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With the outbreak of the COVID-19 and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, life is operational in a more or less standstill mode now. Government took strict steps to combat the spread of the deadly virus and ordered to close schools, malls, cinema halls and later on all offices except some of the offices providing essential services to the society. With the revolution of technology in recent times, many of the MNCs and corporates have been providing ‘Work from Home’ facility to its employees. With the complete lockdown of activities and to sustain the economy, employers have an option to allow ‘Work from Home (WFH)’ for the safety of employees and society as a whole.
Keeping connected is of utmost importance at the time of pandemic while keeping social distance and consequent strains from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the employees might be working from remote places and may not be used to this facility, and this might be a challenge for others.
Regardless, below are some of the tips that would help you master ‘Work from home’ strategy:
1. Ideal workspace
Choose a silent and comfortable place in your home with something similar to an office desk- like a desk and a working chair with close access to a charging point for your laptop and/or smartphone. Also, look for an ideal background wall for online meetings and talks with colleagues. Refrain from the couch or bed, as that could trigger a backache and neck problems and isn’t healthy if prolonged.
2. Organize time and space
You have to be tricky with an increased number of responsibilities and distractions while working from home. You have also to manage other distractions e.g. Children at home, household chores etc. besides your time for office work. Keep your desk organised and clean, and keep a notepad, pen, earphones etc. handy at all times. If your partner/spouse is working from home too, incorporate your working schedules and take turns for daily household chores.
3. Train yourself in technology
Work from home is entirely based on your efficiency with technology and software applications chosen by your employer e.g. Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc. Speak to your IT department for any required help or take help from a tech-savvy person in your home. In dire circumstances, you can even watch a Youtube tutorial for a better tech grip.
4. Communicate properly
In WFH, you must always prioritize communication. Stay connected with your team as well as the manager. Refrain from emails and use video chats for queries instead. Let your colleagues know that you are available. Physical isolation is ok, but do not isolate yourself socially. You can even stay connected with your colleagues through non-work related video chats. Keep checking on others, although not excessively, even as a manager.
5. Maintain a strict schedule
Remember even in WFH, you are getting a salary. Set reminders and always stay available for scheduled video conferences and keep some buffer time for the unscheduled ones as well. Stay professional and organise household activities in a manner that does not hamper your work. Coordinate with others at your home by sharing house workload and inform them of your working hours. Try to stick to your office schedule, taking scheduled breaks for yourself.
6. Don’t forget to exercise
In these trying times, please do not forget to stay healthy and fit. Take little strolls around the house in between work-related tasks and munch on some healthy snacks in between. Find an ideal time in your routine for exercise and stay hydrated. Listening to music will help you to focus on your work. Put the tougher tasks for the morning and others for later half. Finding a balance will help you to better fit into a WFH environment.
7. No distractions
WFH makes you more vulnerable to get sucked into non-productivity through distractions like social media, children at home or readily available entertainment, without your team around to keep a check. As explained earlier, keep such distractions for scheduled breaks or after working hours. Better to log out of non-work social media accounts as possible to improve your work efficiency.
A team should always work as a team along with working independently with the sole intention of positively contributing to the nation-building exercise. It is a once for all opportunity of every working professional to prove his/her abilities and grab the opportunity, add value by reading new things, working in isolation and preventing the nation to fight against the pandemic COVID-19.
CA Sunil Kumar Gupta
Founder Chairman, SARC Associates