This is week 12 for me to be working from home (WFH) since the outbreak. Having the flexibility to WFH occasionally is a good company perk, but having to WFH for a sustained period of time is a completely different thing. The past few months have taught me two key things:
- The importance of creating a new WFH routine, to help me stay productive while setting clear boundaries between work and life.
- Humans are social by nature. Even for an introvert like me, we need personal interactions and the same applies for our work community where we need to ensure everyone feels connected.
In a typical day, I can have up to six hour-long back-to-back meetings. I remember during the first two weeks at home, I would easily lose track of time, and wouldn’t eat anything until 4 pm, and be emailing/chatting till 10 or 11 pm. This is when I realised the need to have a routine and be really disciplined about it.
So now, I get dressed properly every morning as if I’m going to the office, no more pyjamas. I carve out time in the calendar to take breaks to stretch, to cook and to eat lunch—and absolutely no work during those breaks. I turn off my laptop at around 7 pm, and I call out loud, “I’m off now”, as a ritual to signal that it’s no longer office hours. This helps train the brain to learn the boundary of work/life in order to stay productive without burning myself out.
On the other hand, I have also found that being connected to my fellow workers is equally important to keep my spirits high. In the last few months, I have had multiple virtual lunches and dinners with different people and groups within the company, some of whom I didn’t even know that well before. We have played virtual card games and even exercised together.
While we practice social distancing, this is also a time where we feel as connected as ever. At Facebook, we have virtual activities for us to stay socially engaged, and people have been posting their tips on staying inspired during these challenging times on Workplace, the platform we use to connect internally. To me, these extraordinary circumstances have really shown how technology can enable remote presence. I used to turn to Workplace for business updates and knowledge sharing but now, I also enjoy the community aspect of it through groups.
There are some amazing social groups set up by individuals who want to engage on different topics. My favorite is the Sad WFH Meal group, where our colleagues will share all the horrific meals they cook during this time. It’s a good laugh, and sometimes in challenging moments like this, a good laugh is exactly what we need!
So now, to follow my WFH routine, it’s time to end the work day, turn off my laptop and spend time with my cats and my family. Stay safe, stay sane and stay connected, everyone!
Jayne Leung is VP for Greater China at Facebook.