We can all agree to the fact that this is not how we expected 2020 to be. The start to next decade was supposed to be much more prosperous with that tour plan, or wedding or graduation, or that movie release. Plans are spoiled, but work is still on.
The lockdown has completely shifted the way we work. We don’t go to work anymore. We wake up earlier than usual, stay at home and work. Sometimes you feel that you are more productive being at home, sometimes you feel otherwise. A study from Stanford on work from home policy in a Chinese company showed that there was a 13% spike in the productivity of employees. But the feeling of being at work with people, collaborating, and ideating together is missing, which kind of neutralizes the situation.
We know that working from home is not the same as working from an office. Times have changed, and we have to change to adapt with time. Working virtual will have its own difficulties, but nothing that can’t be solved to a large extent.
Here are a few tips for you to improve the way you work during this lockdown:
Remember how you used to wake up early, exercise maybe, take a shower, dress up fancy, have breakfast, and then go to work? Well don’t change that routine outright.
Your mind and body are used to that routine before going to work. Changing that will bring about a change in the way you work and your overall productivity too.
Go back to your roots. Stick to the old schedule. Work between particular times that is as close to your old office timings. This will help you tune your body also into the ‘work mode’.
You can’t expect yourself to not feel at ‘home’ when you’re at home, right?
The best thing to do is create a space within your house that will be your ‘office space’. This space will only be used by you for work during the working hours. It could be a room or your study table. Try to make this space fresh with sunlight and greenery and cute little motivating quotes written on a notepad.
Even if you want to eat or sleep or take a break, go to a different part of your room. This can give a clear distinction to your mind and body that a certain space in your home is only for work and nothing else.
The biggest shift in your work routine will be not having those moments of chit-chatting at the workplace with your peers or sharing a joke over at the coffee space. The presence of your coworkers is important for any social being whose absence will have an impact on the way we behave. A study recently showed that 66% of employees feel lonely, disconnected, and un-collaborative during work from home.
To combat this, communicate on your work channels and groups about how you feel about things. It could be a quick joke or a meme or a fact or an update regarding work. It could be a quick call to your buddy at work during your break time. Over-communicate and that’s better than under communicating during this phase. It’s important you still try to create those tiny moments with your peers to feel connected.
You need to take the same breaks that you used to take in your office. But the breaks can’t be for you to cook your meal or do a chore at home. This overexerts your brain as you’re doing a task that is added to your routine work.
Try to avoid these tasks during your work hours. Do them after just like you would on any other day. Utilize these breaks to genuinely take a break from work. Go to the balcony for some fresh air, or listen to the same music that you would usually listen to when you travel to work. This will help in creating a good balance during working hours, and help you stay refreshed.
What could have been easily discussed and done in a physical meeting tends to take much more time over a video conference. Time goes away in connectivity issues, then check-ins, then cutting while talking and many other small issues.
These issues that lead to excessive or long meetings are not at all productive for you nor your team. It could have been time spent to get work done. What you can do is set a minimum amount of time for meetings per day, and nothing more. Consider it to be your daily quota. You can also consider using productivity tools or Emails to communicate work.
Nobody likes work that is mundane, boring, and unexciting. People want to enjoy what they’re doing, especially in a time like this that is filled with anxiety and stress. Burdening with just work and work talks can kill a team’s motivation. It is important to make sure you and your team are having fun while working just like normal times.
Have those spontaneous Zoom or Meet calls, instead of just having the calendarized ones, and discuss about that new show or movie you’ve watched, or play an online game together, or just talk about the good old times.
It’s important that we try to make the best out of what we have right now. The world is gripped by the virus, and work from home is going to be the norm for a while now. Let’s try to empathize with our fellow workers, understand that everyone is going through something, adjust our routines until we settle, and do the best we can for the greater good.
Until we go back to our offices, let’s try to make our work simpler.
Share with us how you have improved your work from home!