Remote working is not new to us at Sneed. On any given day, we have a few colleagues working from home.
It is one of the ways of reducing travel-related stress in Bangalore. However, it is the first time that we shut the office and got everyone to work remotely.
In the past, we have done this on certain weekends and at that time, they were outliers. Now it is the rule.
Personally, I need the feel of an office to get started – a place away from home, a place where my mind shuts down to personal issues and opens to business and colleagues.
Over the years though I have developed a way to make remote working more effective and efficient.
The rules of engagement are not very different, but it still needs focus and attention to make it work.
The Most Effective Ways to be Productive when you Work from Home
1. Start on time
Have you noticed, your colleagues who stay closest to the office are often the last to enter.
So, imagine how much lazier one gets when you need to walk a few steps and open the laptop.
It is therefore important to fix your work schedule and mark your home office. Your colleagues expect you to be on time and you owe it to them.
In fact, working from home helps you start early, thanks to all the time saved getting to the office.
Consider using that time to get rid of emails or reading through bookmarked pages or reports that you set aside. Start early morning, define your work hours and stay focused.
2. Plan your day
Remote workers face very little distraction compared to working from the office.
There are no unplanned meetings to attend (personally, I think those discussions with colleagues on every topic under the sun – from stocks to cricket to the latest show on Netflix and of course Coronavirus is a very important part of team bonding, so no I don’t consider it a waste of time !!).
The flip side of working remotely is that you are working alone, and you tend to get on the phone or chat a lot more, and often lose focus.
Ahead of the day, make a list of all that you want to accomplish and check against it regularly. An unplanned day is most likely to result in nothing meaningful being achieved.
Remote working is the best way to achieve work-life balance, so define your work time and stick to it.
3. Dress to work
The next tip to be productive while doing work from home is to Dress! It is not about the clothes you wear, that is your choice, but working remotely is not an invitation for you to sit groggy-eyed in front of your laptop and be passive.
Get off the bed, find a workspace that ensures the least distraction and get to work just the way you do in office.
Go for the add-on’s, if that helps– streaming music, watching TV, whatever – so long as that does not distract you.
Checking WhatsApp messages or responding to your friends on Social Media is unlikely to make that cut! Make your workday productive.
Working from home is not the same as working on a holiday.
4. Plan your distractions
Here is the thing – you can block most of the distractions like Netflix and the cricket match that you so dearly want to watch, but working from home will have some element of domestic distraction that you cannot avoid.
Frankly, I did not realise it until I started working from home regularly.
From online deliveries to someone collecting garbage or just that random knock on the door – expect some bit of this.
I hate it when the bell rings but figured you can’t avoid it fully. The trick is to minimise spending time on these.
So plan your deliveries, ensure routine jobs are completed so no one needs to knock.
5. Coffee breaks and more
Over time I figured the best time to take a coffee break is when I am on a call. So, I would often schedule calls accordingly!!
On the flip side, this also means a lot more coffee consumed! I schedule my breaks for no more than 30 minutes.
Anything longer can be distracting. If you have a coffee shop around make a quick dash to grab your cuppa or a small bite, but stay connected.
The current situation is a little different though – for the first time the entire family is in lockdown and we are trying to make it work, so the X factor to deal with:
1. Internet Speed
Most of us use a broadband connection at home and not a leased line. It’s, therefore, possible that you are always not guaranteed a certain speed.
With more people working from home, be ready to face disruptions. Always have a backup connection through your phone or one of the wifi dongles to stay connected.
2. Keeping your children engaged
If you have kids, you know how difficult this can be. I can’t recall being confined to the home growing up and subjecting my kid to it almost seems criminal.
Every child is different, and you will need to find the least disruptive way to keep them engaged.
I received many a WhatsApp forwards on how this can be done, but I doubt there is a one size fit all solution.
Good luck figuring this out and drop a message on how you are dealing with it.
Working with the Spouse
I am in the habit of walking across my house during a call.
At best of times that’s an annoying habit for others, so just think how irritated she must be getting right now!
For once, you must deal with your family members too. So, mark your territories folks. Strict compliance of office etiquette needed!
How are you dealing with working full time from home, share your stories.
You can also Read: Freelancing is the New Buzz