W- Work From Home- The New Normal

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We cannot deny the fact that it is a scary time. Never ever we thought we would have to survive through a global pandemic. The news, social media shows so much that it is kind of getting overwhelming for me. India is under lockdown from 24th March 2020 to prevent the disease to spread and flatten the curve. Most of the people have been working from home. Though, this was my hidden wish to spend more time with my kids and get the opportunity to work from home for a very long time.  But Work from home efficiently is a challenge. There are a lot of distractions and disturbances of all sorts. I believe, this lockdown has opened the horizon of taking lot of things online and working from home is the new future for many of us. How do you balance Work from home in this New Normal? With so many things going on.

Work from Home- Survive and thrive in the New Normal

Work from home – How is it helpful ?

Thanks to the lockdown, many organizations have looked into the option of technologies with which the employees can work from home. This has helped employers lower the cost of working and also increased outputs.

Now since you don’t have to commute to and from work , we save a lot on time and money spent on commutation.

You get to work in the comfort of your pajamas.

Challenges at home for Work from home

Work from home is not the perfect situation. Well there is nothing perfect in the world. With Advantages, we have some challenges as well

Since you are at home the main distraction is spending household chores.

With schools also closed and kids around at home, work from home right now has another level of distraction of planning your work around the kids and their schedule.

I wanted to share a few tips I have incorporated to work most efficiently and do justice to my work and my personal life at the same time.

Work from Home Tips – The new Normal

Create a dedicated workspace

 Create a space at home which you would designate as your workspace/office space with minimum noise and distractions.

Make sure that everyone in the house is aware of your work timing and workspace. Set rules and boundaries for entry to the place.

Yes, it may be difficult in smaller homes, where you cannot have separate room for your workplace. What I am trying to suggest here is get into agreement with folks in your family about your work area and how it is restricted during the time you are working.

Make sure the place you decide to work does not have external noises and distractions.

May be try putting on some headphones for noise cancellation and put on some light music.

Light non-distracting music may work for you or if you are someone like me, just putting on the ear plug may help in cancellation of all the distracting noises.

Be sure you are on mute while in meetings so that noises at your end do not distract others.

Tolerate and understand

Understand that many of your colleagues would have young kids. The kids are also stuck at home and are restless due to these unusual changes in routine.

Be considerate and tolerate a little bit of noise, kids talking to the parents.

Be compassionate and aware of the situation and try not to make it look like a challenge for your colleague.

If you are the colleague with smaller children (well I fall in the category), be mindful and use the mic mute button and do your bit to help the other colleagues from getting distracted.

When you are in a video conferencing, be mindful of what is showing in your background.

Tolerate the various sounds which may come like that of the cooker whistle, or the kids playing.

Keep a Morning and Evening Routine

Maintaining and following a routing is important. While we were going out of houses ,we have certain routine. But now that we are at home all the time, don’t just roll out of bed and immediately start working.

  • Maintain the routine of taking the shower, dressing for work and finishing your breakfast as you did before leaving for work etc.
  • Continue your daily workout if you have a routine. Use online apps to do the workout from home. We have been following the Cure.fit app. They have various workouts you can follow and do home workouts.
  • Try getting outside at least once a day to get some natural Vitamin D3 we are all missing out. No I am not asking you to go for a stroll in public park.  You can spend sometime in your balconies or go on your terrace for some sunlight and fresh air.
  • Like you have a start of the workday, make sure you end your day the same way.  Create a habit and a routine, to close the workday. It might be something as simple as shutting down your computer.

Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.

Prevent Burnout and Anxiety

For lot of people working in a closed space with no movement outside the house is a very stressful experience and may cause burnout and anxiety. Try the following pointers to avoid and prevent burnout:

  • Set clear boundaries between work and home.
  • Refrain from being too sedentary. This would mean stretch out from time to time.
  • Take breaks time to time. If you get too engrossed in work and have a tendency to keep working long hours, put break reminders.
  • Leave work for work timings.
  • Do not start your work straight out of the bed and let it not be the last thing you do before sleeping.
  • Care for your teammates. Ask your teammate in a different time zone for their wellbeing especially when you see them working in off-hours.
  • Set your availability status on the office messengers.
  • Schedule coffee breaks and ask some of your team members to join over a video call and enjoy this virtual break.

Stay organized and protect your equipment

While at home there are higher chances that you may start following the disorganization path, with all your office work getting scattered and paperwork lying here and there. Make sure you have all your work related stuff at one place.

Protect your hardware( PC, Laptop) by using a protective layer to avoid any damages. Be very careful to keep your coffees away from the hardware.  

Document what you do

While work from home is turning out to be a boom for many but lot of people still feel that people are not serious in work from home. To avoid this catch 22 situation where there is no one to confirm how much work are you doing, document and note down the important tasks and activities you do. Report the tasks you are performing timely and efficiently. 

Managing work remotely is definitely something long-term and the wave is not going anywhere anytime soon. While a few things I have listed above may be a cakewalk for some, some of us may feel extremely anxious. Take your time, understand your work style, and work out your ideal work environment.

Comment below if you have any other tips you follow

This post is written as part of the BlogchatterA2Z challenge.

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