Sometimes, something we dream of when it becomes a reality, we have new challenges to adapt it in our life? Work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic is one such situation.
I was always fond of the decentralization of the IT sector. I used to think about how good it would be if someday I could work from a remote village. I could fulfil my professional commitment in parallel with my family responsibilities. In computer terminology, It is something turning myself to a dual-core processor. My productivity would increase with fewer meetings and focused tasks.
But the reality is not always a replica of your dream. When my company announced WFH due to lockdown, I was so happy and energetic to adopt this new way of working. But the more I worked in this new model, I understood its real-life challenges. Very soon, it made me realize that WFH would not be what I had an impression of it. So time to time, I observed these challenges and slowly and steadily updated my way of working. Now I am sharing my experiences and tips for a productive and energetic WFH.
Match Your High Productivity Hours With Your Team
I usually love working from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. I find myself more productive in that timeframe. Pre-COVID-19 era, most of my colleagues used to join the office at 11:30 AM or 12:00 PM and left the office after 7:30 PM.
It is quite ok having different working hours in the office setup, but with WFH, we need more overlapping in our timings for our collaborative team efforts. WFH gives us the great flexibility to have our highly productive hours for independent assignment, but at the same time, demand us the overlapping work-time for collaborative team tasks as well. We need to identify a middle way that fulfils both flexibility and team effort for us.
Identifying the office timing in this way also helps you separate your personal life from professional commitments. When it is a long term WFH, a professional who struggles to get core business hours in this culture also struggles in his own life as well.
Takeaway: When identifying your core business productive hour, consider your team timing as well.
Get A Home Office Setup For Work Productivity
At the start, for a daily task, I used to relocate my sitting position in multiple areas in my house. Sometimes, I sit on the couch, next time I could be found at the dining table and after it may be on the floor with a tiny table. For a few days, this approach worked for me, but soon I realized, this is not a long-lasting solution for the working efficiently.
I identified a corner of my house, which was less used by my family member and turned it to a new Home office for me.
Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, no online ecom portal was delivering anything. I contacted a local furniture showroom and purchased a relatively large wooden table and an ergonomic chair. And I am happy with this investment till now.
If you have a home setup with proper furniture, it will give you a feeling like a real office, which has a positive impact on your psychology.
It also has a positive impact on your physical health. An ergonomic chair provides a proper body posture and reduces the possibility of cervical or back pain (a common issue for an IT guy).
Takeaway: office setup needed even if you are working from home.
Stay Off Social Media And Start Socializing At Work
When we work in isolated environments, it is sometimes common to be distracted by surrounding activities. Social media is one such activity that is the most common distractor for almost all of us. Sometimes we are not able to clear-cut the line between when to use the social platform and when to avoid them. Although social interaction is necessary to mitigate this hyper tensed pandemic situation, we need to avoid social media during WFH office hours.
In place of social media, you can take some time to socialize with your team members, share your weekend creativity with them.
During lockdown and WFH, I got to know more about cooking, painting, dancing skills of my colleagues, and I shared my poem, stories, and image/video editing with them. This way, we started understanding others in a better way, and somehow it helped us to form good team bonding.
Takeaway: Be socialize, not a follower of social media
Follow Work From Home Exercise Routine & Healthy Food Habits
Nowadays, our mode of working is different than previous days due to work from home. It is an observation that we become carefree in our comfort zone and ignore our health requirements. As the WFH provides us, that kind of comfort level, it can harm our health to some extent, if we ignore the importance of exercise. So what should we do for it?
- Take a morning breathing exercise or yoga session.
- If possible, go for a walk or run.
- Take multiple short breaks in between day work.
- Blink your eyes in each hour when you are working in front of the computer.
- Always remember to stretch your body multiple times during your working hours.
- Never skip your meals and always plan your work in such a way that it should not conflict with your meal timings.
- Try to ignore junk food and include healthy food in your diet habit.
Takeaway: Health is essential for successful WFH
Be Informed Against Security Risks & Cyber Attack
Sometimes a home internet network can be a challenge for a secure WFH as well. Corporate offices usually have a robust security policy against any cyber-attack or internet fraud. But our home network is not that secure. So it is a must to follow your company’s security guidelines. Some generic guidance is like:
- Whenever required, use a VPN.
- Update your system anti-virus.
- Monitor any suspicious activity in your system (like any unknown, unwanted background process running in the computer)
- Do not click unknown links (it can be a phishing attempt).
There must be regular communication from your company regarding these policies. You must take these all measures carefully, to secure yourself and your company.
Takeaway: Be alert against a security risk
Avoid Family and Friends During Working Hours
When we are at home, it is tough to ignore home. Our family and friends always stay around us. To some extent, in this pandemic, it is good to have all our lovers around us, but it can be a distraction for WFH as well.
So the key to balanced WFH is to avoid friends and family during working hours. Separating your work area helps you to fulfill this need.
You should have a dedicated time for your friends and family before or after work hours.
This way, your personal and professional commitments will always remain separate. It will help you enhance your focus and work optimization.
Takeaway: Separate family time from office time
Respect Other’s Time And Communication Channels
When we indulge in work in an isolated environment, sometimes we ignore our colleagues as well. Although it is needed to focus on an assigned task, there are times when our counterparts need help.
In the WFH setup, the need for collaborative team effort increased drastically. So be available in a different mode of communication like Slack, Email, Video/Audio call whenever required. Also, proactively involved in team discussions so that you can plan work in an optimized way.
And one more thing to remember, always respect others’ time. Some checkpoint for this are:
- Be on-time for team meetings and discussion.
- Whenever needed help from others, schedule a meeting in advance.
- Use the official mode of communication (the email, slack or VC which your company officially supporting)
- Wait for others’ replies, never bombard slack messages to individuals or in group chat. Everyone is at home right now, so there is a different stress level for different people.
- Shortlist your queries before meeting so that everyone’s time will spend optimally
Takeaway: Respect other's time
These are takeaways from my current WFH experiences. As time will progress and I will have new experiences, I will surely enhance those in this article. Till then, Happy reading, and if you like my WFH tips, it will be my pleasure if you share it with your colleagues.