COVID-19 has forced us all to stay home for our good. The lockdown and social distancing might seem inconvenient but these are the only ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Over the last couple of weeks, all sectors of industry have asked their employees to work from home (WFH). If your work can be done through your computer alone, then you too are possibly working from home right now. Here are a few ways you can make WFH simpler and enhance your productivity!
Steps to make work from home easy
Since we are all accustomed to working in an office, getting used to WFH can be a little challenging. But can deadlines and clients wait? No! That is why you have to get used to this new routine ASAP.
1. Find the perfect spot
Chances are you are in lockdown with either your family or flatmates (if you are working in another city). So you need your own little space where you can work uninterrupted and without distractions. How do you do that?
The solution – Work from your room.
Close your door to block out noise. If there are children in the house strictly tell them your room is off bounds. Request others to respect your privacy. You can join them and help with tasks once your work is done. But during work, they will have to pretend you are not there.
Mute all social media notifications.
2. Make sure you have all the work essentials ready
Ensure that your desktop or laptop is in order and the software you need is installed. You must have access to high-speed internet. You will require a table and an ergonomic chair that will keep you comfortable yet alert for the entire duration of work from home.
You will also need power sockets nearby. Keep your chargers, notepad and pens with you. Does your work require skyping or videoconferencing? Then you must have a background that looks somewhat professional and suitable to be seen by colleagues, clients and bosses.
3. Establish a routine
If you are living with flatmates or your spouse, you have to delegate all tasks such as cooking, cleaning and washing evenly among yourselves so that both chores and office work can get done without any hitches.
If you are with your parents, then help them with the household work and do your essential grocery shopping either in the morning before you start work or later in the evening. Make a list of things that need to be purchased so that you don’t have to go out repeatedly.
Do you and your spouse have a child? Then your child too will be home all day as schools are closed. The two of you will have to take it in turns to help the kid with homework and keep him/her entertained.
4. Technology can help
Do you work with a team at your office? Communication problems may arise due to WFH, instructions may not be relayed on time and teamwork can slow down.
How can you solve communication problems? Use Slack or Google Hangouts to communicate or video call as a group. Similarly, Asana and Trello can help you keep track of your team’s projects, progress, to-do lists and chalk up a plan of action.
Always be available on call. Your boss or manager needs to be able to reach you during work hours. Try video calling, voice calling or simply phoning a colleague instead of sending emails for routine queries to ensure that no notification or update goes unnoticed.
If you are the manager or team leader, then the onus is on you to raise your team’s morale. There should be video chats with the whole team regarding non-work topics where you should enquire after their health and safety in these times of distress.
5. Take small breaks
Did you know that breaks are good for your brain and eyes? At work, you can stop for a little chat with a colleague or take a coffee break. But when you are working from home, you may forget to take breaks.
Schedule an alarm every hour to remind you to take a break for 5 minutes. Drink coffee, walk around or stretch your legs to relax during this time.
We all need to take WHF as seriously as working from the office. Don’t give your boss an excuse to claim that you have been sluggish in your assignments. While WFH may seem complicated at first, you will soon get the hang of it. But above all else, stay home, avoid non-essential travel and stay safe.