Thanks to technology, working remotely is not just viable, it is thriving. A large part of the world’s population has shifted from cubicles and workstations to working from the comfort of their homes in the last decade. But, the most pertinent question with this change in trend is - does working remotely help employees be productive? Yes, with the right systems in place, it does.
In the wake of a pandemic like Coronavirus (COVID-19), working from home has become more than a lucrative option. It is now our moral duty, for the safety of our loved ones, to avoid travel, practice social distancing and stay indoors as much as possible.
In the last couple of years, BODians have championed working from home while operating from different cities and different time zones. If you or your organisation is new to the idea and are experiencing a ‘work culture shock’, we have curated an actionable guide to help you sail smoothly in these tough times.
Stay focused & productive while working from home
1. Have a routine & stick to it
If you want to go far, cultivate a routine. Have fixed timings for everything - waking up, checking in, lunch, and even clocking out. As Jagmeet Sidhu, UX Developer, BOD, rightly says, “Work from home doesn’t mean you slack around.”
2. Eat a healthy breakfast
Consuming a healthy breakfast will help you feel energetic and attentive. You will also feel satiated and not go hunting for snacks or stress-eat while working on high-octane tasks.
3. Get dressed
Suiting up for work, like every other week-day, or even wearing a fresh pair of clothes that’s super comfortable before you begin working, will “induce a sense of prepping up for office”, says Divya Rathore, Senior Content Writer, BOD.
4. Set up your work desk
Scan your home for a quiet & comfortable spot, and turn it into your workstation. Keep a diary & pen handy, like you’d do in the office. And, before you set camp, do not forget to look for a charging point nearby.
5. Maintain a good posture
While working from home, you may be tempted to work from your bed, all day long. Overcome it, because you will start slouching after a while and end up with a backache. So, find the most comfortable chair and make it your own.
6. Make a daily checklist
Creating a checklist, first thing in the morning or the night before, will help you visualise your day clearly. Kabir Tambe, Designer, BOD, says, “At times, I find it difficult to keep up with a routine. Making a checklist helps me stay focused.”
7. Stay focused with the Pomodoro technique
Sitting and working all alone can get monotonous. To break the monotony and maintain your focus, follow the famous Pomodoro technique that advises working in 25-minute bursts with multiple 5-minute breaks and fewer 10-minute breaks.
Asmita Paul, People Strategist, BOD shares that during remote meetings and conferences, if your video is not enabled, show that you are present, alert and listening by replying and/or actively participating.
9. Ensure good internet connectivity
Work without disruptions and stay connected through the day. Choose a spot where your WiFi signal is the best or a place where it won’t hang up on you when you need it the most - like an online call or when you’re sending a heavy document.
10. Have a quality computer system
Another way to minimise disruptions while working is to invest in a computer system that doesn’t hang, every now and then. Also, buy a good pair of headphones with mic for seamless online meetings.
11. Let your friends & family know your work schedule
If you are staying with your family or sharing an apartment with your friends, tell them your work timings. If need be, mention that you need to focus deeply on a particular task and any loud noise will divert your attention.
12. Be accountable
Inform your manager or seniors in advance, what you’re striving to accomplish during the day and the timelines that you’d like to set. With this, you won’t feel lost in the day and your team will also be able to plan new tasks, in a better manner.
Stay positive and make the best use of your time
With our normal routines being overturned in a matter of a few weeks, it’s natural that a lot of us are anxious. If it’s any relief, know that this is temporary. To help you maintain your composure and stay positive in these tough times, here’s a few more points that will help you utilise this unique situation the best way you can.
1. Keep moving
Even if it’s inside the house, don’t forget to get up from your desk and walk. Periodic walks are effective in uplifting your mood and helping you concentrate better; they also reduce your screen time.
2. Exercise regularly
While focusing on work is important, taking care of yourself even more so. So, chalk out a routine and practice indoor exercises or yoga to stay healthy, calm and energised. Get adequate sleep and consume a balanced diet.
3. Appreciate yourself at the end of the day
Appreciate yourself, celebrate your small victories. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take out time to reflect after a day of productive work, acknowledge all your efforts and come up with strategies to work better.
4. Foster motivation
Try and keep yourself motivated by keeping rewards like a sweet snack or a short break after completing a set task. This will not only help you to increase your productivity but also incentivize tasks for you.
5. Keep calm and listen to music
It is important to take care of your mental health in times of social distancing, so try to do things that make you feel relaxed such as listening to music or practicing breathing exercises during times when you feel anxious.
6. Have virtual ‘coffee/tea’ breaks
If you’re missing your colleagues, go ahead and plan ‘virtual coffee/tea breaks’ with them over video calls. Share your ideas and struggles with them and experience the virtual connection!
7. Utilise free time to pursue a new skill
Sugandh Dhawan, Consultant, BOD, advocates using the time saved from avoiding commute to learn something new like photoshop or coding. You may share your work on social media or even put up live stories teaching others or sharing tips and tricks.
8. Call up your friends & family
Use your extra time to catch up with a long-lost friend or friend on video or audio call. Figure out ways to take virtual tours or holidays to museums or national parks with your friends and family by connecting with the concerned authorities.
9. Pick up the hobby you’ve been meaning to
This is a good time to take up a new hobby like cooking, sketching or painting. Jagmeet Sidhu, UX Developer, BOD says, “A new hobby like cooking is healthier and cheaper than eating out, and it gets you away from a screen.”
10. Stay hydrated
If you’re trying to stay focused, keep yourself hydrated. “Have a water bottle on your desk”, as Divya Rathore, Senior Content Writer, BOD suggests or if you’re using the Pomodoro technique, use your breaks to walk as well as re-hydrate.
11. Take breaks
Don’t overexert yourself and take breaks as and when needed. Try recreational indoor activities like reading a book or playing with your pet during these breaks, so you can get back to work with a fresh mind.
12. Practice empathy
Asmita Paul, People Strategist at BOD, shares “It is important to practice higher levels of empathy with one another. We are all under high levels of stress due to the situation around us. Let’s try and support each other like never before now. We don't need to jump into a conclusion if a colleague does not pick-up our call within the first 2 rings.”
Tools to run the show smoothly
Take full advantage of technology and the internet, discover new apps as well as trust the old ones to stay connected with your colleagues and share with them the latest work updates.
With WhatsApp leading the way, other apps such as Slack, Hangouts and Zoom help users to set up separate communication channels for work as well as conduct video meetings, share documents; picture; videos and more. LinkedIn and Facebook too help people to stay connected and discover new connections while sharing their opinions at the same time. Trello is another app that helps its users to organize and prioritize their work easily. 24me, Checkvist, Google Calendar, Wedo, etc. help users prepare notes, to-do lists, and much more.
Stay safe and work from home
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might be your reason to switch to work from home, practically for the first time ever, but so is the case with many other organisations around the world. Put your faith in your team and leverage technology to continue doing your work as efficiently as you’d do it on any other day. Much of our team works from home on a regular basis, so we hope that our suggestions will help you formulate an effective work from home policy, transition smoothly and also get real work done while enjoying the benefits of being at home.
Stay indoors and don’t forget to wash your hands.
This post was created by many members of Team BOD who work remotely themselves.To understand how you can implement efficient remote working in your organisation, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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