The world is working from home. We have no choice but to do our daily work, from home. Kitchen counters turned office tables and bouncy couches turned office chairs are our friends now. But, the difference in our present situation, from that depicted in this meme, is an uncertainty. This time, working from home is not because you have a headache or because you’re still hungover from last night’s party. It’s mandatory, and you’re a part of breaking the chain of a globally spreading pandemic.
No one lets the business suffer. Hence, being the most productive and engaged at your home, while doing your work is important. Here's a guidebook to work from home that takes you through what can be done, to give it our best, even when we know we have to cook and look after the kids. After all, they are home too!
The basics to working from home
There are a few basic rules to increase your productivity while working from home. You don’t have a desk assigned and you don’t have anyone around you, to pat you, call you out loud, or to remind you of something that can be easily forgotten.
So rule no.1 of increasing productivity would be to find your place. Finding a location at home, where you’ll feel the happiest while working (you’re in your pajamas anyway) is important. So once you have a great location, make a plan. Give yourself the agenda for the day and work systematically.
If you follow these two basic rules, you’ll have a pretty productive work from home experience.
Most employees don’t work from home, even when given an option, because of the fear of miscommunication. Clear and effective communication is very important while most of your organization is doing remote work. Team members should communicate effectively with your leader and find out their goals and targets, clearly.
Not being the best at virtual communication (either of the two parties) can be an overwhelming problem. But in this situation, I guess we’ll all have to understand and get comfortable. When you think communication is not clear, go for a face to face chat. A video interview helps ease things out. Bear with the world for some more time, we have to recover.
Avert yourself from isolation
Professor Nicholas Bloom, a TEDx speaker on remote work, explained the situation - “The coronavirus is pushing everyone into this kind of extreme working from home, it is kind of like comparing light exercise to marathon training.” The situation outside is bad and we know it. The hardest part is not staying inside. It is staying inside and working for endless hours, when you have a family, doing the same. It gets especially difficult for parents.
There are endless suggestions to keep the employees going and some are even in the initial stages of implementation. Celebrating birthdays and praising the employees publicly for goals attained, will help divert the attention a bit. A chit-chat time assigned in the daily agenda, for the employees will help ease it out. Most teams start the day with a daily morning huddle. Managers, take note.
This might not be the easiest thing to do right now. You may have a dear one who is sick. Or you may simply be a little upset about the situation outside. Just remember that it is completely normal to be panicked at this time.
When you see stats and numbers about the disease, you will be stressed. It is highly important to keep your calm. A lot of great leaders agree that these weeks are going to be painful, both economically and personally. Getting through it together, by closely communicating with your colleagues is what will keep us sane.
Working from home for weeks can be really taxing on your mental health, and that is exactly why there is this emphasis on communication and keeping up a positive mindset.
Last but not least, I would like to add a few notes to the managers and the employees. It is important to understand that working from home is different. The expectations and the results are going to vary.
This is not a normal day when the employee doesn’t feel like coming to the office. This is a panic-driven situation, and acting accordingly is required. Avoiding the setting of unrealistic goals, and not pushing the employee too far is very important for their mental health.
In a situation such as this, all we can do is hope for the best and hold each other's hands. We might not be able to lift each other up, but we can stay united, stay at home, and prevent the spread of this deadly disease.