WORK-FROM-HOME IN THE TIMES OF CORONAVIRUS

 

Covid-19 the new strain of coronavirus has caught us all unawares. Nobody knew of it until it surfaced recently in Wuhan, China, Dec’2019. The uncertainty that this infectious disease has caused, leaves us all bonkers! The question on everybody’s mind is how to stay productive in these times of immense upheaval. We live in the age of automation where work-from-home is a viable option and companies are pushing for it.
Nobody had any inkling that coronavirus would hit us so hard. Sadly, the whole world is in the grip of this virus outbreak now. Experts fear that it could spread exponentially and indeed it has in some countries.  It’s already done a lot of damage.
Health advisories are advising us to maintain social distancing. This way we can minimize our chances of getting infected.
Now, that the threat of coronavirus looms large, no amount of stress, panic and other negative emotions will get us anywhere. Let’s us be calm and focus on what really needs to be done.
Some companies are already encouraging their employees to work from home.
Social media giant “Twitter” has made it compulsory for all the employees worldwide to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic[1]. Amazon has told its employees worldwide to work from home if they can[2]. Alphabet, the parent company of Google has requested its workers in 11 offices in US and Canada to work from home.[3]
All these tech giants are taking the threat seriously. It is likely that more and more companies ask their employees to start working from home. That’s how social distancing can be implemented in full force. We are certainly witnessing extraordinary times. Caution at all levels has to be maintained.
Employers and employees have to be united in this fight . The resolve has to be there.
Challenges for employers…
Employers need to provide a conducive atmosphere for their workers to work from home. This requires a lot of strategizing, necessitating the companies to take steps like
·       Upgrading their networks
·       Ensuring adequate home connections
·       Pressing on internet service providers to relax band-width (in case there is any) at employee’s homes.
·       Bearing the cost of computers and the required furniture to run a work station at home.
·       Addressing security issues
·       Providing the necessary tools for remote-work
·       Keeping employees motivated and happy by providing virtual coffee-breaks etc;

Though some IT companies have already prepared or are preparing for this new setup, it is not hunky-dory everywhere.

Companies have their reservations and insecurities. Some companies are facing issues because they are not used to too many connections over virtual private networks (VPNs). Then there are companies who are already frowning upon the whole scenario as an increase in overhead costs.

 

Companies can seek professional help to upgrade and work upon their systems.
Re-orienting the way we work is certainly not a small issue. If road-blocks are there, I am sure solutions are also there for those who seek them.
It is in the interest of everybody that productivity does not take a hit.
Work-from-Home made easier….
 
There are some tools and freebies being offered by some companies to help
people work smoothly from their homes.
 

·       Slack, which makes business chat software are holding free consultations for companies who want to shift to remote working.

·       Allowing conversations to exceed 40 minutes on its own free tier is a gesture by Zoom, the videoconferencing service.

·       Microsoft has offered a service plan cloud “Productivity Suite” free for 6 months to small businesses.[5]

There are other tools available for remote working that you can check.
How may employees view this …
Work-from-home or Remote-work can be viewed differently by employees. Some of them might actually like it for the following reasons:

·       No long commutes

·       Work flexibility hours

·       No nosy colleague to waste your time

·       A much-needed break from the office scenario

Believe me, all this can result in increased productivity!
Work-from-home is a new concept for most of us.
It requires utmost discipline to get your work done in homes.
 
Why?
 
You can take it easy because you know it’s just your home not an office. Distractions are too many. You can get carried away and then your work can take a hit. Since you are not used to working from home, you may not know what went wrong.
That’s why it’s good to follow some rules. Abide by them in totality and you are good!
 
·       Workstation
First and fore-most get your workstation set up in a separate room. In fact, choose a room which is a little away from the living room. This is to cut noise which comes from the household.
Working on a sofa or lying down and working at the same time means you are not serious.
You are most working for some company/brand, so work with full seriousness.
·       Sticky Notes
Yes, the famous post-it notes, which you use commonly in your offices must be used. Stick them in front of your desk so that they are easily visible. You can prioritize your work according to the points mentioned in the notes.
·       Dress Code
Ensure you are dressed properly in your working hours. See, your boss can make that video-conferencing call anytime during your working hours. Leave a good impression as a thorough professional.
·       Bar Entry
This is one area where you have to maintain complete discipline. Remember this is not your office. You are operating from your home and your family members are also there. There can be a million distractions, especially if you have kids around. Leave strict instructions for everybody in the family to not disturb you in the working hours.
·       Working hours
Never relax or compromise on your working hours, otherwise your work will pile up and it will take a toll on you later.
·       Refreshment break.
Yes, this is what everybody wants after working incessantly for a few hours. So have your tea/coffee/snacks so that you get stimulated and refreshed. Its important to keep yourself motivated and happy.
Remember your targets, deadlines and work pressure are going to be more or less the same ; it’s just that the work environment has changed. So, being organised from day one, will relieve you of any unnecessary stress later.
 
Now that you are through with your work commitments for the day; the rest of the time is all yours.
Hey! You could me missing your office, your way of life! Well, here’s a few things you can do to lift your mood!

 

  • Just sit back and relax.
  • Read a book.
  • Chat with your friends on social media.
  • Catch up on some movie that you always wanted to watch.
  • Pursue some hobby-maybe you can draw, paint or anything else.
  • Practice Yoga and Meditation.

You can always try working on an online gig. Maybe you will end up making an app or acquire some new online skills.

Do whatever catches your fancy to unwind!
Well, I know some of you out there, are really no big fans of the work-from-home model.
You feel it will lead to isolation and loneliness. The biggest argument is that not everything about human beings cannot be automated and regimented. They need to interact physically with people as well.
We are social creatures, we need to meet and discuss business, have our lunch and coffee breaks together. It is this bonding that helps us to be creative and get great ideas.
 
We view success as a balance between productivity and happiness quotient.
 
 
Agreed!
 
But these are not normal times. Desperate times, desperate measures!
 
We have to make these lifestyle changes now for a better tomorrow.
 
 
Remember not everyone is fortunate enough to get their work done from their homes in this pandemic. Malls, theatres, restaurants, school and colleges are all closed. Daily wagers have been hit hard by coronavirus outbreak.
CONCLUSON
 
As a responsible citizen of the world, pay heed to all the health advisories. We don’t know how long this virus outbreak shall last. Countries are locking down.
 
Social-distancing helps in the slowing down of the spread of coronavirus.
 
Working-from-home is an efficient way to stay productive in these trying times.
 
Maintain social distance! Stay Safe!