New challenges continue forcing Lebanese professionals to adapt. In addition to increased disruptions to the local economy, strict coronavirus lockdowns have plunged local residents into unprecedented conditions. Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs have no choice but to continue working from their home office setups. We’ve compiled some pointers for expatriates to stay productive and focused while visiting Lebanon.
- Set up your workspace: Designate an area at home where you can get tasks done with minimal distractions, preferably with access to sunlight. This will help you establish a work routine.
- Internet connection: Ensure you have the right service for your internet access needs. A VPN subscription could also improve your workflow, providing perks like reduced bandwidth-throttling, increased privacy, and access to useful websites which may be regionally blocked. PureVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN are good options to get started with in Lebanon. While 4G internet via a standalone or smartphone hotspot is likely the fastest and easiest to set up, it can be fairly expensive for high-bandwidth applications like streaming. Otherwise, private ISP’s like IDM, Sodotel and Terranet may be a good fit. Else, Ogero is Lebanon’s primary network provider. You can inquire about your coverage options, including modern optical fiber coverage in certain Beirut neighborhoods, by calling 1515. Some employers both within Lebanon and abroad will reimburse internet/VPN fees; it can’t hurt to ask.
- Working Hours: It is easier to balance work and personal time with a structured schedule. Try adhering to your regular working hours as much as possible to maximize your focus. Toggl and Timely are handy time-management desktop applications that may help.
- Avoid Distractions: Hone in on your tasks and avoid getting pulled into household chores or scrolling through social media. If it helps, most smartphones allow you to block notifications or access to certain applications at specified times during the day.
- Lunches and Breaks: Devise an efficient meal strategy for yourself. Save time and order a meal online with a delivery app like Toters, or follow a meal plan routine and prepare your dishes ahead of time. Either way, improve your focus by granting yourself work breaks throughout the day.
- Co-habitants: Many of us reside with family members, roommates and pets. Ensure that the people you live with are aware of and respect your work schedule. A pet will also need to adjust to seeing you at home all the time; you can help them along by maintaining a consistent routine of food, walks and general exercise.
- Work Offline: Electricity outages are inevitable across the country; while smartphone applications like Beirut Electricity may help you anticipate when your neighborhood will lose power, unscheduled outages are unfortunately very common. Drafting emails, writing documents and developing code can be done offline if you download the needed resources ahead of time. This will allow you to stay productive regardless of your connection status.
- Install a UPS: An Uninterruptible Power System can be a very useful addition to any home office setup. In addition to keeping your electronics running during a transition between “Dawleh” and generator-based power, they improve the quality of the power being supplied to your gear, preventing damage that may occur from power dips or surges. It is important to select an option that is able to supply the amount of power you need. A 1000 Watt-rate system would be enough for most advanced home setups. APC is a UPS provider that could supply some options.
- Stay Connected: Remember, your friends, family and colleagues are going through the same thing you are. Human interaction is sorely needed in times of uncertainty, and the digital age makes this possible. Schedule a friendly Zoom call or create a funny Slack channel with your colleagues to sustain communication with the people in your life. We are all in this together.