Clocking in and clocking out

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

Most companies use biometric clocks, but the principle is still the same. Remember the Bundy clock? Employees “punch in” and “punch out” their time cards every day of their working life. It is an age-old practice that has been with us for years until COVID-19 happened and people started working from home.

In pre-COVID days, people knew the routine well. You go to the office, work, and when work time is done, you go home or have your social life. Suddenly, we see our personal, professional, dining, shopping, grocery, gaming, entertainment, and even parenting life all converging in the same place and simultaneously as work from home becomes the new normal. No wonder people are stressed. The question now is, how do you “clock in and clock out when you do work at home?”

Another virus variant with a Greek name sends another spike in our virus infections; the prospect of going back to our physical offices and workplace is rechallenged. How do we clock in and out of work when working from home?

Work from home carries blessings we never had before as far as business organizations are concerned. It reduces bureaucracy, silos, hastens decision-making, and also, boss-bullying, which was so prevalent during pre-COVID days. Working from home has increased productivity, enabled money savings, and spared workers the torture of the daily commute. How do we make the most of the situation?

Here are certain things to consider.

1. Strategize and plan your work details

Many people get overwhelmed and stressed because they start the day with no pre-planned strategy and then they get overwhelmed by randomness. Filter out unnecessary tasks and prevent unnecessary distractions that suck your energy and attention.

2. Clock out on time

When working from home, you are never really off the clock. There is always the temptation to extend your work hours and try to “catch up” with work, but I have news. The work will never end.

Come up with your working hours and follow them every day. It doesn’t have to be a regular 8 to 5, but it should be a reasonable time that doesn’t change. And as you clock out of work, review your completed task and prepare your work approach or strategy for the next day. Make sure they are reasonable goals and appreciate the work you have finished for the day.

3. Create a bridge between work and home

This is useful since it helps us transition from an employee to a parent or partner. The bridge activity can come in exercising, preparing food for the family, or other activities that take your mind off work and help you transition to your other important role in the home.

Here is a powerful and effective tip. Once you clock out from work, you walk away from your desk and shut off your laptop. If you can work on this routine effectively, you can recharge and be more productive the next day you return to work.

Do not be busy, but you should be effective. Driving yourself too hard may give you a false sense of importance or productivity. You need to take care of your health, pace your activities, and cultivate a good relationship with your loved ones or else the efforts will backfire on you, and you will not like it when it happens.

I know that you would like to go the extra mile and strive to do more than what is required, but the current setup is not designed to push us too hard to the point of exhaustion. We also need to clock in and out even while working from home.

And finally:

4. Reward ourselves at the end of the day

I look forward to evenings when the Ilocana and I have fun over dinner with the kids, and then relax and watch a nice inspiring, clean, or funny movie. It keeps me inspired and all set for the next day’s activities. Then wash, rinse, and repeat. Chill out, log out, and go back with a fresh perspective. This is the way to do good work from home. So you have work, and you love it because you are home.



(Francis Kong’s podcast “Inspiring Excellence” is now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or other podcast streaming platforms.)

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