WHO has officially declared COVID -19 aka Corona Virus as a pandemic and the whole world is on red-alert. Since the virus is highly contagious, governments are instructing people to limit their social interactions to a minimum. Since workplaces have the most social interactions, they are at the greatest risk of becoming a breeding ground for COVID – 19. Many large organizations across the world including, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Spotify etc have closed down their offices and instructed employees to work from home.
Seeing these giants’ responses to the Corona Virus, many local companies have also started giving their employees work from home (WFH). It is important to understand the dire need for WFH at this point in time.
The question, however, is how to make it as effective as we can. Let us look at some ways we can make our WFH productive:
- FIRST THINGS FIRST
The first step is to wake up on during office hours, take a shower and start your work with a fresh and open mind. Just because you are in your pajamas doesn’t mean you start taking it non-seriously. When you wake up early, have your morning coffee and get into fresh and neat clothes, so the mind is ready for work. Remember it is not a holiday, you still have to work from 9 am to 6 pm even if its from the comfort of your home. You have to treat it like a real job!
- MAKE A SEPARATE SETUP
You don’t need to have a fancy desk or a separate room to work from home, you can just get your nightstand and put it in a different spot in the corner or at a place where you can focus more. Make sure you sit in an upright chair and not on your comfy bed. It is important to make yourself feel like you are at work, even at home to produce quality work.
Make sure that you have a proper internet connection that does not interfere in your communications with your boss, manager or team. In case your internet is acting up, try opting for Spectrum internet packages for a reliable, fast and affordable internet connection that is sure to improve your quality work and save your time with slow loading webpages, or videos.
- COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY
This is especially important if your firm or company is used to the in-house style of working rather than remote. If you are the manager, then make sure to have effective communication with your employees. Make sure you convey your agenda for the day and your expectations clearly. It is possible that a communication barrier forms since some tasks are done better when you are present in the office as it is easier to change instructions. However, when working remotely, make sure your chain of command is clear and you communicate even the smallest of things to your workers.
If you are an employee, then make sure you ask questions. Get clear instructions from your employe so that there is no misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Your manager might not be used to this new way of managing staff and might get overwhelmed and forget things, but you have to take it as your duty to be proactive and demand instructions. Call them up directly if they don’t mind.
- DON’T FEEL ISOLATED
It may take you some time to get accustomed to the change. You might feel a little isolated to be locked in a room in your own home for 8 hours with no colleagues to talk to. Make sure you take breaks in between, have a snack, tea or coffee, have a group voice call over zoom, Skype or whichever medium you use for your office work.
Remember to drink lots of water. Take water breaks of 5-10 minutes and spend time with your family. If you live alone use this time to breathe and relax for a few minutes. You should take breaks to exercise and meditate as it takes your mind off stress and freshens you up. If you are the manager have an informal voice call with your team to discuss the progress of the day or plan a video call once or twice a week. Try to do it on a lighter note so that your employees can open up to you and not feel isolated.
Both sides of the picture
WFH has its bright sides and downsides, but let us focus on the benefits of working from home.
The COVID – 19 situations has given us a chance to spend our time productively. There is nothing more you can do about this outbreak than to be cautious of your surroundings and take care of hygiene. Worrying only weakens your immune system so just try to make most of the time you have on your hands at the moment.
You are saving a lot of time that you usually spend on a commute or getting ready for work. Go read that book you have been planning to read but never found time. You have extra time to spend with your mom and dad. Most schools are also closed so this a great time to teach your kids something productive and make good use of the time with them. This is the time to learn that extra skill online that you always wanted to, but amidst all the work and fast-paced life, never found the right moment – this is your moment. The skills you learn will help you on your job as well. Who knows you might get a promotion once this ordeal is over.
Reflect on yourself, discover your values, desires and organize your life. It is very important to have discipline.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Working from home might be more stressful than your daily household chores, but once you get used to it, you will feel okay. With the Corona outbreak, nobody is sure till when schools will be closed and for how long people will need to work from home. Look out for each other and lift each other’s spirits. Don’t let the situation push you into stocking toilet papers, focus on the things that matter.
Practice hygiene and all the precautionary measures. Keep your phones, laptops and other gadgets clean and disinfected as well, just because you are at home doesn’t mean you are 100% safe. We all must keep a sane mind, especially if you are a manager try to keep your team’s and your morale high and practice more kindness than you usually do.