’s needs, whilst having to meet work deadlines and commitments is a challenge. We understand this and based on our experiences, have compiled 4 simple steps to master the art of working from home:

  1. Create a new daily schedule or routine

You may think you’ve got your work-from-home routine down pat after a year but having your children learning from home may have already thrown a spanner in the works. Reduce the chaos by creating and sticking to a daily schedule for yourself and kids. Allocate time for each task, like important calls, deadlines, and also for your children’s schooling needs, such as online classes, or having the send and pick them up from school in the daytime.

  1. Carve out your own space at home

With everyone staying home, it’s easy to step on one another’s toes. Focusing is tough when you can hear your children’s lessons blaring, while your spouse talks on the phone or is in and out of virtual meetings. Carve out your own space at home, whether in your bedroom, kitchen or dining table. Set clear boundaries with your kids so they know not to disturb when you’re on a conference call.

  1. Be honest and open with your colleagues

After all, everyone’s household is different, and we should be sensitive to these variances. Being open about your home situation takes the pressure off trying to maintain a ‘perfect’ professional image. Let your colleagues know when you may need to step away to help with your kids’ e-learning or when you need to leave the house to pick them up from school, and don’t sweat over your children playing in the background. All of these are a welcomed addition and add a personal dimension to working from home.

  1. Rely on a good collaboration tool to stay productive while working from home

With the added responsibilities at home, you may feel overwhelmed or get easily distracted. Choose the right collaboration tool to keep you organised, on task and productive!

Don’t forget to stay connected and engaged with your colleagues too! Working from home for long periods of time can feel isolating, so check in with your team members and be open about any issues you’re facing.

We understand that juggling work commitments and family responsibilities can be tricky. As a mother of three young kids, I find that building a strong support group both at work and at home really helps!

Joey Lim is the VP of Commercial, Asia at Lark.


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