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Coronavirus Work From Home Checklist: Everything About Apps, Toddlers, Podcasts, Honesty & More

(Image: Better-courses.com / Microsoft Store)

(Image: Better-courses.com / Microsoft Store)

The immediate positive is you won’t need to commute, and no getting stuck in traffic jams. You save a lot on fuel or cab costs, and energy in the process. There are some undeniable positives of working from home and you can easily overcome the shortcomings by simply persisting.

Vishal Mathur
  • Last Updated: March 16, 2020, 12:02 PM IST
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Coronavirus has done what no amount of social and productivity revolutions could. It has forced employers to rethink their workflow systems, policies and there is now greater emphasis on the whole work from home scenario. The Coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic is now in more than 110 countries, and still spreading fast. No wonder, everyone is genuinely terrified about the safety and well-being of colleagues, friends and family. Staying indoors and social distancing are two methods that the entire medical community is suggesting. Easier said than done though, this whole work from home thing. There are some undeniable positives of working from home and you can easily overcome the shortcomings by simply persisting.

The immediate positive of all of this is you won’t need to travel, no commute and no getting stuck in traffic jams. You save a lot of fuel, which means you burn less money, and also save energy in the process. All the commute costs which total up at the end of every month are a lot—you’ll probably realize now how much you are saving. Whether it becomes a new and more acceptable norm in the coming months and years totally depends on how each of us perform on these days. Remember, you while working from home right now is quite simply a trial. The bosses need to be convinced. You need to be on your best behavior. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing your wellbeing. That also means getting your children and the rest of the family into the habit of seeing you regularly, but yet to not disturb you because you are working. There are some handy tips that you must follow to have the perfect balance in these tough and scary times with the Coronavirus doing rounds.

How to be the most productive

First and foremost, it is important you set your working hours and follow them to the earnest. If you work a particular set of hours in office, you might want to start by replicating that. If it is 9am in office every day, make it a habit to be logged in and working from 9am even during work from home days. Your schedule will not get tossed around, you wouldn’t become complacent and most importantly, your colleagues will know exactly when you will be online and available—do not create new learning curves for your colleagues too, by changing your work timings.

You might be saving on time otherwise spent in commute. Perhaps use this time to catch up on reading or podcasts. Make a nice breakfast perhaps? Or maybe a quick gaming session before you log in at your usual time.

Remember, this forced work from home is not forever. But you could very well add this to your arsenal of skills in the future, to simply get away occasionally from the pain of commuting every day.

Set up a corner that you can call your home office. Even if it is a bar counter, your child’s study table to simply an end table that is high enough for you to sit next to and place your laptop comfortably, mark that space. Do not slouch on the bed, even though that feels like the best course of action. Do not sit in front of the TV—you’ll neither be able to focus on work or end up binge watching properly. “Find a dedicated place in your house. Make this an area where you can be productive and is separate from your private life,” suggests Lisette Sutherland, an entrepreneur and a champion of the concept of remote working.

The space doesn’t have to eventually extend to the entire home, confusing the family too. Set up a space and set up boundaries in that space. “I try to put all my work things away into one neat pile in a corner when I’m not working. and I let myself order in only once in two weeks which builds basic self-discipline. But mostly, I accept that it's a constant learning process,” says Jo Siebeck (@jsiebeck) on Twitter—she wears many hats, in marketing and social media, for instance.

Set up a space and set up boundaries in that space.

Keep all channels of communication open with your colleagues. Your virtual presence shouldn’t make fleeting appearances. Be as available as you would be on a regular workday, in office. It can be incredibly irritating for a team member to find you missing in action. Yes, you may miss a call occasionally (answering the call of nature, for instance), but make it a point to connect as soon as you can. Everyone understands a missed call or a slightly delayed reply to a message.

There will be distraction at home. The doorbell will ring. You will probably get a call on the landline or the intercom phone. Someone will turn up with a book you ordered on Amazon a few days ago. Someone will come for garbage collection. All that is part and parcel of working from home. The challenge is, and make it a point, to return back to work as soon as you have tackled whatever it is that needed attention.

And to the point of achieving organizational goals, always remember that your targets, your to-dos and your responsibility towards teamwork doesn’t change. “Working remote is all about trust and communication,” says Sutherland.

The small matter of apps and people

If you are someone who loves the daily dose of meeting human beings, it could become a bit tough for you to work from home. That is where virtual presence can help. Download all the possible apps that you may need for work and communication. WhatsApp Groups will continue to creak under the weight of extensive chats, one would assume. Get the Skype, Google Duo and FaceTime apps all primed and ready for video chats with colleagues as and when needed. “Even try leaving your voice chat open: create a group voice call with your team and leave it running, so people can work away and pipe up any time. It's odd at first, but when you start hearing the little things in the background like a dog barking, or someone yawning, it can help with disconnection,” says Leapers, a community that supports the mental health of self-employed.

Download all the possible apps that you may need for work and communication.

As for getting stuff done, you probably might have to rely more on your personal laptop or desktop while working from home, in case you don’t have an office laptop to carry back. Ensure that all required apps are in place. Microsoft Office, Slack, any image or video editing software, cloud storage…whatever it is that you need to get your work done, have it installed and working on your computing devices at home.

Do not neglect your well being

First things first, don’t stress about it. The work from home thing may be new for you. Remember, it may be new for your colleagues too. Just help each other get used to the new surroundings. It’ll be smooth sailing much sooner than you imagine.

Unless you are in a zone where there is a lockdown, don’t forget to take proper breaks. Even if it a simple walk around the house for two minutes, resting your eyes for a bit or simply heading outside for a few minutes of fresh air. Take your regular water breaks, tea or coffee breaks and don’t forget to get up and stretch your back every once in a while.

While we emphasize logging in to work at the usual time as you would on a regular day in office, it is also important to log out at your usual time. Working from home can induce a sense that another hour wouldn’t matter. Well it may not right now, but it will in the long run. “There can be a sense of 'having to show you're working' constantly when you're working from home, but if you've agreed what work is to be done, rather than just being present, having time to relax and do other things is critical,” says Leapers.

Last but not least, if something is bothering you or you are struggling to keep pace with work, be honest with your team. Everyone is there to help you, and your honesty might even help them communicate something that they could be bothered with.

Remember, this forced work from home is not forever. But you could very well add this to your arsenal of skills in the future, to simply get away occasionally from the pain of commuting every day.

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India

  • Active Cases

    2,088

     
  • Total Confirmed

    2,301

     
  • Cured/Discharged

    156

     
  • Total DEATHS

    56

     
Data Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India
Updated: April 03 (09:00 AM)
Hospitals & Testing centres

World

  • Active Cases

    749,783

     
  • Total Confirmed

    1,016,002

     
  • Cured/Discharged

    212,995

     
  • Total DEATHS

    53,224

     
Data Source: Johns Hopkins University, U.S. (www.jhu.edu)
Hospitals & Testing centres