For most people that work in tech related companies, working from home (WFH) is nothing new. It is something that you can keep availing every now and then in a genuine effort to balance your work and personal life.
However, when it comes to sustained or even prolonged work from home scenarios, things definitely start to get a bit tricky. Perhaps this is a good time to introduce the “elephant in the room”, which is none other than the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the past few weeks, the notion of work from home has caught millions of professionals by surprise, whether they are in some job or managing their own businesses. WFH is now a necessity rather than choice.
The other factor that makes this WHF a lot trickier is that as I write this post, there is no definite timeline attached to this phase. In contrast, your conventional WFH would generally last no more than a day or couple days at max.
In this post, we will highlight some challenges of WFH in the specific context of the Corona virus outbreak and how you can mitigate the effects of this forced work from home situation and still remain productive, so stay tuned.
No Single Formula
The first thing you need to realize upfront is that the scale of this present WFH scenario is unprecedented. Secondly, every person is different and is working remotely in a different set of circumstances. What works for someone may not necessarily work for you.
You will have to figure out a comfort zone yourself and this will not be hitting the mark right away. You will have to experiment with various options and figure out what works best for you. However, sharing your experiences with others definitely helps.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about working from home is that you’ll think you have lots of more time on your hands to get the same job or tasks done. This thought will surely cross your mind, especially once you factor in the commute time to office as well.
This is a grave miscalculation and you are more likely to fall behind schedule because of this sort of perception. Despite WFH, time management will remain ever more important and is the key to making the most of your time.
Segregate Working Hours
Just as you allocate your employer’s prescribe working hours in a conventional setup, you will have to define clear working hours for remote work. The yardstick is that you’ll strip the commuting time and what all is left is your minimum work hours.
You will have to observe these working hours to the best extent possible, even while working remotely. Although some jobs may be purely based on time independent variables, most jobs require you to remain in attendance for a minimum time span.
Define Your Workspace
This is also one of the common mistakes we tend to make in work from home. We think that we will just remain lying in our bed on sit over our favorite couch and get all the job done real easy. This sort of complacency can really hamper your productivity.
So, it’s important that you dedicate a space that will serve as your workstation during remote work. This area should be relatively isolated from the hustle and bustle of your home so that you can concentrate more on work.
Take Your Family On-Board
In most cases when you are working from home, the family is quite likely to take this for granted and may not hesitate to overwhelm you with some household chores or tasks on the pretext that you are around.
Well, this will be detrimental to your productivity from home. Therefore, you must sit with your family member or room mates, whatever the case may be and urge them not to bother you during your work from home hours.
Define a Work Schedule
In remote work scenarios, an employee may also have the liberty of choosing the work timings. If that is the case, you will first have to identify the times of day when you are most productive and whether you can align this productivity with your work schedule.
Within your working hours, you can further ponder how to prioritize individual tasks over the course of your day. In most cases, the initial few hours of your day tend to be the most productive. So, try to accomplish difficult and complex tasks within this span.
Once you are done with the heavy lifting, you may leave the relatively easier tasks or the ones you find interesting for some reason for end of the day. This way, you will still be able to remain productive even as you approach the less fun part.
Invest in Technology
When working remotely, you will most likely not be able to use all the costly and high tech equipment that is constantly at your disposal at the workplace. Therefore, it is imperative that you invest in technology and gadgets that will improve productivity.
Over time, you will find that you have received your money’s worth in the form of high productivity, a better sense of personal achievement and perhaps an increment or promotion. It goes without saying that your furniture must be comfy and ergonomic.
Develop a Routine
Most people that work in office environments tend to develop a well defined routine over time. By adopting the proper routine, you can better organize your time. The same holds equally true for WFH and you should focus on developing a set routine.
Maintain Physical Health
Prolonged WFH may also make us a touch sluggish or complacent in terms of personal health and fitness. Even if you are working from home, you must indulge in some physical activity, even if it is confined to your home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The few suggestions cited above were in no particular order or preference. These were just a broad set of guidelines that can make your transition from an office work environment to work from home scenario much easy, productive and rewarding.
As the world is bracing for prolonged lockdowns without attaching any timelines, work from home is the new norm rather than exception. Using some of the above insights, you may be able to convert this Covid-19 instilled challenge into opportunity real soon.