work from home, remote working, productivity

Work from home is the new normal

About 74% of CFOs surveyed by Gartner expect at least 5-10% of their employees to continue working from home after the pandemic ends. In addition to that, Twitter announced that its employees can now work from home ‘forever’. Some of the world’s biggest companies (Hint: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.) were the first to launch extensive WFH policies. And they seem to be in no hurry to bring their employees back to offices.

With no clear end visible of the pandemic, health experts are advising that social distancing is the only way to contain and minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. And the only way for businesses to stay afloat and also to maintain productivity is enabling remote working capabilities.


Worried about productivity while working from home?

While it’s true that working from home liberates you from the daily commute, and allows for more family time. It is also true that one needs to put in that extra effort to get as much done as you would in office.

Working parents and even those living alone can have a hard time really putting their time to the best use, given their work environment. Whether it’s done out of necessity or choice, working from home has both pros and cons.

To help you put on your working-at-home hat and make you productive, here are some tips to keep you going as you work from home:


Create ‘work triggers’

Your daily routine before the pandemic of getting ready and commuting to work helped in getting ready for the day. Similarly, create a trigger to get yourself ready to start a working day from home. It could be exercising, reading the news or even the same old cup of tea. Distractions are one of the biggest challenges while working from home. Use these triggers (like a tea break in the middle of the day, similar to a day at the office) to get back on track.


Choose a permanent workspace

One of the very first steps to enhance productivity during the usual work from home day is to build a suitable workstation with proper tools in your home. This could be an empty or spare space in your house that can easily be converted into a home office. Your workstation should have a comfortable chair that will keep your back straight and supported. This helps you to concentrate on your work without any posture strain. Ideally, a home office should be within a quiet area of your house with minimum distraction and far from your bed and couch.


Setting priorities and building a to-do list

Staying focus on your daily tasks is one of the major steps to be optimistic while working from home. One of the best ways to stay focused is to develop a hierarchical framework of your daily and weekly tasks with your supervisor and teammates. Planning a day as per priorities is sure to get you going. This little effort gives an extra push to finish your tasks timely. In addition to making a to-do list, using a personal calendar or planner helps you to keep track of deadlines, meetings, and appointments.


Shaping your day as a normal day at work

Building a mindset as if you will be working from an ‘office’ will allow you to stay mentally connected with your work. For this, you would have to follow your normal office-day routines like setting up alarm at the same time, preparing breakfast, and following your other morning habits. For the dress code, keep it comfortable. Working in pajamas is not a great idea. (P.S. It kills the work vibe.)

If you’re used to working for a set number of hours in a day, say 9 AM to 6 PM, stick to the same at home. More often than not, when you’re working from home, lines seem to blur between ‘work time’ and time for yourself. Not ‘packing up for the day’ may nudge you into overworking. Keep an eye on the clock.


Avoid social media during work hours

Unfortunately, one of the most distracting aspects of today’s digital world is social media. Picking up your devices every 15-20 minutes is only going to delay your work and push you down the rabbit hole. While working from home, it’s easier than ever to get distracted by a video on YouTube or an Instagram update. The best way to channel these digital distractions is to savor your share of social media within your break times.


Practice self-care

One of the most important aspects while working from home is to keep energy levels boosted. Regular physical exercise is the best solution to remain energetic through a working day at home. A daily workout keeps your heart healthy and the mind fresh. A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reported that inactive people could increase energy by 20% and decrease fatigue almost by 65% through a daily basis low-intensity exercise only.


Communicate and collaborate often

It is important to stay connected to your teams and organization. It’s natural to feel disconnected from your company if you go without contact for a long time. Communication is key to success in any role, and more important when you work from home because you’re no longer just a few desks away from your co-workers. Use video conferencing or online chat tools to stay connected with your team.


Overcoming obstacles: Business Ops & Work From Home

COVID-19 transformed business operations overnight. The only way you can be successful in working from home and getting accustomed to the new normal is by being proactive. An all-in-one remote working solution is what brands need to keep a check on quality as well as productivity for their employees (and more so for their support teams.)

With the crunch of space, time, health, and financial concerns work from home is tougher for more people than we realize. But at least business operations for most brands, while impaired, are still on. Being empathetic and kind is the least we can do, while the world battles through this pandemic.


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