The recent coronavirus pandemic is a global threat no one expected the world would face. The sudden outbreak has affected the entire world. Although, having just flu-like symptoms, if not taken proper attention and care, the virus can prove fatal. Currently, 213 countries are affected, with 5.8 million no. of infected people, and more than 3 lakh casualties,
Looking at the severity of its spread, the Indian government announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country on the 24th of March, 2020. Owing to this step, most of the organizations worked from home during the lockdown. Now remote work or work from home is a concept not everyone has experienced. Remote work is mostly available to organizations with their teams scattered across the country or globe.
This became a first-hand experience for most people and many found it difficult to adjust to the new routine. Employees were mostly juggling between official work and household chores. As the lockdown opened up in phases across the country and in cities, some organizations chose to retreat back to their offices while some are continuing to work from home. Thus businesses are now looking for solutions that will ensure that business continuity is not hampered.
While everybody must have heard or read tips and trick of working from home – for instance – staying online, constant communication with the team, being hygienic, strictly following the working hours, dressing for work, etc., here are a few tips to help get through the difficult time and how to manage work efficiently.
Planning the day is the most important to finish the first thing in the morning. Since people are at home now, they have to take care of both the work and household errands. So it gets essential to plan the day, where enough time is given to both. It comes in handy to leverage the productive and non-productive hours to use. For instance, home errands can be assigned after lunch, since this is the time where people feel dozy. As the day progresses, laziness drops in and the crucial tasks may remain incomplete. So, it’s always good to start fresh in the morning and finish off the most important tasks first.
Now that people have no one to report to (figuratively), they are their own boss. Although daily meetings and updates are going to happen, employees have to take a certain amount of ownership of their work, since they are working alone. This is the best time to learn responsibility for the work. Taking ownership of tasks, connecting with people to get things done is now at each individual’s hands. This ability will help in the long run as people step forward in their career.
Being at home for such a long time, while handling both the worlds can get tiresome. Initially, employees may like it – it may be a dream come true for them to work from their homes. But truth be told, eventually, everybody will get frustrated being stuck in one place for so long. People need to vent out their frustration, boredom, laziness in some way. Exercising or meditating is a very good option. Start your day with meditation for peace of mind or exercise to stay active for the day.
The time consumed in commuting to the office is now at the employees’ hands. On average people spend 1-1.5 hours daily traveling. Now that they have spare time in their hands, it’s better to make some judicial use of it. Some of the suggestions are – adding the time to the working hours, or using it for some other purposes – like running errands, relaxation time, playing with kids, etc. One thing to ensure is that wherever this time goes, it is for constructive purposes. Wasting that time ruins the whole purpose.
Working from home brings many perks with it. Along with flexibility for working hours, it also gives the freedom and opportunity to upgrade diet. Working in the office, employees munch on various unhealthy options for snacks, and even for lunch (those who do not bring their own lunch). It’s time to rewind that unbalanced diet by bringing in some healthy options at home. Also, now they don’t have to skip any meal. Having a healthy and heavy breakfast, healthy lunch, and light snacks in the evening is way easier now.
As cliché as it may sound, it is extremely important to have an office space at home. This allows the employees to stay active and not doze off. The homely environment can make anybody lazy and skip work. Working on a bed is especially a big NO as it severely decreases productivity. Having a proper desk-chair setup prevents slacking from work, which brings us to our next point.
We all know the importance of having the right sitting posture for our back while working. Slouching is the spine’s primary enemy. That’s why it is not advised to work on a bed or couch or any other comfortable seats. Because one, it makes us lazy and the desire to take nap kicks in stronger, and second, sitting at improper postures for long may severely impact the spinal cord. Hence, it is recommended to sit in a chair straight back while working. It’s even better to take frequent short breaks from work to stay fresh.
While it is important to always be online for the team for better communication and coordination, it is equally important to get in touch with them informally. Connecting with the office friends for an informal chat is a great way of getting fresh air amidst work. It also gives an opportunity to connect with them emotionally and maybe gossip a little bit.
Work from home may give a sense of not working up to the potential since everybody’s bound to slack off a little bit. Some people may tend to over pressurize themselves, working extra hours. Taking too much stress may, in fact, tire the mind and reduce productivity. Optimizing working hours is the right way, and the best way to do it is by following the standard working hours of the office.
Once the dust settles and normalcy kicks in, people are going to get out of their homes. They will be re-joining their offices with vigor, meeting their friends again, and proceeding with the normal routine. But this opportunity of working from home opens up a window of exploring the new way of working. Organizations that succeed in carrying out work through this system may actually implement it partially or completely, to reduce stress and time consumption. It is a brilliant way of incorporating work-life balance.