Things we miss during Work From Home


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Introvert or not, we all rejoiced a tiny bit when Work From Home (WFH) arrangements were first announced. Shaving off the commute time and transportation costs, getting to clock in precious minutes of extra sleep and bask in the comfort of working in your pyjamas – what’s not to love?

Turns out, the grass truly is greener on the other side. Several weeks into the Circuit Breaker, we find ourselves craving little things like social interaction with your colleagues and being able to saunter to the pantry for a midday coffee break. Here are 7 things we miss about working in the office and – for the sake of preserving our sanity, how to replicate them at home.


1. Having a dedicated work space


Then: clocking in at the same work station every day


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There’s something about showing up in the office every morning, settling in at your desk adorned with knick-knacks like your personalised mug and stationery set, that just conditions the gears in your brain to start whirring. It’s like those classic movie scenes where the hero cracks their knuckles saying, “let’s get down to business”.


Now: create a makeshift home office where you can get in the zone


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Image credit: Chiara Ang

Tempting as it may be, we strongly suggest not attempting to crank out work on your laptop while tucked in bed. 

Working from home requires a dedicated space where you can get in the correct frame of mind for productivity. If you blur the line between work, rest and leisure, you may even face difficulty “shutting off” because your brain has associated your chilling area with work stress.


2. Pantry breaks


Then: raiding the snack supply & helping yourself to coffee machine refills


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Whether your energy levels were taking a dip or you just needed something to munch on while typing away, frequent snack raids and visits to the office pantry were a simple joy to look forward to each day. 

And while they didn’t exactly produce artisanal brews, office coffee machines provided a quick and convenient caffeine boost. Especially for those battling post-lunch food comas!


Now: snack breaks & a proper coffee machine for quality caffeine boosts


You have free reign of your home kitchen, but avoid constant gorging and instead set aside dedicated time slots for a quick snack break. To avoid becoming sluggish, you should also stay away from heavy junk food such as potato chips and candy bars, and go for slow energy-releasing, nutritional options like kale chips and muesli bars instead.

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Relying on caffeine is #relatable, but sub-par instant coffee mixes can be a drag now that we can’t head out for coffee runs. Bring cafe-grade brews to your home by investing in a convenient and easy-to-use capsule coffee machine, like the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto (various models from $99)

Unlike other coffee machines on the market which can be bulky and require an arsenal of additional accessories, the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto can prepare a range of cafe-grade brews, each under a minute. DIY your own Starbucks cappuccino or caramel macchiato without even needing to buy a milk frother!


3. Bantering with colleagues to destress


Then: chit-chatting with your desk buddy or colleagues passing by 


In this period of practically no social interaction beyond members of your household, it’s surprising just how much we miss having random chit-chats with our colleagues. Relationship drama, pop culture gossip, and the shared grief and support over work difficulties – all these go a long way when it comes to making each day at the office fresh.


Now: having catch-up sessions over group chats or video calls


ZOOM meetings
Image credit: The Smart Local

You may not be in the same physical space, but getting to see your colleagues’ faces and hear their familiar voices through a video call can do wonders to satisfy our innate need for human interaction. Share your WFH woes with one another and discuss new home activities to try. Cabin fever is a lot more bearable when you have people on the same boat to lament to!

For moments where video calls aren’t in session, you can also stay engaged with your colleagues through group chat banter. Shoot the breeze, send funny TikToks to brighten up everyone’s day and just check in on how they’re doing. You never know how much being seen and heard – even virtually – can make isolation feel less lonely.


4. Being out and about with different work surroundings


Then: daily commutes to a proper office, freely roaming around


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Singapore may be small, but the process of travelling from home to our workplace offered a daily opportunity to experience the outside world. Even if you were stuck at your desk for most of the work day, small adventures like heading out to dabao lunch, site recces or external meetings provided much-needed doses of getaway time.


Now: move from room to room for breaks, get plenty of fresh air & sunlight


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You’re already confined in your home, so the last thing you need is to be locked within the 4 walls of your room too. Every once in a while, get up and stretch those muscles while roaming between sections of your house. It’s also crucial to get your fill of vitamin D, so crack open those windows and chill on your balcony or at the corridor for some fresh air as well.


5. Team cohesions


Then: bonding with colleagues through meals & activities


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Socialising is a big no-no, now that we’re trying to nip the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the bud. Going out for meal gatherings and bonding with your teammates over some drinks used to be a much-anticipated highlight. Besides being a fun night out, letting loose with your coworkers also gels the department as a whole and creates better working relationships.


Now: bonding online through viewing parties and multiplayer games


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Image credit: Skribbl.io

Fortunately, virtual group hangouts are possible thanks to technological advancements. Set a date and time for everyone who’s bored out of their minds from the Circuit Breaker to gather online. 

You guys can have Netflix viewing parties, where the programme is synced across all screens for everyone to comment and discuss. For even more interaction, rope in the entire department and have a ball of a time in multiplayer games such as Club Penguin, Skribbl.io, MapleStory and Call of Duty.


6. Client meetings


Then: heading out to fancy cafes & discussing over coffee


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Even for someone who finds client meetings a tad intimidating, the cosy settings of hipster cafes always made things that much easier and a destination to look forward to. Especially for Shentonistas asking to meet at trendy CBD spots, the best ideas and smoothest collaborations seem to be born out of a frothy cappuccino or strong espresso to get the brain juices flowing. 


Now: Zoom meetings, with home-brewed coffee to fuel your brain


Client meetings have moved to online platforms now, but that doesn’t have to equate to a zombified stay-home version of you who keeps facing mental roadblocks. Owning a coffee machine grants you quick access to delicious brews whenever you’re in need of a caffeine fix, and you can whip it up before your client even drops the ritualistic “Can you hear me?” check.

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For those who miss their Starbucks runs, there’s now a Starbucks At Home range where you can prepare and slurp up mugs of lattes, macchiatos and more. Best part? If you already own a NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto or Nespresso coffee machine, compatible Starbucks At Home capsules are available for each system. 

Each box of Starbucks by NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto only costs $8.35 for a box of 12 capsules, while the Starbucks by Nespresso selection retails at $6.95 per sleeve of 10 capsules. This means every cuppa is a cool $0.69! We dare you to find a better deal – not even kopitiams can match this.


7. Setting a routine to differentiate work and play


Then: not bringing work home after office hours


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Conducive environment aside, another perk of working at the office was having clear-cut hours of duty to report to, and clock out of. There may be days which call for OT, but employees with a healthy sense of work-life balance know not to bring work home at the end of the day. Now that 100% of work is at home, though…that can be a whole ‘nother story.


Now: clocking in and out of work after set timings


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If you have a set to-do list, don’t fall into the trap of “spreading it out” across the entirety of your waking hours. Those who take their sweet time to tackle tasks – with intermittent sessions of Netflix, social media and general goofing off in between – possess a belief that it can all be done beyond the standard knock-off time.

This causes the pressure of work to bleed into what is supposed to be leisure time for you to rejuvenate. So, set a routine and stick to it. If it means having to start your day with rituals like getting dressed, putting on a bit of makeup and having a good breakfast, make a habit out of it. Having steady blocks of productivity just means more hours for at-home fun.


DIY cafe-quality brews with Starbucks At Home


Accelerating your WFH efficiency and boosting your stay-home morale is as easy as having a part of office life which you always loved and looked forward to. 

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Whether you prepare your coffee with a basic French press or a high-tech coffee machine, you can now easily whip up your favourite Starbucks drinks at home in a variety of ways.

If daily brews to kick start the morning, celebrate midday and help power through the final hours before knocking off were vital throughout your regular office life, you’ll want to give your home a Starbucks upgrade with the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto coffee machine.

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For a bit of variety, NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto also has non-caffeinated beverages such as Chococino, Milk Tea and Green Tea Latte.

Now you can get these goodies delivered to your doorstep by shopping online. The Starbucks At Home range can easily be found on the websites of FairPrice and Cold Storage, as well as Redmart, Amazon and Shopee.

As part of a Stay Home special promotion, snag the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto coffee machine at 35% off selected models from now till 28th May 2020. Be it coffee aficionados or Starbucks lovers craving those familiar flavours at home, owning a NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto coffee machine will give your home kitchen a major cafe-quality caffeine upgrade.

Find out more about NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto here


This post was brought to you by Nestle.
Photography by Pichan Cruz.