Workaholics’ guide to lockdown

2020-04-21 06:00
Working from home could be a problem for workaholics who are not self-regulated. PHOTO: Samantha Lee-Jacobs

Working from home could be a problem for workaholics who are not self-regulated. PHOTO: Samantha Lee-Jacobs

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While the national lockdown continues with minimal changes to its restrictions, People’s Post polled readers on social media to get their work-from-home (WFH) perspectives. While for some this has been a great experience, others are not coping at all.

Darren Atwood, who works remotely for an international company, says working from home has been up and down. “Not having to travel is great. The work times I’m already used to but now you get more sleep and time for yourself because you are basically already at work,” he says.

“The most difficult thing so far is the internet speed that is taking a beating from everyone being at home. Also not being able to interact with people face-to-face is a struggle.”

For Dale Williams, a graphic designer, working from home has made him more productive.

“We are keeping the company going so we are still getting paid and I am glad for that because there are many who don’t have an income now. My station is set up and I don’t have trouble regulating time because I have set targets and when I am done, I am done. That can be at 11:00 on some days and at midnight on others. The biggest struggle is the distractions of relaxing and leaving work for another day but that did not get to me yet,” says Williams.

Having a family to take care of is the biggest struggle for Letitia Roberts who works in information technology (IT).

“My children are young and they are not used to seeing mommy at home all day. I am being distracted all day long with screaming and fighting and children crying or wanting to eat. I would work better from home if I could have someone to look after my kids. I cannot even take them to their grandparents,” she says. “Because of this I am not keeping to my working hours well and end up working longer hours when they are asleep to catch up.”

Devan Moonsamy, chief executive officer (CEO) of the ICHAF Training Institute, says working from home has been difficult for many South Africans.

“Companies who are not classified as essential services have adhered to the lockdown regulations. That being said employees are homebound and under stress about their future at their company,” he says. “With the stress about what the salary for April will look like there is also concern about productivity. Many employees have opted to work from home. But for some, the luxury of doing this is not possible.”

Moonsamy says there are those who are able to assist customers and keep the wheel turning, but there are also those who are not as fortunate.

“But to the workaholics who have to work with tasks and to-do lists, the period of this lockdown can be stressful,” says Moonsamy.

He shared a few tips for workaholics.

  • Get locked into a schedule. As much as you are used to having back-to-back meetings and a large to-do list, working from home can make you feel like you have fewer things that need to be done.
  • Create a to-do list. The list may not be as detailed as one that you would have had at the office but it should be enough to ensure the tasks that need your most urgent attention are completed.
  • Check on your other colleagues to see how they are holding up. Speaking about deadlines and other work-related successes will assist you to feel more productive.
  • Try to use this time to do something to relax. Use this time to also focus on yourself. Meditate and exercise. This can help you focus your energy on something else.
  • Working from home might also not keep you busy the entire day. In this time you could also subscribe to online courses. There are a number of sites online that offer short courses.
  • Hit the reset button. Sometimes our to-do lists and the need to always have our ducks in a row can be overwhelming. But if we just take some time to reset our system and life, we could be even more productive.
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