Fed Up with Working from Home? Here are A Few Ways to Spice Things Up

Most of us have been working from home for almost a full year now and are undoubtedly getting bored with the daily bed to desk and desk to bed routine.

Whether it be the workspace or simply the décor that you have in your bedroom or home office, work can and should be enjoyable even if you’re missing out on the social life that the office offers.

Here’s a few ways to make working from home that less dull

1) Play around with the décor

See that blank wall opposite your empty workspace? Make it your own! You don’t have to be an artist to make a wall a piece of art, simply hang pictures or use a small whiteboard and magnets to show notes or even cards from your friends. 

Draw out a daily calendar or write down word of the day ideas or doodles to create what essentially is your “me space”.

2) Update your computer

No, we’re not talking about updating the system or getting a whole new computer; we’ve all been there with looking for a single word file in a messy desktop. Reorganize your files in a proper manner as it’ll be easier on the eyes. 

Consider a change of theme too, choose pictures of a tropical paradise, a deep jungle or pictures of a past vacation as a desktop background to individualize your work platform.

3) Senses, they’re important

Moving on from what we can see, have you thought about what you can hear, smell or feel? You may consider starting your day with a laugh by watching one of the many sit-coms on Netflix.

Background music is more than a dinner for two, having some background music playing on Spotify or even ambience music on YouTube while you work sets the mood of a coffee shop for example right in the comfort of your own home.

Do certain scents make you feel much more at peace? Maybe a vanilla scented candle, an oak wood scent stick or even the fresh breeze that comes in form an open window.

And then, there’s touch. Grab a warm fuzzy blanket to keep your feet warm or have pillow next to you. These are just some of the things you can experiment with as they are endless.

4) Plan wisely

Now that we quite literally spend work time working, we’re missing out on routines such as commuting and going out for lunch. Don’t just forgo of these routines but replace them with something that could be done at home as they are essential for a balanced work life.

Spend the normal commuting hours for a quick work out or yoga session to get your body clock up and running as if everything is normal. Take the time off to grab a quick bite from the “pantry” whenever you need it and utilize lunch time to cook up a balanced meal. By using these time slots wisely, it gives your mind a much-needed break and also replicates those that you would have in the office.

None of us known how long we’ll be working from home, but why ponder on questions and possibilities when you can make the best of your situation. 

The boredom and isolation we are experiencing now is just another challenge to overcome, take this opportunity to try new work from home styles that makes working from home an experience, not a punishment.

Malaysians Lack Proper Work-Life Balance as KL Ranks 4th Most Overworked City

A person spends an estimated 13 years and two months, at least 90,000 hours and almost one-third of their lives working, but some of us go beyond that and are overworking to a worrying level.

According to the NST, a survey shows that Malaysian employees are overworked, sleep deprived and suffering from work-related stress as 53% are getting less than seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

The survey took into account like working hours, holiday days taken, paid maternal/paternal days, commute hours and many other factors. 

In terms of work-life balance, Malaysia ranks 47th while it ranks in the top four for longest working and commute hours, overworked population and fewest minimum vacations offered.

“Asian countries don’t prioritize meaningful work/life balance. I’d say it’s frowned upon in some companies, which is absolutely pathetic.” said a Twitter user, @navinmogan.

“Productivity is not about time management, it’s about #health and #focus. You can’t hit your KPIs consistently when you’re half-dead.”

The Graduan writes that many employees claim the lack of flexibility in the Malaysians working life as according a Business Insider report, 75% of new mothers in Malaysia quit the job for that reason itself; other factors include not up-to-par childcare services and having bosses that are unsupportive.

With the standard working hour set at 48 hours per week for some, it only mounts on to the pressure of trying to balance life and work; with the culture of overworking being implemented in most Malaysians, the long hours of hunching over a computer is taking a toll on them day by day.

A survey by AIA Vitality 2019 of 230 organisations and 17,595 employees found that 84 per cent of employees reported were suffering from at least one or more musculoskeletal conditions. Other than that, the study also includes findings such as:

  • 32% have one or more chronic conditions such as kidney conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer
  • 90% do not have a balanced diet
  • 42% are either overweight or obese
  • 45% of organisations do not offer mental health services

A healthy nation would require a healthy population at foremost as former deputy health minister, Lee Boon Chye, says that ““The success of a nation is dependent on the health of its people and initiatives such as the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace survey become increasingly crucial as more and more Malaysians enter the workforce every year”.

Agile working has always been one of the ways experts thought to fix this issue, where an organization delegates its employees to work where, when and how they choose; this not only offer maximum flexibility but also minimum constraints.

Ryan Carroll, Country Manager of Randstad Malaysia, told Focus Malaysia, “Agile working is gaining popularity in Malaysia, as more and more employees want to have autonomy in the way they work. However, as much as technology has helped made it possible to be more productive and creative at work, it can be quite frustrating and intrusive for those who feel that they need to respond to emails immediately, even during the weekends.”

6 Ways to Spot Fake News

Fake news isnt something new, but it’s been increasing much more lately expecially due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the public to want to know more and read more.

Fake news comes from anyone who wishes to share their thoughts or stories to the world and there is no regulation pretty much on whatever that is being circled around people’s own social media platforms.

Misinformation and fake news doesn’t only spread unnecessary fear and confusion but also harm those who are part of the message that is travelling around. Invented reviews of your products or inaccurate financial updates, for example, can do serious reputational damage.

Here six ways to differentiate fake news from news:

1) Be critical

Much of fake news is written with a shock value that is purposed to surprise readers on sight. Think critically and ask yourself “Why has this story been written? Is it to persuade me of a certain viewpoint? Is it selling me a particular product? Or is it trying to get me to click through to another website? Am I being triggered?”.

2) Check the source of the story

Every story has a source and if you have doubts, do some digging! Research about the author or publisher and decide if it’s trustworthy. Be aware that much of the credibility can be a false; so, if you see a suspicious post that looks like it’s from the World Health Organization (WHO), for example, check the WHO’s own site to verify that it’s really there.

3) Who else is reporting on the story

If the story is in fact true, some other news agency is bound to pick up on it. Follow professional news agencies and check if the story is up there in order to filter out what is and what is not.

4) Examine the statements

If it’s credible, there should be a lot of facts included in the story such as quotes from experts, data, surveys and statistics. Does the evidence prove that something definitely happened? Or, have the facts been selected or “twisted” to back up a particular viewpoint?

5) Don’t take images at face value

Images can be altered in many ways to show another story these days; even if it’s 100% correct, it can be altered to represent something else. You can use tools such as Google Reverse Image Search to check where an image originated and whether it has been altered.

6) Check if it sounds right

Use common sense and read the story to yourself. Does it sound true? If it doesn’t sound true to you, the story probably isn’t as you choose what you believe.

Working from Home is Hurting Our Backs, Here’s How You Can Prevent Them

*Safe to say, admin has definitely switched his sitting position after writing this article and is amazed*

Who would’ve guessed it that we’ll be working from home for the rest of 2020; or to be exact, working form our bed, sofa and kitchen table for the rest of god knows how many more months.

Our work from home setups differ wildly among individuals, but most of us complaint about the same thing – sore and stiff backs that comes from the long hours spent on in front of the computer. After months of this situation, it is safe to say that some of us already miss our office and couldn’t wait until this mayhem is all over.

Although, there are adjustments we can make to our daily work setting to make working from home that much bearable.

1) Working from your bed

Experts frown upon working on your laptop from your bed as it gives zero support and has no neutral position to work from. 

If you really want to make it work, rest your laptop on a pillow to bring it to a more manageable level so that you don’t have to lean down to it. Support your lower back by placing a rolled-up towel underneath and bend your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle. Place your laptop on your thighs at a comfortable screen-angle.

2) Working at a dining table

Woman Working From Home Using Laptop On Dining Table

This option would likely be for people who don’t have a work desk at home, it does miss some vital elements though as a desk. There’s no really lumbar support and may be too high to work from.

Make sure to have your feet on the ground to create a stable base for your ever-important spine, put a cushion or box on the ground if your feet can’t reach it. Sit on a couple of cushions until your shoulders feel relaxed and put a rolled-up tower behind your back to prevent slouching. You can even consider an external keyboard and put your laptop on a few books.

3) Working on the sofa

With many of us working in the living room, a sofa seems like the most comfortable option as the squishy exterior along with puffy pillows make all so luscious. However, sofas generally don’t allow you to sit with your knees bent and your legs on the ground, so most of us would find ourselves literally tucked in by it.

Sit on the edge so that your feet are on the floor and use pillows as support for your back; place a couple of cushions on your knees to raise your back for support. However, you can also sit on the floor against your sofa as well!

4) Working at the coffee table

The key is to find a position that best replicates the ideal positon: Knees, hips and elbows bent at 90-degrees with the back in a neutral position and our shoulders away from the ears. 

5) Working on the floor

Mid adult woman sitting on floor, leaning on sofa, talking on, using laptop, side view

Yes, it’s considered an option and some of us like the freedom we get from working on the floor as well. 

To do so, use a small table as a makeshift desk and sit on a cushion or yoga bolster. Vary your sitting position every now and then from crossing yourlegs to sitting in a squat or on a cushion; this would ensure that your pelvis, hip and spine would be more free and mobile.

6) Using a kitchen top etc as a standing desk

You might not think of this, but expert to suggest it brings a whole new perspective to working from home.

Find a high surface such as a kitchen worktop that is high enough to be at elbow height; just simply stand while working on your laptop placed on the surface. Make sure that you’re typing at elbow height and that your shoulders feel relaxed. You might also consider putting something soft like a rug under your feet to stand on.

Don’t stick with just one of these positions, mix and match instead to make working from home that less back-aching, literally.

Tired of Covid-19? Here are 3 Ways the Pandemic Could Be Considered Over

The world has adjusted to the ever-worsening scene of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Malaysia has also gone through multiple movement control orders to date. In the midst of all this mayhem, you couldn’t help but wonder, when will this pandemic end?

A pandemic is an epidemic, but worldwide; Covid-19 was declared as a pandemic in March 2020 and things have been stagnant ever since.

By popular definition, the pandemic ends when the virus is no longer present throughout the world or in multiple countries and regions. Here’s a few ways to how that can happen.

1) Vaccine is developed

The most desirable option would be to have a vaccine developed and produced globally; a medical end, think of it as Polio or Hepatitis A and B which all came to an end because of a vaccine.

To date, the companies leading the race for a vaccine are Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech, who have announced a vaccine candidate that demonstrated efficiency against the coronavirus. It is projected that global production of a successful vaccine candidate could start as early as the end of 2020.

2) Numbers reduce

Considered a medical end as well, it’ll be how the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 ended where the infectants either died or simply developed immunity.

As of November 11th, Malaysia has 42,000 cases in total; there are 51 million cases worldwide and over 1.27 million deaths. Numbers in Malaysia have been worrying high as well as the nation is pondering around the dreaded four-figured daily new cases every few days and the numbers are relatively above the 800 to 900 peak at average.

3) People simply get tired of it

Yes, it’s a way to bring a pandemic to an “end”. Considered more of a social ending, it is not an actual ending where the disease is wiped out from the face of the earth.

In this case, people simply get tired of living in fear and learn to live in a world with the disease; although, the disease may continue to spread nonetheless, which would delay an eventual medical end.

Covid-19 Vaccines Could Be Available As Soon As in Early 2021

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech announced yesterday that their mRNA-based vaccine candidate – BNT162b against the SARS-CoV-2 virus has demonstrated efficiency in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.

With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”

Phase 3 of the trials has enrolled over 43,000 participants to date and 38,000 of those have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 8th 2020; it is expected to continue through the final analysis and will then be evaluated for protection and prevention against Covid-19.

Participants will then be monitored for long-term protection for an additional two years after receiving their second dose.

The companies believe that they will soon be able to align data across all Covid-19 vaccine studies to prepare the necessary safety and manufacturing data for the FDA.

Current projections expect global production of up to 50 million doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Two Words Woke This Man Up from A Coma – Chicken Fillets

A young man in Taiwan who had fell in a coma after a major traffic accident, had miraculously woke up after his brother merely mentioned two words – chicken fillet (雞排).

The 18-year-old man who goes by Chiu was involved in a road accident in July earlier this year; he was riding his scooter when involved in a collision that had led to serious damage to multiple of his organs.

He was rushed to the hospital where he was rated with a coma index of three; according to Hsieh Tsung-hsin, director of the Intensive Care Unit at Ton Yen General Hospital, Chiu had suffered subdural hydrops, pneumothorax, laceration of spleen, right kidney, and liver, bleeding from abdominal cavity fractures, common iliac artery bleeding, and most of his internal organs were seriously damaged. 

Doctors were then able to stabilize his condition, but still fell into a deeper coma later on.

During his hospitalization, he had gone through six operations and a nurse at the hospital mentioned that Chiu went through a constant “tug of war with the god of death” with his family by his side, praying that he would wake up soon.

A miracle would then happen on his 62nd day in a coma; his older brother joked “Brother, I’m going to eat you your favorite chicken fillet.”. Unexpectedly, Chiu’s pulse began to rise and he eventually regain consciousness with stabilized vital signs. 

Chiu (Second From Left) With the Staff at Ton Yen General Hospital

Chiu has since made a full recovery and has been discharged from the hospital for some time; although, Chiu has recently returned  with a cake to thank the medical team for their work during his 63 day stay at the hospital.

Malaysian Aunty Shows That Kindness is Always Possible

As the world goes through a tough time with the ongoing public health crisis and politicking that has shrouded the nation in anything but peace, a story of a how a local freelancer has proved to the public that kindness is always possible.

In a thread of nine tweets, the user @adamzainaal talks about his experience that started off when he realized he did not have enough cash on hand to pay for his parking ticket.

While walking away from the parking ticket machine, he crossed paths with a Chinese aunty who then ask “kenapa dik?”. 

After telling her about how he lacked the two ringgit cash for his parking ticket, the aunty proceeded to take out her purse and insisted on paying the remaining amount.

Although he insisted that he would just grabbed some spare change from his car, the aunty then told him “we’ve all been there, and dunia sekarang pon tengah kelam kabut. Be nice to one and another alright?”

The man decided to help out with the aunty’s groceries in order to repay her deed; after talking on the way back to their cars, “she was saying that shes sad that her daughter couldnt come home from the US (she works there) for christmas. She bought christmas decos from ikea and then asked me how was my raya during the pandemic” he tweeted.

“I told her it was aite la as long i get to see my family also. And she really smiled hearing that. She mentioned that she hasnt been seeing her daughter since last year new years and she honestly dont know when can she come back. And as i was loading all of her stuff in her car-

“Then i noticed she took out her purse again. She wanted to pay me for helping her putting her stuff in the car. She legit took out rm50 and wanted to give it to me because i told her i’m a freelancer (in translation susah nak dapat job at the moment) but i declined it.”

Upon reaching home, the freelancer discovered the RM50 bill again as it was apparently snuck into his Ikea bag by the aunty, much to his surprise.

He then ended the thread by stating that he now has the RM50 placed on his magnet board for emergencies only and also as a reminder the aunty.

“Act of kindness is random,free, and 0 energy. This story i shared, is one of the kindness that i received by strangers out of… many. It really shows that there are people who are genuinely baik.” he said.

Budget 2021 To Focus on The People and Save the Economy

As the nation awaits the tabling of Budget 2021 on November 6th, tensions are rising amid the political turmoil on whether it will be passed in parliament.

To ensure that no unnecessary debates arise, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has declared that Budget 2021 of the utmost importance and he stays concerned about the anxiety felt among the people regarding the ever-rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Apart from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the budget should also be adjusted to suffice that of the economy and the people.

Covid-19 Crisis

“This budget is very crucial because 2021 is the year we hope we can show some good recovery. But it all depends on how we manage the crisis.” Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz shared with NST in an interview.

The focus of it is also on people’s lives and livelihoods amid the global health crisis as expectations are said to be high towards helping the people affected. The government would have to find ways to balance out these two factors in place.

“We have seen some good recovery, but it is important that we sustain this. The only way to sustain this is to ensure that Covid-19 is properly controlled.” he said.

Economy crisis

Covid-19 measures should rightfully take priority but experts are suggesting an economy safe from external threats in the future.

Professor Yeah Kim Leng of Sunway University Business School told Malay Mail that the focus should be on controlling the pandemic as consumers and business would always feel threatened by it which would bring long-term harm towards spending and investing for livelihoods.

He also added that the budget should also be capable enough of handling firms and households who are distressed and also to prevent more retrenchments of businesses.

Speaking more about dealing with two issues at once, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak economist Barjoyai Bardai said that the government has already initiated the move for such plans.

“Going into mega projects to spur the economy like before will not work. The government has already announced several mega projects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and so on. This time we need to change course.

“What we need is to massively build human resources now that we are rapidly moving into Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0.” he said, noting that Khazanah Research Institute recently found automation is quickly taking over jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Budget 2021 is to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow by the finance minister.

Tracking Covid-19 in Malaysia and Where It All Went Back to Square One

The first person to be infected by the coronavirus came back in February 3rd this year, with the individual being a businessman from a meeting that was also attended by a delegation from China.

Ever since, the coronavirus had spiraled out of control with a record high cases of 1,240 on October 26th and a conditional movement control order (CMCO) imposed in Sabah and parts of Klang Valley.

Back in January when the virus first landed on Malaysian soil, it was detected on travelers from China arriving in Johor via Singapore. Cases remained relatively low and was considered under control when compared to other countries, it wasn’t until when local clusters begin to surface in March that breached the 2,000 mark with active cases.

March: Movement Control Order (MCO)

PERAK 20-03-2020. Police performed road block at Jalan Kuala Kangsar here following the movement control order tu curb the spread of Covid-19 infection.MALAY MAIL/Farhan Najib

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a nationwide movement control order on March 13th with it intended to curb the spread and enforce social distancing guidelines. By the 16th, it was made known to the public that MCO would be in effect from the 18th until the 31st of March, it was then extended for an additional two weeks until April 14thfollowing a still constant number of high cases between the 100 and 200 mark. It was later further pushed until the April 28th and to May 12th consequently.

Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO)

After a majority of days with cases staying below the 100 mark, a conditional movement control order (CMCO) was implemented which allowed business to re-open under strict standard operating procedures (SOP).

June: An all-time low of cases leading to RMCO


After recording an all-time low of 2 new cases at that time on June 10th, it was decided that it was time that the nation move into recovery mode, a recovery movement control order (RMCO) that was to expire on August 31st. It was then extended until December 31st with selected sectors remained closed and travel restrictions from external countries.

July, August: A stagnantly reassuring and quiet time

SAM THAM/The Star Reporter

The first of July saw just 1 new case, yes you read that right. Cases largely remained single digits and well below the 20, 30 and 40 mark, signs were that the public were starting to regain the much needed trust in the government as they have done what they’re promised so far and days were seemingly going to be that less worrying.

September: Sabah elections 

Even though many weren’t in favor to have it happen at times like this, the Sabah state election carried on as planned on September 26th. Experts are saying this is where the advantage was given back to the virus.

While many politicians and more members of the public in Sabah were out for the political campaigns, numbers were rising steadily as seen with 6 new cases on the 6th of September going up to 101 on the 29th of September even with strict SOPs in place.

On top of that, several high level-ministers and government personnel were questioned for not being in quarantine after travelling throughout states for election and governmental affairs. There was also the case of Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali flouting a 2-week quarantine upon returning from Turkey, which sparked the talk of how the government is practicing a double-standard with the strict SOPs in place.

October: Post-Sabah elections

(STAND ALONE) Party worker putting up party flag and poster party flag during Sabah Election. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

The country’s fight against the pandemic took a turn for the worst as clusters in Sabah began emerging after the state election, positive daily cases in Sabah took off with 118 at the beginning of October to having 957 at the turn of November and bringing the total cases in Sabah itself to 15,692, more than half of the total positive cases in the country.

Another surge was also taking place in Selangor with the current total number going up as high as 5,000 positive cases in the state itself.

Back to square one: CMCO and EMCO

Total positive cases in the country have gone past the 30,000 mark and the CMCO is already implemented in Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya; this also has been extended by another two weeks until Nov 9th.

EMCO has been declared in three villages in Kudat, Sabah, namely Kampung Pengaraban, Kampung Tanjung Kapur and Kampung Landong Ayang, starting on Oct 30th to Nov 12th.

The country’s total positive cases has gone from 9,175 in mid-August to 32,505 positive cases and 249 deaths as of November 1st.