COVID 19 has changed the way businesses work. This is specially true for the IT & ITes industry, where Work from Home (WFH) is an option. WFH is not an option for manufacturing, retail, construction and other services organisations like hospitality. Despite the difficulty, these industries are still asking the employees to use the time for skill upgradation, strategising, planning and other activities which will help maximising productivity post COVID period.
In my last post for online meeting mandates for managers I spoke about what managers can do to make most of the online meetings during these times of uncertainty. The uncertainty around the Virus and the direct impact of it on the world and businesses, each one of us are also going through an internal turmoil. We’ve have had to adapt to news ways of working, building new connections, become comfortable with socialising using technology and many more…
The much talked about Social Distancing is actually a misnomer, we are socially more connected than ever before. It may be called Physical Distancing.
WFH which seemed like the most wanted option to meet all the Work-life balance demands, suddenly has opened up our eyes and brought to the forefront, that WFH is not the panacea integrating work and personal life.
Relationships, both at work and home are changing, expectations are changing.
Being productive during COVID 19 times
1. Create a Dedicated Work Space
Let it be a corner on your dining table, or the work desk in your room, dedicating space has multiple advantages. Firstly, it helps bring discipline in your routine. Secondly it sends out a strong message to your family, you are at work.
2. Bring Discipline in Your Routine
Decide on a time that you will start your work, take your breaks including lunch break and communicate it to your family members. Often, such communication is taken as given.
3. Communicate More
Whether it is at home or at work, communicate more. Work from home requires you to communicate your boundaries, your timings, your needs more than ever before. To your supervisors, you need to communicate the work done and work you will do on an ongoing basis .. minimum once a day.
4. Have Work Related Informal Conversations
Let out of sight not become out of mind. Keep the water cooler conversations going with your work friends and your manager. If you are an introvert, it may be more difficult for you, but do make that special attempt.
5. Manage Distractions
Working from home means dealing with multiple distractions. It could mean your children are watching a movie at full volume, your spouse is watching news to catch the latest update on COVID 19, your pet needs your attention, your WhatsApp / set messages may be ringing continuously. Making note of all the distractions and finding a way to mange them is critical.
Keep your phone on silent. If someone needs to get through you urgently, they will know the next best way. You may however check your messages etc every 30 / 60 minutes.
6. Attend to Children & Pets
When you are at home, your children & / or pets may need your attention. The best way to deal with them is to give them quality time before you start your work. Also spend some time with them during the day, in between your meetings. If possible take permission to include them in your meetings.
7. Stay Positive
COVID times are tough times. Irrespective of how much we avoid, we are constantly exposed to negative messages about the world that we live in. Keeping yourself positive takes an effort. Expressing gratitude is a good way to keep positive. Increase the usage of term “Thank You” in your conversations. Read good books. Listen to talks which do not talk about COVID
8. Exercise / Pick up a Hobby / Play Games
Exercise is the only way to keep fit. And hobby is the only way to keep sane. WFH also means you are sitting most of the time. Exercise your back. Do breathing to keep yourself calm. If you love painting / dancing or any other hobby, you will never get such an opportunity to indulge in yourself. Play board games with family. Make house work family time.
To end this write-up, we’re been forced into this kind of a situation. Our response to the situation will determine whether we come out of it better or worse.