There’s never been a better time for working from home and becoming a digital nomad and living the #jthan now.
Whether you’re a freelancer or in the corporate space, companies like Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook, JPMorgan, PayPal and many others have pledged allegiance to a flexible work-life; all thanks to Covid-19.
Here at Village2nation Academy, we have also embraced remote working. Our whole team works from home 4 days out of 5 a week.
Should you find yourself privileged to work from anywhere, you need to arm yourself with tools that will keep you productive and your employer happy.
Here are our picks for some practical tips that everyone working remotely from home or the beach or a co-working space can follow for a more productive and rewarding experience.
1. Compile a to-do list.
Let us all agree. Most of us have memories like warthogs, we forget too much. To avoid leaving important tasks pending while working from home, try and write a to-do list every morning before you start work. It will help put everything in perspective and plan out your day well.
Prioritize the most important tasks first followed by the least important ones. Also, try and allow room for any other tasks that may come about abruptly.
There are some applications that have been made to make sure you pull this off. Platforms such as Asana and Trello for project management, Google Calendar for scheduling, Slack and Notion for collaboration and Evernote for note-taking. Even better, they all have free versions that you can leverage on without paying a dime.
2. Have a good internet connection.
It really can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have a stable internet connection.
A good connection can be key to communication remotely. Always dropping off the Zoom meeting can be annoying and one can miss out on a lot of important information.
Thankfully, many internet providers, especially in Kenya have some affordable home internet plans that can work well for you. If that is not an option for you, no need to fret, many mobile service providers have affordable daily, weekly and monthly data plans you can take advantage of. You just have to use your phone as a mobile hotspot and you are ready to go.
Co-working spaces offer some very fast internet connections.
Data deals that can work for you in Kenya:
Some of the deals you can take advantage of are Safaricom’s Tunukiwa data bundles which are updated daily and are quite affordable. You can also choose any of their home data plans from as low as Ksh. 3,000 for 1 Mbps to Ksh. 12,500 for 3 Mbps every month. They are designed in such a way that you can choose what suits you best.
Zuku users can also enjoy various home internet plans. From Ksh. 2,800 for 10mbps up to Ksh. 6,300 for 60 Mbps. It all depends on your data needs and usage.
If you use Telkom, the data deals are quite affordable, for example, you can buy a 2GB day and night bundle for Ksh. 100 and even a 30GB monthly bundle for Ksh. 1,000 valid for 30 days.
For Airtel users, they offer daily, weekly and even monthly data bundles that are quite affordable. For Ksh. 99 you can get a 2GB bundle valid for a day among other deals, for Ksh. 500 a week you can get a 6.5GB data bundle valid for 7 days. You can also get a 12GB bundle for Ksh. 1,000 valid for 30 days.
You can also opt for Jamii Telekom’s affordable daily, weekly and monthly data bundles. You can get a 7-day bundle of 8GB for Ksh. 300 or a 30-day bundle of 40GB for 2,000Ksh. Choose what works for you.
3. “Will you please keep it down!”
Home life can get crazy loud. Perhaps your dog just doesn’t understand boundaries and he barks at every single thing, and your neighbour has just decided to blast that new Adele album. Annoying right?
Try and find a corner in your house free of noise and distractions. Some have even opted to purchase sound insulation for their homes. If that is not an option, have a conversation with your family and neighbours and tell them to try and keep it down. You need to work. It might just work wonders.
There are endless benefits to a quiet working space; among them is the production of higher quality work.
Try it sometime and reap the benefits.
If that is not an option, try co-working spaces. This is a concept that has been embraced throughout the country with various co-working spaces scattered all over Nairobi. They also come at some affordable rates.
Co-working Space options in Nairobi that you can try out:
- Baraza Media Lab
- The Twig Workspace
- The Foundry
- PAWA 254
- Regus Coworking Spaces
- Axlr8 Co-working space
- The Hive
- Workstyle Africa
- The Kijiji Working Space
- The Mint Hub Nairobi
Which other co-working spaces do you know of in Nairobi?
4. Let there be light!
At the work Zoom meeting, if your colleagues can only see a silhouette of you looking like The Shadow Brokers, there’s a problem.
Make sure your workspace is well-lit. Preferably, sit in front of a window for adequate penetration of natural light. If that is not an option, make sure your artificial light works well. You can use a good overhead light source or have a bright desk lamp that will work well for you.
Affordable lighting solutions for your home working area can be found anywhere including online retail stores.
Lighting options you can try:
- Ring lights – these work well for meetings. You can get one on Instagram shops from between Ksh. 2,000 to Ksh. 4,000 or here on Jumia
- Desk lamps – Get desk lamps according to your preferred price here on Jumia.
5. Get comfortable.
How and where you sit matters a lot. Getting a desk can be important to get a lot of work accomplished. A simple desk that can accommodate all you need to work can be essential to productivity at home. Affordable new or second-hand desks can be found anywhere from online to local furniture stores. You can also visit your local carpenter and commission a desk.
If you cannot find a desk or cannot accommodate one, don’t panic. On your simple table at home, you can create a workspace that meets your ergonomic needs and pair it with a seat that won’t break your back.
Where you can get affordable office furniture.
- You can negotiate a good price with a carpenter in your area.
- Jiji .com – here you can get deals on new and second-hand office furniture.
- Jumia – here you can get deals on office furniture for your home.
- Pigiame – here you can get deals on both new and second-hand office furniture.
6. Power, right?
Few things are as boring and as irritating as power outages. In most areas, you just can’t avoid them, so what will you do?
Make sure all your devices are well charged at all times. Try and plugin just before retiring to bed. If your laptop has issues, always make sure your phone is well charged, should anything happen you won’t miss the Zoom meeting.
A common joke among the IT community is, even if the office is on fire, make sure you backup all your work; thank God for auto-saving in most computer applications nowadays.
Also, purchasing a simple power bank can be very helpful should there be a power outage at home.
Be sure to also communicate to your colleagues in advance that a power outage can happen at any time where you live so they are not surprised when you suddenly go dark.
7. Stay Active.
All work and no play makes Jack a very unhealthy boy, or so the proverb goes. Sitting for long without activity has been described as the new smoking by doctors. Sitting too long with minimal or no physical movement has adverse health effects.
Get up and walk around the house or do a couple of stretches now and then during your workday. It is very beneficial for your health.
Try to do a short activity or two at least every few hours, remember, good productivity is achieved when you are in good health. Preserve your health and stay active.
8. Close that fridge.
You have probably heard of ‘Covid weight’. When you are working from home, the temptation to gobble up those snacks and that food is high; I mean, the fridge is just a few steps away.
Overeating has presented a challenge to many working from home all over the world, a lot of sound advice has been offered. Eating healthy and overcoming the urge to eat a lot are important points to consider when dealing with ‘Covid weight’. Coming up with a workout routine can also work wonders for you when working from home.
Also, stay hydrated throughout the day. Keep a bottle of water near you. Find out what amount of water works best for you daily, it is not always the same for everyone.
9. Time, Time, Time.
Keeping a timed schedule is of utter importance. Showing up early to virtual meetings, starting work on time and even having a well defined time to close a day of work is very key to managing your time when working from home.
As stated earlier, a to-do list will get a lot done. Indicating time set aside for various things during your day can mean having a more productive day. Even knowing when to retire to bed and when to wake up and prepare for the day is important.
Arrange your time well when working from home.
How do I manage my time well?
A good idea is to use the Pomodoro technique, very useful for time management. This is a technique that uses a timer to break down work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks of about 5-10 minutes. Each interval is known as a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘Tomato’. This technique was invented in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo.
Thankfully, it has been popularized by many apps and websites providing timers and instructions. One such website is Pomofocus.io. It can help you practise this important technique.
10. Reduce your Social Media activity.
One way we all feel connected to the world is through something we all love, Social media. According to Statista.com, in the years 2019 and 2020, people spent about 145 minutes a day on social media.
Browsing through social media can eat into working hours and can hurt productivity immensely. Striving to stay away from social media until your task is complete is hard, but possible.
Keeping your phone at a safe distance away from you or downloading social media limiting apps can help you stay away from social media during work hours.
Apps such as Offtime, Moment, Flipd, Freedom, Appblock, Cold Turkey and Focus will help you block out social media sites and if you’d like, even the whole internet to help you focus and make you more productive.
Try it, it’s completely worth it.
We are here for you.
Here at Village2nation Academy we fully recognize that this is the future of work, and we strive to continue equipping people in Kenya and the whole of Africa with the skills needed to work remotely and face this future fully confident and ready to smash their dreams and change the world while at it.
Want to be a grandmaster in your field? We are here to help you and guide you through your quest for world domination.
Here we are consistently adding courses that can help you transition into tech and land jobs that can be done remotely. We believe that where possible, everyone should be able to integrate their work and their lives seamlessly.