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MCO 2.0 Malaysia: Tips for working from home


Here’s how to make working from home this MCO 2021 productive and free from distractions. From getting the right home office furniture to having proper Internet access and planning your work schedule, here are some of our tips on how to make work from home (WFH) a productive one for you. We’ve also included the full MITI list of essential services that are allowed to operate. Scroll down below to check it out. 

work from home
© Asawin Klabma | 123rf

After almost a year of living with the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re still nowhere close to beating it. As we head into MCO 2.0 Malaysia (the Movement Control Order (MCO) is now implemented for all states across Malaysia, except Sarawak), our lives will, again, get disrupted with the lockdown. With the new SOP for MCO Malaysia 2021, many businesses are not allowed to open, so the majority of us are forced to work from home, again.

Having said that, working from home (wfh) has its benefits, like no longer getting stuck in traffic or a crowded train during rush hour. Better yet, you can wear anything you want with zero repercussions. While more and more companies are adopting this new working style, working from home is definitely not something new, just go to LinkedIn or Job Street and you’ll see there are a number of work from home jobs available. However, it does bring its own set of challenges. There’s plenty of distractions all over the house and for some, not being in a “work environment” can make you lose focus and if your work from home environment is not ideal, it’s hard for you to be productive.

It’s time to get your work done. Whether you’re just starting your work from home adventure, you’re doing in part-time or you’re in it for the long haul, these work from home tips will help you stay focused on earning your monthly paycheck.

1. How to structure your day

work from home
© primagefactory | 123rf

If you’re used to waking up at 7:00 AM to get ready for work or you need a morning coffee before you start your workday, keep doing so. Pretend like you’re going to the office so you can be mentally prepared for working at home. Stick to defined work times or you might either have an unproductive day or end up overworking yourself.

Also, just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you need to stay in your pyjamas all day. We’re not forcing you to wear proper work clothes, but at least get into something like athletic wear to feel comfortable throughout the workday. But don’t forget to be presentable for video call work meetings.

2. How to set up your workspace

work from home
© marctran | 123rf

Reserve a spot in your home purely for office work. It can be the corner of the dining table or a study desk in your room, but make sure this is where you stay in your “office room” for the duration of your daily “workday”. This might sound insignificant, but without a defined workspace, desk setup or computer setup you might start to blur the lines between your home and work, and that might be stressful for some. When you’re done with work, shut down and leave the space.

If you have kids, speak to them about your new working arrangement. They need to be mindful about the noise they make when you’re in your office room and only come to you in an emergency.

When you really want to dedicate a space in your home for work, here are the essential things you’ll need: 4 essentials for your home office setup

3. How to plan your day

work from home
© beer5020 | 123rf

Ready your agenda beforehand to boost productivity and stick to it. Plan your workday to the time of the day you feel the most effective, whether it’s early morning or late afternoon – save your hardest tasks for then and keep the low times for logistical work.

4. Taking a break from work

work from home
© rawpixel | 123rf

Even though we provided working from home tips to stay focused, it doesn’t mean that you need to deprive yourself of breaks (don’t tell me that you don’t slack off for a few minutes in the office anyway). Take breaks from work or in between zoom meetings to recuperate yourself. Not only can this improve your productivity, but your quality of work may also increase.

Get in your toilet breaks, move around the house occasionally to keep the blood flowing or sneak in a healthy snack break if you’re feeling peckish. Best if you can take a few minutes every hour to stand up and stretch your entire body. Preserve your sanity and don’t stay glued in front of your computer for hours on end.

5. Keep in touch and work to deadlines

work from home
© Vasin Leenanuruksa | 123rf

Employers need to know that they can count on you when you’re out of sight. Work from home is the best opportunity to show your bosses that you can do your job well. Set reminders for scheduled meetings and add your deadlines to a calendar so that you’re always prepared for whatever work throws at you.

In fact, you might start to like video calls with your colleagues when you start working remotely. Not only is it much faster to discuss things in person rather than e-mail, but it’s also great to keep in touch with each other and get some human contact other than your kids or your better half.

6. How to exercise at home

exercise at home
© Shao-Chun Wang | 123rf

If you’re going to be stuck at home all day or you’re lazy to go out after grinding at work, its better to get some actual home exercises done – YouTube has plenty of home workout routines to help you stay in shape. Many of these exercise routines can be done in a few short minutes. Some of the popular exercises to do at home include jumping jacks, jogging in place, step-ups, mountain climbers, burpees, and jumping rope. You can even take up an exercise challenge to push yourself towards your goal.

7. Working from home with kids

work from home with kids
© Dean Drobot | 123rf

Once you’re in the “office” space, you should not be disturbed. Set some working from home rules for both you and your kids. For example, you can let your kids know that the door to your office will be closed if you have a meeting and when the meeting is over, you will open the door again — this way they won’t come barging in during your call. Plan some activities for your children to keep them occupied when you’re busy, like homework and housework, with breaks so they can ask you questions, or you can speak with them. This is also a great time to show your kids the value of hard work and effort.

8. Let your colleagues/clients know

Say you’re taking a meeting call with colleagues or you need to speak with a client – let them know that your child is with you and warn them that it might be noisy. Most people understand and are more forgiving knowing that you have to multitask with a kid in tow. Working from home can be difficult, especially when no one is watching you to get stuff done. But it can be a stress-free experience if you’re well prepared.

MITI’s list of essential services that are allowed to operate

But of course, not every business will be closed during MCO 2.0 or else the country will go into economic despair. To ensure the country’s economic recovery process, business sustainability, avoid high unemployment rates among Malaysians and ensure people continue to gain access to basic and critical necessities, throughout the MCO period, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali announced that only five essential economic sectors are allowed to open during the lockdown. For the rest, if you’re required to go back to the office, make sure to fill up and submit the MITI Application MCO 2.0 form at the official site before you head out. Below is the complete list of essential services that are allowed to operate, according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). 

A. Factories and manufacturing

1. Aerospace including MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul)
2. Automotive (repairs and maintenance only)
3. Food, beverages and their chains
4. Packaging and printing
5. Household products, self-care goods (Fast-moving consumer goods, e.g. soaps, cleansers) and detergents including their chains
6. Healthcare and medicine, including dietary supplements
7. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and fire safety equipment
8. Components for medical tools
9. Electrical and electronics
10. Oil and gas
11. Petrochemicals and petrochemical products
12. Chemical products
13. Machines and tools
14. Ceramics (e.g. moulds for glove manufacturing)
15. Iron and steel
16. Textiles (involving PPE production)
17. Furniture sector
18. Manufacturing, distillation, storage, supply as well as distribution of fuel and lubricants

B. Construction

19. Construction works involving –

i. Maintenance and critical repairs
ii. Building public infrastructure
iii. Construction of whole worker accommodation at construction sites or workers placed at Centralised Labour Quarters (CLQ)

C. Services

20. Financial services and their chain

i. Financial institutions (Banking, insurance, takaful and other entities that are licensed, approved or registered with Bank Negara)
ii. Capital market entities that are licensed, registered or supervised by the Securities Commission Malaysia

21. Local government and municipal services

i. Pawning services/community credit (licensed money-lender companies)
ii. Solid waste/ sewerage management
iii. Public cleaning
iv. Cleaning of premises and sanitisation

22. Telecommunications and digital infrastructure including ICT services and global business services
23. E-commerce and its chain including e-marketplace services, digital payments and local e-market (e-dagang) Internet centres
24. Hotel and accommodations
25. Agriculture, aquaculture and livestock sector including veterinary services –

i. Management of farms/ swallow farms/ horses/ animal processing plants/ slaughter houses/ livestock/ factories for livestock feed/ suppliers such as vaccines/ livestock management/ pet stores (livestock shift operations only allowed at night)
ii. Disease control and supervision of production of livestock, livestock input and products related to the livestock industry (including export and import)
iii. Health management, diagnosis of illness and treatment of animals

26. Utilities (water and electricity)
27. Professional services (including accountants/ lawyers/ auditors/ engineers/ architects), scientific (including R&D) and technical (including maintenance)
28. Security services
29. Security and defence
30. Land, water and air transportation
31. Services and operating of ports, shipyards, airports, including the moving of cargo, storage or bulk commodities

D. Distribution businesses

32. Warehousing and logistics
33. Services/sales/distribution of food and beverages
34. Retail/distribution/wholesale

E. Plantations and Commodities

35. Agriculture, aquaculture and livestock and their chains
36. Plantation and commodities and their chains

F. Others

37. Any services, works, industries or businesses as determined by the Health Minister upon discussions with the authorities supervising that service, work, industry or business.


Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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