How to work efficiently from home
COVID-19 came to the world as a crisis; when we just though that we would need some precautionary measure, the world order just changed in few days. When our college closed down, I had thought it was matter of days and we would come back to office in few weeks. But as days passed and government took decisions of lockdown, all of us started to have anxiousness on what is coming next. While everything was getting locked down, we all at Kathford believed that it is just a lockdown and not a shut down. We had to find a solution to alternative working culture. Our management soon decided to go into work from home provisions. We quickly made a work from home policy and guidelines. We knew these were initial efforts and would just help but not suffice completely.
As a student of human resources, the term work from home was not new to me but as a practitioner, this was not even in my wild dreams. I had read about people working from home. Working from home has been always in the list of white-collar job holders as they work behind the desk in service industry. The urge of being available in the organization as scheduled is the glamorous part of it which lure intellects to work, however continuing it on daily basis sometimes activates a humdrum mode in us and a wish to work from home hits the mind.
In the initial days of lockdown, the habit of completing assigned task from the work station made me realize that working from home is not efficient the ways it sounds. It seemed fancy at first and difficult as we practiced. I was occupied for the whole day with the same work but resulting to an accomplishment was a far notion. So, I began to think why is this happening?
I compared my working at home to that of working at the office and found a pattern that would help me be more efficient. There are factors such as setup of the working environment, distractions from family and neighbors that was forcing me to think being professional in personal environment. With this thought I planned to make some rules which would support me to enjoy both the personal and professional slice together in a very efficient way. I would like to share some changes which helped me in making the process more efficient and achieving the professional part which was missing due to personal environment and following which was able to work efficiently.
- Set a Workplace
First things first, setting up a work space, to be specific a working desk is important. If you do not have a workplace, the whole home becomes your workplace and believe me it will only spend your time. Just find your ideal working corner, set up a desk and chair, close your door, have some bright light, request family members to respect your privacy and you are ready to start. Once I started following it, I got efficient results. When you can’t make it the office, why not build an office.
- Set Goals
Albert Einstein was once asked how he would spend his time if he was given a problem upon which his life depended and he had only one hour to solve it. He responded by saying he would spend 30 minutes analyzing the problem, 20 minutes planning the solution, and ten minutes executing the solution.
Einstein is so true in saying this, we can’t work until we know where and when we must reach. We must be able to determine our jobs and the outcomes for at least a week in advance. It will give us energy to follow the target. The targets must obviously be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). When we are working from home, we send a set of goals to our supervisor on every Thursday and get it approved late by the Saturday. It helps us all sync all of our activities as well as give us clarity on what to work daily. On a similar pattern, it helps our supervisor monitor our job still being in comfort of his/her home. So, while attempting the work from home, please set a goal, and keep updating your progress; it will make your work more meaningful and less distracted.
- Establish a Routine
Working from home means flexibility, saving personal and family time, unmanaged sleep and the house chores. This was one of the major factors resulting in delay to meet the deadlines. So, in order to make it efficient, I made a to-do list. I made a specified time routine for my official work. I made sure that my professional and personal hours are not mixed up. The routine set up brought s very clear picture on what and how to complete things meeting deadlines and proved to be another effective way to complete the task/work efficiently. You may also opt to use some application to manage your routine.
- Take Breaks
Taking a break is important. While at work we took a tea break and had chats with our colleague. But while working from home, we may forget to take a break. Setting up an alarm every hour to take a break of 5 minutes could be helpful. Stretch or walk around the house, have tea or coffee, listen to relaxing music or meditate. Staying hydrated, eating lunch in time is equally important at the same time. Each break filled me with enthusiasm to work for the next hour without being stressed. I maintained a lunch break of forty-five minutes. With this, I was able to practice the rules of time management I learned while pursuing masters and was more than happy to see them working for me in an efficient way.
- Avoid Distractions
I found and believe that distractions come as an integral part while you working from home. It will definitely challenge as it is not an external factor. The loud noise of television, chit- chats among your family members, the fragrance of your favorite food coming out of the kitchen, or someone asking to do some chores. Apart from this, the computer would be providing some notifications, tabs of your social media. I struggled a lot to avoid these distractions. So, as a solution and to make the process efficient I used applications to limit my social media use and this helped me to get rid of the distractions. If you don’t feel like closing the tabs, you can turn off the notification. Alternatively, you may want to use various free time tracking software available to analyze whether you are taking longer than required to finish off the task.
- Take Care of Yourself
I did find that in order to bring efficient results one has to learn on how to be efficient accepting all the challenges. To make myself more efficient I researched and found that meditation and yoga can bring tremendous results. There were many yogic practices however Isha kriya meet my requirement as I found that daily practice of Isha Kriya brings health, dynamism, peace and wellbeing. It is a powerful toll to cope up with the hectic pace of life. I started practicing Isha kriya started for half an hour per day followed by fifteen minutes of meditation in which I observed my thoughts and followed my breath getting in and out which helped to stay calm, focused, positive and also set a habit to work on solutions rather holding problems in me. These half hours were the time which I spent in order to travel till the office each day. Working from home can be complicated however we can bring efficient results by following the steps above.
Here is the link, clicking it you will be able to see the details of Isha Kriya and enjoy its benefits.
I observed that in the present scenario of pandemic where in every one is living in a fear of scarcity and death, these steps helped me to overcome the PSCYOLOGICAL fear. I was so motivated that I made a routine for my family members as well and make sure that they practice it daily which has again allowed me to show the caring part of me towards my family.
- Upgrade Yourself
Billionaire Warren buffet once answered in an interview while he was asked regarding his best investment he thinks he did even to become a billionaire, to this the billionaire replied saying “Investing on himself” was his best decision ever to which made him a billionaire Following his words I too thought of upgrading myself as it has been a while I completed masters and didn’t opt any course for myself and interestingly found that all the online course are offered in half price than what the price was earlier. What could stop me now? Nothing. I went ahead and opted an online executive course on human resource so that I could explore new ends of my department which would upgrade and help to work in a more efficient way. I already got the efficiency vibes soon as I joined this course.
- Share time with family members
We all are staying home with family members but I thought of spending the time in a very qualitative way by contributing some time to my grand mom, mom and brother. To ensure this I started helping mom to complete her households, playing Bhagwat Geeta and Ramayana in television for Grand mom and by listening to brother idea regarding the business he wish to do. Doing this I have made a kind of very positive relation with every family member and they are enjoying this enthusiasm in me. To bring the best result what I did is, made a routine for every member of family following which they could spent their time inside the house in a very jolly way and it really worked to make sure that my family members are not stepping out of the house.
- Communicate with your Team Mates
Office is not just a space where we work, it is a space where we create relations. How much we miss being behind those desks and talks we had during our office hours. It might be daunting to keep working on your own. So, schedule a time for a regular meeting to update what you are doing and share your feelings. Talk about what is happening, share your thoughts; trust me this helps a lot to keep your moral up. We usually have a meeting everyday except for the Saturday and the public holidays. It seems like we are following our office rules properly and keeping all the team members in loop.
- Follow Organizational Discipline
While we are completely working from home, we have also established a culture of taking leaves as per the WFH policy. Its important that you keep your professional ethics at the highest level. We can only be productive and efficient by following the rules and culture of the organization we are working for. I keep my supervisor updated about my activities and make sure I abide by the system, policy, procedure and discipline of the organization.
We can talk a lot about COVID-19 and the negativity it has brought in all our life. It has affected all of us and may affect in longer run. While the world seems to be taking a pause and hope becoming a strategy, I firmly believe that there are alternatives to getting this world back to track. We might not accomplish the results as we used to do in the physical workplace and world affairs but something would always be better than nothing. We mustn’t stop!
Admits many predictions of change a major change is also indicated to the working culture and the learning culture. We don’t know when will we return back to working like we did, teaching like we taught. We might never again go back to that mechanism and adopt a new ‘new’. We must also take this as an opportunity and start to learn and practice it. Don’t be afraid to embrace the change and bring back the industry to normalcy of operation.
Lastly I would like to share some positive things which I achieved due to this lock down, upgrade myself by joining a course, contributing time to family members, introducing myself to yoga and meditation, work in routine, and a clarity that work can be completed in a very professional way even by working from home. I have started enjoying it by now. In addition, I would love to advocate to the organizations in Nepal that we should adapt ‘work from home’ in our policies and keep it an option and implement it for the employees taking unpaid leaves so that the work could be completed even if the employee is absent for the day.
Work from Home! Stay safe!
Human Resource Department