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Working from home (WFH) remains a polarising topic in Singapore. Ever since 100% of workers were allowed to return to an office setting on 26 April 2022, many companies have continued with their hybrid and/or flexible work arrangements.
Intuitively, a writer’s job is one that can be done remotely, as my editor Dinesh Dayani’s trip to Langkawi showed. This is why we at DollarsAndSense follow a hybrid WFH arrangement — i.e., 3 days in the office and 2 days at home.
Like all companies, we rely heavily on technology, including collaboration tools, cloud computing, video calls, email and more, to make this work. As a team, we’re also guided by a work schedule, and individually, we need a functional workspace at home to be productive.
While each of us may have different experiences while working from home, this is my account of what it’s like as a writer with DollarsAndSense.
“The Early Bird Catches The Worm”
One of the “many” perks of a WFH arrangement is having more time to sleep. After all, the time you save on travelling can add to your “snooze” time. But that’s not the typical case for me. Unfortunately, my body clock seems to have wired itself to wake up around 6.30 am to 7 am regardless of which day of the week it is, including weekends.
One of the first things I do when I wake up is reach for my phone to check the latest news. I scan for any significant events or announcements that were made over the night. As a writer, I like to be on top of trending news events that would concern our readers.
At the same time, I also check the movement of my US stock holdings before I carry out my morning routine.
7.25 am – Breakfast, While Publishing My Article
By around 7.25 am, I settle down at my desk with a hearty bowl of oats in hand. I prefer a no-frills workstation, which might even be an indication of my personality. I also purchased a few add-ons, such as a lumbar support and an adjustable monitor stand, to make working from home more comfortable. This, in turn, has positively impacted my productivity.
Tuning in to work, I ensure that the article that I scheduled on WordPress the evening before gets published without any hiccups. I also take the time to schedule the article on our Facebook page for 8 am. This time slot is usually reserved for the new articles that we write each day. And today is my turn, as my article is going out.
I spend the remaining time that I have before our team’s morning huddle doing some “moderator work” on our Facebook social groups — Personal Finance Discussion Group, Insurance Discussion SG, and the DollarsAndSense Business Community.
As I have my breakfast, I continue to scan more news sites to read the latest articles to identify trending topics. This helps me as a writer when thinking of new content ideas to pitch for the week.
9.30 am – Morning Huddle With The Team
Work at DollarsAndSense begins at 9.30 am. On days when not all of us are in the office, we meet for morning huddles via a Zoom call. This gives us the opportunity to meet everyone and discuss the work for the day. Led by our Editor-in-Chief, Timothy Ho, the discussions over our work schedule and other ad hoc matters would take around 15 to 30 minutes.
Having a good working environment at home and, more importantly, a stable internet connection are important, lest you inconvenience others with a laggy connection resulting in missing any updates.
10.00 am – Clear Miscellaneous Work
As soon as the meeting ends, I clear my inbox and start working on an “article update.” These updates are usually meant for articles that are either trending or useful but reflect outdated information depending on when they were originally written. We typically schedule these at the 12 pm time slot – for lunchtime reading.
Aside from using the remaining time in the morning to check our social handles again, I also view the Google Analytics to get a sense of the website’s current visitor stats. It gives me an account of the articles that are trending, which gives me an insight into the trending topics that our readers are interested in.
By this time, I’m usually looking forward to lunch as I browse my options on the helpful food delivery service apps. While I wait for my food to be delivered, I work on the outline for the article that I was assigned.
12.30 pm – Pause, Eat, Research
Work stops when my doorbell rings. I’m reminded once again why some workers prefer a WFH arrangement – no lunch crowds to beat nor having to “chope” seats with tissue packets.
I settle down once again on my desk, now with my lunch in front of me. Not that I would advocate such a habit, but I usually use this time to eat and watch some short explainer videos by news sites like CNA, CNBC, and the Financial Times. These videos are a way for me to relax and, at the same time, learn about new topics, which would help me in terms of my ideation for new articles.
Of course, I also watch other [property and trading] videos for personal interest. Having fast internet streaming speed makes a big difference in the whole experience.
1.00 pm – Start Working On My Article Assignment
One concern that bosses may have had is whether a typical one hour gets extended when you’re at home. Not that my bosses have asked me, but I’m happy to report that I keep my lunch hours short—within 20 to 30 minutes—really!
That’s because I am on a tight schedule with an editorial huddle coming up at 5 pm today. This gives me about four hours to research and work on my article. Thankfully, I have an outline to work from, which speeds up my writing work. Like for many writers today, desktop research is vital to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.
5.00 pm – Already Time To Pitch New Ideas
As the clock ticks toward 5 pm, I jump back on a Zoom call, this time with just my editorial team. I also open up Google Analytics to see the website’s latest traffic statistics and our Facebook page to view the social traction.
I think many writers – and even non-writers – will agree that we often find ourselves with multiple pages open at the same time in the course of our work. We prefer to keep them all on standby until our work on that piece of work is done. You never know when you’ll need something!
This session typically lasts around an hour and is the frontrunner for our main editorial meetings on Fridays. We usually share interesting announcements and articles we come across and pitch new ideas for the following week.
6.00 pm – Final Touch-Ups To My Article, And Create A Cover Photo
As soon as the meeting ends, I take the remaining time to polish my writing and do a proofread. Then, I use our Canva account to create a cover image for the article. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and the cover image, which appears on our social handles, plays an important role in attracting readers to the article.
Once done, I keep the completed draft in my folder until it’s time to publish it the following week.
7.00 pm – “Lepak” Time
Writing may not be a physically arduous job, but it’s tiring nonetheless. That’s why I make time after work to exercise in order to stay fit (if not at least look in shape). While I save my running for the weekends, on weekdays like this, I prefer to do a kettlebell exercise.
I became interested in kettlebell training during COVID-19 as a way to stay fit while staying at home. Like many working adults, I can attest to the benefits of a short workout in terms of stress relief, with my heart pumping and endorphins being released in my body.
Finally, to cap off the day, I just sit back and enjoy a Netflix show, which now happens to be Wednesday: Season 1 (the daughter from The Addams Family).
No WFH Is Possible Without Fast And Stable Internet Connection
Without a fast and stable internet, we can’t be connected to the world and be informed of the latest happenings around us. Much less so is being able to work as a writer, who needs to keep up with current affairs, regularly schedule articles, handle social media channels, and perform other duties.
Whether you’re an adult who’s working from home, a student who attends online classes, or a retiree enjoying entertainment content from streaming platforms, having a fast and stable connection would be your top priority when choosing a home broadband service provider.
Among the Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Singapore, ViewQwest has been ranked the fastest by Ookla for Fixed Broadband for five consecutive years since 2018. ViewQwest does not practice traditional restrictive telco policies such as speed throttling and bandwidth limiting during peak hours. This means you always get the full bandwidth you subscribe for.
ViewQwest offers two Fibre Broadband plans: The 1Gbps and 2Gbps, both starting at a low price of $28.99 and $40.99, respectively, per month.
You can also customise your Broadband plan not only based on the speed that you want, but also by choosing a router from a range of options, from a basic Smart WiFi system to a whole home WiFi 6 mesh system. For example, if speed and connectivity are your utmost priorities, you could choose the 2 Gbps fibre broadband plan with the Netgear MK63 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System. The Mesh system provides fast connection speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps and can not only support more devices without a decrease in network speed, but it can also extend the battery life of these connected devices. You would also be able to have a wide coverage area of up to 3,250 sq ft – which easily covers most HDB flats and private apartments – without facing any dead zones in your house.
As a subscriber, you would also be able to take advantage of ViewQwest’s latest home WiFi diagnostics service – RouteThis mobile app – which helps you check on the health of your WiFi network at home without needing to call technical support. The app allows you to easily scan your WiFi network, diagnose any issues, and provide tips to address them, ensuring you get the best coverage all the time.
While working from home, you (and your employer) cannot ignore the risk of online threats, which ViewQwest recognises and addresses with its SecureNet add-on service. SecureNet is a cloud-based cybersecurity service built with next-generation firewall capabilities that keeps subscribers protected 24/7 from threats like viruses, malware, spyware, phishing, and even adware on unlimited devices. Priced at $7.99 a month, SecureNet is provided for free for the first three months with any home broadband plan.
Whether or not WFH remains an option in the future, you could start by making your home a better place to work, live, and play. Having a fast and stable internet connection from ViewQwest can be the first step in allowing everyone in the family to enjoy creature comforts at home while engaging in their respective work, study, and play.
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