When the novel coronavirus started spreading across Asia in January, forcing the world’s largest work-from-home experiment, not many knew what to expect, least of all Bloomberg’s 400-plus journalists in the region. Six weeks later (and counting), only now are some starting to return to the office.

Meanwhile, the great experiment is going worldwide as Covid-19 cases mount in the U.S. and Europe, with Spain and France joining Italy on lockdown, and cities such as New York grinding to a halt. Chances are that you, too, will be executing a mandatory telecommute sometime soon, if you aren’t already.

To help get you through your own ad-hoc, at-home office situation, we turned to our colleagues in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo for tips and advice.

Maximize Productivity
The biggest piece of advice: “Go” to work.

“Try to stick to some semblance of your original routine from before you started working from home,” says Eric Lam, a cross-asset reporter in Hong Kong. If you needed to be at your desk at 8 a.m., don’t wake up at 7:59. “Give yourself a little bit of time before your start to wake yourself up, have a coffee, make breakfast. Especially for those of us—like me—who are not morning types.”

And dress the part. That means comfortable work clothes—not pajamas.

“It makes me feel awake, fresh, productive, and less slovenly,” says Kristine Servando, deputy head of Asia digital in Hong Kong. “It was part of the mental trick of demarcating between work and the rest of your life.”

“For the boys: Shave,” says Edward Gelband, part of the media distribution team in Tokyo.

Creating an “office environment” is important, too. Try to set up your workspace in a well-lit room or one with as much natural light as possible. Have a good chair. Stand up. Have a lot more meetings: Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Alex Millson, news desk editor in Hong Kong, has an indispensable item to avoid distractions from partners and children: “Noise. Canceling. Headphones.” He adds: “I just bought a pair of AirPods Pro, which are great at drowning out the playgroup we host once a week and other close-quarters distractions.”

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