5 Things I Learnt from Working from Home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced a majority of the working population to work from home, in professions which make such a set-up possible. Ever since the World Health Organization called for the global population to begin exercising “social distancing”, businesses around the world asked its employees to stop reporting at their respected offices and work remotely from their own homes instead. The move was taken to stem the spread of the virus, in accordance with the WHO’s directive.

Businesswoman working from home (WFH)

Work-from-home is not a new practice and has been around for a while in the corporate world now. Usually, businesses allow limited work-from-homes to employees as a perk they can enjoy from time to time. Although some companies have taken this practice a notch up, and offer business positions which can be filled in entirely on a remote basis. The work-life balance provided by remote work positions has been luring many employees to seek out such companies who offer opportunities for remote work.

Many companies advocate against letting employees work from their homes as they preach a culture that believes in micro-management. These companies believe that allowing their employees to work from their own homes instead of working out of the office would hamper their productivity. Well, there is no better time than now for them to be able to change their mind.

Yes, individuals who are used to the rigor of their commute and conditioned to working from an office environment might find it difficult to adjust to working in their home environment initially. However, with a little time and practice, they too will learn how they can balance the demands of both work and home from within their own homes itself.

What we are seeing unfold right now, with every person in a white-collar job working from home, is nothing short of a business transformation. People all over the world are waking up to the reality that the work that they were engaging in, from their office, can very well be completed at home.

Both the employer and the employee benefit from such a work arrangement. The employer no longer has to spend on the cost or maintenance of the physical infrastructure that serves as their office space. By asking employees to telecommute to work, they are expressing respect and sensitivity towards the natural environment. When the company’s employee population no longer has to avail transportation to reach their office location, they are automatically minimizing the company’s carbon footprint. The employees themselves can now spend more time with their family at home, instead of spending long hours at work.

While they might need to learn to compartmentalize better in order to continue to work to their potential from the comfort of their own home, such a set-up is beneficial for their mental and physical health.

Working at a home business

photo credit: Bill Couch / Flickr

WFH Challenges You Could Face and How to Overcome them

Work-from-home might sound like you get to lay around in your pajamas with your laptop open, barely devoting any time or attention to work – it is anything but. Remote work set-ups require discipline and dedication. If you’re not careful, you could spend hours working remotely without getting any closer to meeting your day’s work goals.

You must stay attentive and motivated to completing your work assignment and then resuming with your personal life. Discussed below are common challenges any newbie to a remote work arrangement might face, and how to overcome them –

1. Keeping to Your Daily Routine

Your work set-up might have changed drastically due to the global health crisis brought about by COVID-19, but this doesn’t mean you let your daily routine go for a toss. It is incredibly important that you draw up a new daily routine if required, and then abide by this fresh new routine.

Set clearly defined work hours. You might feel like that could impact the flexibility of your remote work situation, but you will be dedicated to completing your work sooner if you practice setting deadlines for your day’s work.

2. Communicating Well

Remote work situations can take a toll on work communication sometimes when the organization does not have the tools and platforms that facilitate remote work communication.

Most companies use messaging platforms such as Slack besides regular e-mails to communicate amongst themselves. But what about new client communication? You can reach out to them using similar communication app, or, better yet, outsource to a quality answering service or receptionist service – and make your client communication channel open 24/7.

3. Disregarding Distractions

If you’re living with your family, working from home could get tricky. Assign yourself a space from where you intend to work everyday, inform your family members about this space and not to disturb you unless important when you’re there. Additionally, you can keep away from social media when you’re working.

It is important to manage distractions coming your way when you are working from home. If not, they could severely impact your ability to work productively.

4. Not Spending Enough Time on Yourself

Working from home does not mean that you keep working without breaks. No matter where you’re working from, you need to eat your meals on time and give your body a chance to stretch in between. It will benefit your mood and keep you from cramping up due to sitting in the same position for a sustained period of time.

5. Not Spending Enough Time with Family

You don’t need to feel guilty about having a little chat with your spouse during work hours. That’s the beauty of work from home – the fact that you and your spouse can be in each other’s presence even while working at different offices.

WFH

Conclusion

If you are able to follow and practice the suggestions shared above, you should be able to wrap up your work well within time and then have an increased amount of time to dedicate to yourself and your family.

Most predict that the working world will not quite be the same after the COVID-19 contagion is driven away. Perhaps, it is time for the market and the corporates to self-reflect about how they’ve been operating their businesses so far and what changes they could implement, for the betterment of their own selves and the world at large.

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