“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go” – Dr. Seuss
Even prior to the Covid19 pandemic, some companies did have a temporary work from home model, given the increasing and constantly evolving technologies that made remote work possible. These technologies, coupled with texting and email, ensure that being in office full-time is no longer a requirement and several jobs can actually be done as efficiently from home, saving onerous travel for such employees. In fact, companies that offer work from home/work from anywhere are actually able to lower their organizational costs, boost employee morale and productivity, and bring down attrition. Some of the best examples of work from home jobs are customer tech support, recruitment, writing, and other complex jobs that do not require much teamwork/collaboration or support. Further, in the face of a manmade or natural disaster, a distributed and work from home workforce can ensure workplace and operational continuity. Working from home is set to become one of fastest and largest form of global transformation in the history of employment – the pandemic Covid19 has certainly taught us several great practices. Since working from home seems inevitable for most jobs, let us look at tips on being effective while working within this model. This effectively means allowing minimal disruptions, maximizing output, and ensuring self-care as well.
Set and Follow Ground Rules
Ensure that your employer informs you of the rules and schedules required to work from home. Most employers reimburse internet and some electricity costs, food and miscellaneous expenses, and other costs. They would also need to provide network access, a set of individual passcodes, remote login instructions, and even a two-factor authentication process. If you are self-employed, ensure that you consistently check Wi-Fi connectivity and security. Both employed and self-employed must set work rules and stick to them in order to remain productive.
A Functional and Separate Workspace
Most people have been forced to work from home, and hence would not have a designated work from home office or even space for this. However, in order to work effectively it is critical to design such a workspace, keeping it exclusively for work. In whatever manner you decide to create your workspace, ensure that it is free from encumbrance and disturbance during your work hours.
Check and Revamp Internet Connection
If you live in an area with slow or erratic internet connection, it would be wise to let your employer know such that the required changes can be affected. Keeping your workspace closest to the router can enable a steady and speedier connection. Regularly check internet speed using the available online speed tests. Update your employer in the event of recurring problems.
Phone Apps are Effective
Long distance calls, if required, are better and cheaper with apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangouts and others. The calls on these apps are free if all those on the calls use the same app.
Work as though at Office
Working from home can prove to be challenging if you are prone to being distracted or there are several distractions around. It would help to use headphones (noise-cancelling ones, if possible) – you may need to speak with your employer for this. If you have young children, ensure that they understand your work responsibilities, and if possible have someone (your spouse or neighbor) look after them in turns with you. Minimizing distractions can help to improve efficiency and productivity.
Schedule Calls/Social Interactions/Meetings
When at office one is surrounded by co-workers and there is a constant buzz of activity. Working from home can prove tough since it means working in solitude and without the encouragement and support of co-workers. In order to do away with feelings of isolation and ‘confinement’, it would help to schedule intermittent calls, video meetings and chats, or even an exercise break. Remember to make time for your meals and some rest too!
Working from home can be empowering, cost saving, profitable and even exciting or it can be challenging, onerous, and outright fearful – all depends on how you manage your work and yourself. Whether you are self-employed, a gig worker, a part-time worker, or a full-time employee, working from home is possibly a long-term reality now and it would be best to plan it accordingly. The freedom is accompanied by rigorous planning, self-control and discipline, and a focused approach to work. Working from home is not easy – it is just working from a different location, albeit with more distractions. Connect with us to know how you can enjoy working from home and feel empowered.