savina chai work from home

These are questions we’ve all asked ourselves when working from home – how should I dress? How long should I be working? Where and ow should I set up my home office? Is work ever going to end?

With recent developments of the coronavirus pandemic and increasingly stricter measures on social distancing, our homes now serve as our social space, our meeting room, our office desk, our canteen, our gym… you get the drift. And while it’s a great time saver to have everything within a few steps, how do we stay productive and nail this working from home thing?

We spoke to Savina Chai – entrepreneur, fashion stylist, art and creative director as well as seasoned WFH-er to share her tips on nailing the experience as well as how she gets in the zone to get sh*t done at home.

savina chai work from home
Image: Instagram @savina_chai

How long have you been working from home for?

“I’ve been working between home and my office for the past 6 years. For the first 1.5 years, I worked from home as I couldn’t afford renting an office.”

Why did you decide to do so?

“It wasn’t by choice, I had to prioritise office rent over inventory and manpower.”

Through your experience of working from home, what’s one upside of it?

“You get so much done working from home, as long as you are disciplined and focused.”

And one downside?

“I lived in a small house with a big family before moving out, It can be hard trying to work when it’s noisy and you have no place to work.”

What do you wear on an average WFH day?

“T-shirt and shorts. If I have the air conditioner switched on, I wear nylon track pants.”

How long do you take to get ready?

“30 minutes. The best part about WFH, I don’t style my hair to perfection and I don’t wear makeup.”

How do you get in the zone when starting on work?

“It’s important to have a checklist. I write mine on a notepad daily. I separate them into ‘urgent’ for most important deadlines, ‘brainstorming’ for work that needs lots of thinking, ‘checks’ for scheduling/relationship building. I won’t leave my seat until the notepad is fully cancelled out.”

work from home
Image: Instagram @savina_chai

What are your top 5 tips to staying productive?

“Being productive is a mental state that is fuelled by discipline, commitment and endurance. The easiest, fastest and my favourite tip to foster that habit is by physical exercise. You learn personal discipline while keeping fit. Schedule calls before lunch. It helps rest your eyes after couple hours online. Start your day early and commit to waking up by 8am daily. No snoozing allowed. Weekends included. Work smart, not hard. If you’re taking more than an hour to complete a task, you’re not doing it the right way. Stay off the Internet when you’re working. Schedule work time into blocks of 2 hours.”

How can one improve their productivity when working from home?

“Shower and exercise upon waking up at a fixed timing daily. No snoozing please. Stick to a planned schedule including meal timings as you would on a normal work day in the office. Do not wear your sleepwear when working from home. Do not work on the bed if you are prone to taking naps on weekends. If you live with family and you have no dedicated work area, communicate with parents to schedule TV time at 7pm. You can include meal times so that you can work from the dining table between those timings.”

A word of encouragement you have for everyone working from home to get through these times?

“Hang it there, it does take time to get used to a new routine!”