It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in such trying times, when the COVID-19 crisis has impacted our work, business and community. On the one hand, there are essential service providers who toil hard risking their well-being to serve us; on the other, there is a majority of us, who are blessed to have the option to work from home (WFH).
#WFH as a concept may not be new, but for many, the current circumstances present a new experience altogether. WFH requires a lot of discipline and planning. As someone who has worked from home for many years, here is a quick note that may be of help to first-timers:
- It is not a holiday. It is equally important that you not only understand this, but also make your folks at home understand.
- WFH = Office time. Because you have all the time, it does not mean that you work 24X7. Stick to your work time. Be available for calls and online meetings during work time.
- Find a comfortable space for work. It is essential that you plan and find a comfortable space for work. Select any corner of your home that will be your workspace, from where you can work peacefully, take calls without disturbance. Experiment if you have to, in the first few days to find that space that you are comfortable with, but fix a workspace.
- It requires a lot of discipline. While WFH gives you the luxury of pampering yourself for that extra sleep time (even an extra 10 minutes on the bed gives us joy) since it saves commuting time, it does not mean that you can take your time for granted. Discipline is the key and critical for successful work management.
- Plan, Plan and Plan. It is important that you plan your tasks for the day and the week when you work from home. Suddenly you will feel that you have all the time in the world at your disposal. Use the time wisely. Breaking up your tasks to weekly daily activities will ease out the way you work, especially in a new informal environment.
- Stay connected, communicate. Stay in touch with your colleagues, to ensure task completion especially when it involves collaborative work. Send calendars to discuss activities, so that both the sides are prepared. Communicate. Make sure you address all your mails. Set alarms for scheduled meetings so that you are on time for online meetings. This will speak a lot about you as a professional.
- Be ethical. This needs no emphasis. Even when not under supervision, be honest. Take leave if you have personal errands, WFH does not mean less work or work when you want.
- Use this time to upgrade your knowledge. A lot of us get bowed down to tactical work and conversations with colleagues which take up time during office hours. As I said, when you WFH you will suddenly find you have more time at your disposal. Allocate time to read, explore and upgrade your knowledge. This is also an opportunity to think, plan and introspect on how you can be a better professional.
- Health is foremost, and should not take a backseat. When you WFH, you tend to overindulge in eating or snacking frequently. Again discipline is the key here. Continue to practice the same break time while you were at the office. Stick to your lunchtime.
Finally, there is an abundance of articles and guides available on the internet on working from home; pick and practice the one that suits you best. In case you still find challenges in adapting to the new WFH environment, speak to your colleagues or anyone you trust to seek help.
(This article was originally published on the author’s Linkedin page on March 23, 2020 and has been republished with minimal edits, with permission)