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Way before even Corona Virus Outbreak that has got many to stay at home and work equally productively, I had worked from home when I was on a maternity sabbatical as an expat wife. Even then and now, I have believed that one needs to prepare a certain mindset to keep the work area and personal space separately and spread the right vibe to make such stay-put-at-home experiences enjoyable and productive at the same time.
Here are a few that you can do in the next 10 days to effectively work from home and not drive anyone and self go crazy:
First, get into the habit of changing your pyjamas to the same kinds of clothes that you would dress up for office days. It not only preps you up for any sudden videoconference requests but also it acts on your conscience to be more alert, conscious and connected with office vibes.
Where, creating a schedule is important than working when you find the time, sticking to it makes your effort more sustainable and as a routine. By communicating the schedule to your family members, you could render support in advance as well as they will be prepared to see you more occupied in certain wee hours of work day.
Easier said than done; however, the collaborative communication with family members will allow you to hop with everyone’s requirement to use the Internet, call in visitors and neighbors only when really necessary and avoid screen usage by at your crucial work hours.
The newfound liberty can set in more complacency or feeling of being in complete control of your time can bring smug attitude towards tasks schedule.
Remember your objective to work from home. Any deviation from that ultimate purpose could allow oneself to slouch and ease up in a catnap. In fact, where you are not used to stay at home, sudden mandate and the resulting slowness at to drive out sullen and sleepy composure on a daily basis.
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If you were always waking up at 6:30 AM, suggest you a keep a buffer of 15 minutes to prepare yourself with the start of the day. You have handy helpers however, with summer vacations coinciding with the mandate, you will have hands full to manage your child’s schedule along with yours. Packing in few extra hours in the morning will only increase your energy levels, productivity, and resilience to take up the day.
Working from home can get quite lonesome or earily quiet. As human beings are social animals, they love to interact and work in groups. Again, we are also used to a certain level of ‘noise’ in working spaces, which may not be prevalent when you work from home. To maintain some healthy level of noise at home, music or television could help you to cope up with quiet environment.
As you get swayed with many roles and hats that you don, it is quite possible to not have a set working hours format. As deliverables can go delayed, you may see yourself burning the midnight oil too often. Overworking can take a toll over your health even if it is being done from the true comfort of your home.
As you are completely cut off from the reel – world, the real – world can get quite lonely. Reel – world is when you lead from the front and perform at your office. But at home, apart from virtual or videoconferences, you need to also hold random or purposeless conversations after work with people. This will help you to socialize as well as ease the pressure to perform in home confinement.
Do not pick up house chores randomly. They can be draining your time and distracting you from your work goals. Try to keep a set pattern and time slots to avoid any expectation hassles and mismatch.
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Do you want your team members to check in every morning and evening before they sign off? Do you prefer to have all updates on email or on calls everyday? The more guidance and direction you provide, there will be fewer misunderstanding. Again your teammates could be working in different time zones and will need to adopt good time and planning techniques to ensure fluid communication. Although HR can be involved in ensuring sharing best practices of remote working, clarifying your team’s expectations from you and vice-versa will ensure clear communication.
Work from home workers need to be alert and proactive on taking daily checks on how the team is progressing and ‘actually’ working. To leave out ambiguity and conflicts, it is highly recommended to send a list of expected deliverables for the day. Do remember that working remotely drastically changes people interactions but it may not change people intentions. Suddenly teams may not start going unethical and boisterous in using their time. So, where one should refrain from micro managing every second, monitoring the tasks at the end of the day will streamline any concerns in the pipeline.
Many people who work from home has a complacent eye to health and hygiene. Your morning exercise routine and choice of clothes will largely set the mood. In fact, I have seen many who do not take a shower in the morning and dress in their PJs only. Do not let homeliness set in your dressing style to avoid looking too casual or laid-back.
Again, keeping a track of your food intake and exercise routine will do a world of good to you. Staying away from comfort-eating at home and imbibing regular breaks for quick walks will keep the health requirements in place. Pack in few upper body and lower body workouts and take a quick walk to rejuvenate yourself with necessary levels of oxygen.
At the end, you work from home by aligning yourself with the organizational values and culture. If you normally interact with your colleagues on a daily basis, then stay tuned with that culture. If an email supports every videoconference, then continue recording and sharing minutes. If your office follows a certain dress code, keep yourself prepared in it in all video interactions. Do not cancel your one-on-one meetings because you find the virtual platform difficult. Go out of the way to break the barriers of communication resulting out of remote working situations.
As managers and leaders of tomorrow, we are expected to orchestrate situational leadership style. As rightly said, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going! And you need to cope up and adjust to this new style of working with little self-care and self-discipline. At the same time, being kind to yourself and other stakeholders of your communication while struggling with this new reality is the new mantra.
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