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With corporates on high alert after the increase in cases of Covid-19, many employees have been asked to work remotely. But with working from home comes the challenge of staying motivated and productive. We asked some experts for tips on how to stay on top of work—and not give into the temptation to take a nap or binge on Netflix. Here’s what they had to say:

Declutter distractions

There are always some chores that can’t be done over the weekend. And now that you are home, why not just do it ?

Expert speak: Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice-president of HR solutions provider TeamLease, says the most important thing is to create a space where you can work—a makeshift office, if you will. Definitely avoid the bed or couch. “Setting some ground rules is important when you work from home. Have clear boundaries so that everyone, from your spouse to your house-help, respect it," she says.

Skip the caffeine

We often feel sleepy and tired when we work from home. Maybe it is the light, maybe it is the absence of colleagues and bosses. Or just that home does not feel like office.

Expert speak: The separate workplace can help in this regard too, insists Chakraborty. She does not suggest caffeine to stay alert but recommends a balance between screen time and off-screen time to function well. “Instead, try taking a brisk walk every hour. Sometimes reading on a topic not related to the email you have just received is a good break too. Though, of course, don’t start reading fiction."

Mark your calendar

We have a set office routine, well, almost. We get in by 9-10am, have a lunch break at 2pm, and leave for home by 6-7pm. At home, the same routine goes for a toss.

Expert speak: A daily schedule is vital, believes Sanjay Lakhotia, co-founder of HR consultancy Noble House. He suggests planning early in the day what things you’d like to work on at what time.

“Slotting your time on a calendar or paper can be difficult at first, but it helps. You are answerable only to yourself when you are working like this, but you know that at the end of the day these are things that you have to finish," he says.

Lakhotia suggests counting the breaks into the calendar as well. For example, if you know your children return from school at 3pm, and you want to spend time with them for the next hour, put it in your schedule. Targets are also the best motivators and can keep you engaged. “Breaking the targets into multiple deliverables will stop you from procrastinating," he adds.

Minimize those pings

Your co-workers are pinging you constantly, affecting your flow. Usually at office, you go into a meeting room to be left alone. But now you are constantly online.

Expert speak: Expectation management is a big part of working, says Lakhotia. If you are putting things on your calendar, people will see it and hopefully not disturb you.

“Being non-responsive or too responsive are both detrimental to productivity. Put it on the calendar, or you can also switch off notifications on your phone and turn it on silent," he adds.

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