The number of companies changing their work culture given the outbreak of Coronavirus in India has increased four-fold in the past one week. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, companies across the globe were forced to relook at their employee welfare decisions. The fastest way to ensure the safety of employees was to issue Work from Home mandates. Here are 10 ways to ensure that you make the most of your ‘time-off’ and yet maintain productivity levels while working from home.
Select your own comfortable space:
Remember your first day at work, when you were allotted a new desk by your boss? Work from Home gives you a chance to work in the comfort of your home, in a niche that you can create for yourself. It’s important to choose a dedicated space for every day. If you are one who prefers to clock in fixed steps, even though all gyms are closed, make sure you take a walk while attending a call; and always pick a place with a good backrest and sufficient lighting – never your bedroom.
You know yourself best, create that vibe in your own home.
Plan your day well:
It is understandable that you are feeling anxious and stressed about everything that is going around. With your work desk shifting into your living room, it’s imperative that you plan your day in advance. Mandatory calendar updates should be a part of your to-do-list so that you chart out schedules accordingly. While work from home seems convenient to many, since you save on travel time, it’s important to maximize productivity. Utilize your travel time to create to-do lists for the day and set expectations so that things are clear between you and your bosses. And never forget to set reminders for important stuff if you are likely to be interrupted during the day; you might enjoy WFH, but delivery boys, errand runners, and housemaids must be attended to. Schedule your work calls for the time that you think you’ll be least productive. Good planning will only lead to increased productivity each day.
Now you know which meetings could be mails!
For effective communication within internal groups, services like Trello, Slack, and WhatsApp offer numerous ways to stay connected. It’s ideal to have a team call first thing in the morning, and the last thing before logging out for the night. Zoom, Skype, Google Duo, and Google Hangouts are great easy to ensure that every member of the team is aligned, and on the same page. Take the chance to draft a clear email with pointers instead of scheduling a zoom call for small things and test how it works.
Organise yourself for scheduled meetings:
Pretend that you are in the office and dress appropriately for your meetings online. Schedule your meetings well in advance and let everyone know who will initiate the call, to create less confusion. Keep yourself on mute, unless it’s your turn to speak. Set strict timelines for meetings and wrap it up in that period. Practice them on a daily basis to ensure that there is no waste of time and energy.
Take timely breaks:
Work from home requires much more discipline and focus than working in an office. Therefore, set deadlines for your break times and do not extend it because no one’s watching you at home. Take the timely breaks to re-energize yourself for work. Rather than just opening a new browser window for YouTube video clips, utilise the break to get away from your desk. Communicate with your family over a cup of coffee.
Crank up communication:
Coronavirus or not, your boss expects you to work on time and update him on progress at regular intervals. Communication is easy and effortless in an office space, but you can practice the same from home by just asking. Request your boss to spare 10 minutes to help you solve an issue – he/she might be able to help you jump over the hurdle in less than a minute, or won’t mind spending 20 minutes to solve the problem. Communicate with your internal teams and have strict guidelines for updating work online. Remember, you are ‘out of sight’ but not ‘out of their minds’.
Know your goals:
Since the past week, more and more companies have realised the utility of work from home and are appreciating employee efforts in this challenging situation. It’s testing time for all businesses to maintain the brand goodwill and consider employee safety as a priority. Whether you’re working on your own hours or as per company working hours, it’s necessary to maintain discipline. Set your goals for the day in the morning and then follow them throughout to maintain work/life balance.
Commit yourself to finish the ‘To-do-List’
While you work from home, you’re bound to get distracted by something always happening in the background, so manage the time accordingly. To capitalize on your most productive period, save your harder task for that time, till then finish everything else. Take calls only after lunch so you can finish a major chunk of work in the morning. The luxury of working from home is truly accomplished when you finish all your commitments on the set deadlines and there is no backlog for the next day.
It’s an incredibly turbulent time for everyone. Let’s just look at the silver linings and help each other grow.
Stay safe, everyone 🙂