The homework for work-from-home
This is the VUCA (read C as COVID-19) world that has opened the possibilities to earn your living from your living room. The definite and drastic shift from the way you have worked thus far is increasingly being evident. As you embrace the changing normal, you need to be more attentive and effective at what you do. You are on your own and got to think well as you own it up. Research establishes that People who are healthy and happy make better workers in any given context. When work gets inside the four boundaries of home, life outside of work should have its space uncompromised. Research indicates that internal conscience coupled with a sense of discipline is a prerequisite for a productive ‘home-workforce’. You do something because it is the right thing to do, not because you feel like doing it and that aids trust that is the underlying foundation of a committed remote worker.
Here are some basic readiness aspects that are imperative to address as we work-from-home:
Remember your work environment has changed and therefore think through as you plan-out working from home so that your focus is intact while you ensure that your new colleagues are not ignored either. Have a team meeting with other family members and pre-agree on a few designated places that are conducive to focused working and that do not interfere in your family’s daily chores. How do you recalibrate the way you work in the changing expectations being at home is equally pertinent to think….so plan well.
You get to choose a setting that inspires you, whether it is working near the window or in another area of the house, you get to pick the most productive spot. Pick up a comfortable chair and a complementing table that does not hurt you in your longish seating. Your seating posture affects your productivity both in the current and in the future as it brings in physical challenges as an add-on gift….thus set well.
Dress as if you are on duty as this has a psychological connect on what you do and how you do it. This also makes you presentable for your planned and unplanned video calls. Declutter the background and things around as that helps you to focus you well.
You also need to have top-notch communication. Be very prompt to respond to any contact from employers. Keep your messages clear, concise, and correct (in other words, read, reread, edit, and then proofread one more time before pressing the send key). To talk well one needs to hear well and it would be a good idea to minimise watching news as that is more damaging than the pandemic and is actually creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. Talk well with your family members as any faltering there might push your mood to swing and that influences your productivity….so phrase it well.
Make that occasional stroll a continued habit within your space and avoid sitting in one place for long hours. Remember that you are not glued. You should ideally be taking a stand up break at minimum every 45 minutes. Explore some simple chair exercises that beat your current fatigue and future ailments. You got to both sit and move well to stay well…so flex well.
No longer you have the magical moments of remembering the to-do list the moment you see her/his face even when she/he is not looking at you. No longer can your colleague walk down to you seeking an update. Be proactive and make it a habit to apprise your colleagues and manager about the progress that you have made. I am sure you too dislike reminders…so apprise well.
You definitely need to feel comfortable in managing soft and hard aspects of your IT tools without an IT administrator right by your side. Be careful to keep your computer and software updated, access to fast internet connection plus a back-up (via mobile tethering, for example). Be capable of troubleshooting basic IT glitches and fixing them. Time is essence in working from home…so fix-IT well.
Do not distance yourself from your team, especially when you are working from home. Keeping in touch virtually as a face-to-face option is a no-no for next few months. Human interfacing is irreplaceable and that adds a summative value to collaborative working. Outbox your thinking and explore much beyond email…try out hangout/skype/WhatsApp/Zoom video calls. Do whatever you can do to remain virtually social. Without face-to-face interaction and a habituated office environment, it can be challenging to stay excited about your work. Given the scenario, the continued social connect can do wonders…try out a virtual coffee break each day…so social well.
So far, you were carrying carefully balanced portions to the office for lunch but the scenario has changed and you are closer to the source that may be tempting. Keep a watch on what you eat while on duty, you still have to give post lunch hours to work. Keep your body well hydrated, as you would normally do when in office. Hope you got it. Even otherwise, while you are confined within home, it is advisable to be careful of your diet in the absence of any physical activity that was part of your daily schedule while you travelled office for work and possibly you miss out on gym as well….so eat well.
You may individually be too good in self-expectation and that might make you a burnout candidate. If you are so driven by work that you will not be able to find a work/life balance. Since, work is always accessible at home; it may cause you to hyper-focus on work throughout the day. Caution is that, although you might be extremely productive for current stretches of time, there is a risk of complete burnout and loss of long-term productivity. Have some no-no time and no-no zones within home to have dedicated family time. Be watchful for “I can do more syndrome” as that can irreversibly affect your relationships at home front…so balance it well.
These few simple aspects shape how we continue to contribute in this changing landscape. Who knows if the changed approach becomes new normal as we run our businesses? Doing your homework well will result in a fruitful work-from-home engagement as that will ensure business continuity and not cost you of your emotional being…so stay well and do well.