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How to efficiently work from home (WFH)?

how to efficiently work from home (wfh)?

How to efficiently work from home (WFH)?

Vivek Jayaraman
27th Mar, 2020

For a few people, working from home is a dream, and this is a rare opportunity for them to taste it. Few do not believe in WFH and are forced to do so considering the situation. The rest of them don't know what they are doing but stressing out from home. 


Isn't this a serious challenge? The question is, "How to efficiently work from home? Multiple problems need to be addressed. 


In this article, let us consider a few things that will help you to be more productive from work.


Keep Calm




Keeping the sanity up in this troublesome pandemic is very much important. Do not look for more information on anything which will put you down or increase your anxiety levels. 


Limited data from valid and verifiable sources is enough for your sanity. Do not blind forward just like you receive them. Information may be accurate or may not be. 


Blind forwarding of data is a crowd mentality, and it isn't going to help anyone. Stop looking at news channels every 10 minutes and be anxious. Stop reading every forwarded message from WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Keep your calm and be relaxed. 


Focus on what is essential at this moment and try to live in this moment. 


There is no one size fits all




Many information started afloat after many organizations announced WFH. Too many people have written information on do this, do that, don't do that and so on. Everyone writes from what they know and what has worked for them. 


It's okay to look up the information from them, but it isn't necessary to follow them as long as it works for you. What worked for them might not work for you. Try once to see if it works for you, if not learn from it. Find out what works for you and continue. 


I have seen in multiple blogs that people are saying that dress like you want to dress for work. Take a bath first, eat breakfast, do not wear pajama, do not work from the bedroom or on the bed, etc. 


I have seen and worked with people who feel very comfortable working on wearing comfortable wear and from the bed. They have produced better results too. So, take advice only as a piece of advice from those posts. 


It is your choice




When it comes to the way you want to do things, it is purely your choice. Someone told you, you have found out your style, you have learned from what works for you and so on. 


Hold yourself accountable for the choices you are making. End of the day, it is all about your performance. Whatever you want to do, do it, but keep an understanding that it is your choice. 


If you choose to watch more TV, spend time with your family, spend time with your pets, Netflix, Prime Video, etc. It is purely your choice. 


Let not the guilt bite you. Have specific targets for the day and achieve them. It will give you a boost in focusing on future goals and objectives. 


Ergonomics




Everyone is comfortable working from different places in their home. I have a separate room for my work-related activities. There is a single-seater couch with a tablemate to hold my laptop. 


I sometimes work from the couch in my living room again with the tablemate. The tablemate means my worktime. I can adjust it to a height and a distance that suits my shoulder and lower back. 


If I stress my shoulders, wrists, and lower back, I will be having a tough time continuing the work; however, attractive it is. It is the same for all of us. 


You can sit and work from bed, your balcony, porch, kitchen, living, or dining. It doesn't matter. What matters is the ergonomics. Adjust your environment to suit your body position more comfortably and not vice versa. 


Your physique isn't so much flexible as you think, and you may hurt your spine, wrist, and such. Take care of your body posture and the type of computer that you operate. 


Fixed desktops need a fixed place to work as well. But you can use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse while you can connect the CPU to your big screen TV. Innovate and work comfortably. 


Collaboration




It is very much important when you are working with your team members that collaboration plays a significant role. The era of lone wolves is over, and it is all about the pack, the team. 


One needs to find different ways and means to collaborate in terms of better ways to work together. Better collaboration brings better teamwork. Working together in the workplace is different from working from home.


There will be challenges, yes. As long as you are in this together as a team, a lot can be achieved. 


Also, you need to collaborate with your family members. What if your spouse and siblings are also working? Spend time with your families and understand that they also have to improve their efficiency. 


Someone needs to take care of kids, households, etc. Share some efforts and ease the tension of your partner and team at home as well. 


Time Management




Time management is one of the crucial factors when it comes to working from home. Distractions will be common when it comes to WFH. Always ensure what needs to done and push yourself towards that. 


I usually use a Kanban board in my home for my things to do. Work will be visible to me at any point in time. I will set a target for me. And push me to complete the same. Social media is a standard distraction. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and other application send push notifications that distract.


Keep your mobiles away where your concentration is needed for the work in progress. It is essential to keep the focus on the job where distractions are pervasive. 


Handling kids, answering calls, messaging, answering emails, helping spouse, helping parents, helping siblings, answering the door, etc. are some of the distractions. 


When you need to focus, seek the help of someone in your house and help them when they are in need. Do not lose focus and manage your time. Work from home offers a whole day without traveling and other common distractions. Use it wisely. 


One may consider the end of the day to be at 11:59 pm, but when you have to update the work in the evening, it is not EOD. Plan your time for the work you need to complete and deliver as required. 


Choosing the right tool




Be it collaboration, follow-ups, work allocation, or other things; you need the assistance of collaborative tools. Some of the tools are below.


Video Conferencing tools

  • Cisco WebEx
  • GoToMeeting
  • Zoom.us
  • Google Hangout
  • Skype
  • Slack Video Calls
  • TrueConf
  • Blue Jeans

Backlog Management tools

Messaging Tools

  • WhatsApp
  • Skype
  • Telegram
  • Whatever Messenger your workplace offers
  • HipChat
  • Slack

Collaboration Tools

  • Facebook Workplace
  • Slack
  • Zoom.us
  • Mural
  • Realtimeboard
  • Dropbox Paper

These are just some of the tools that can help you on a different purpose. Find the right tool that can help you with your goal. Tools are enablers. Choose the correct tool for the job. Tools should be customizable for your purpose. Choose the workflow for you and get a tool. Do not choose a tool and create what the tool suggests. 


What to measure?




Knowing what to measure in terms of work should be clear. Learn to understand that it can be improved only when it can be measured. Measuring time is not going to help as we have been doing that for a long time now. 


Since it is WFH, people already have challenges, so time measurement isn't going to help. Help them understand that completion of work is more important than measuring time. So, measure the completion of work vs. the assigned targets. 


Help each other




Everyone is facing challenges, and we must help each other. Show compassion during these times and ask the team members if they need help. Some people will not be able to ask for help since they would not have used to. Ask with concern, if they need any help to complete their job successfully. Be genuine, and help them.


Show humility. If you need help, ask for it. Be humble enough, and let people approach you for help. The same applies to your home team. Offer support and ask the same with your parents, spouse, sibling, and kids. Help each other and help each other succeed. 


Take care of your health




Health is very much important when you are spending time at home for work. You can work out, go for a jog, do yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and could be anything. 


It helps you keep fit and healthy. Increasing your immune system is essential and keeps the food habits too accordingly. Working out by any means keeps you active all day and helps you focus on the work. You will never be worn out if you keep your work out habits. 


Have naps




This may have contradicting views by many, but having rest has its benefits. It could be a power nap or could be straight for an hour. It will help you to increase your working hours for the day. Your tiredness will reduce and have severe benefits for focus. 


In Japanese culture, a nap is allowed even in workplaces, and it helps people to concentrate on their work. The best time for rest could be after lunch, and it will reduce your tiredness.


Write them down




I used to get wild ideas at an unexpected time. Be it for the blog I am writing, or for the Book, I am penning down, could be for personal improvement, ideas for my work, and much more. 


I have personally lost so many ideas thinking that I will remember later. In school and college days, I roam around with a pen and a small diary in my pocket. I used to write them down, knowing my lousy memory. We all did that at some point in time. 


I used to tell my participants and coaching clients to keep a note of things. Either you carry a pen and paper or take notes on your electronic gadgets, do it. Take notes, write them down, scribble, draw, do whatever. 


But do keep a record of things. Never lose an idea, a schedule, or something that will matter to you. Note them down; you will not remember everything. It is essential. 


Take more breaks




Unlike the workplace, where you have scheduled tea breaks, lunch breaks, and so on, it is difficult in the home. Have a schedule in the home as well. Every 45 minutes to an hour, you can take a break as it is challenging to continue working. 


Take tea or coffee break, snack break, bio break, hydration break, lunch break, dinner break, and so on. Work happily without breaking out by taking the right amount of breaks. 


Have the breaks as part of your time management, and it will be easy. Use your breaks wisely for messaging, emails, social media scrolls, and other things. It will help you focus on your work efficiently. 


These are not the only things, but this will help you get started with your work more efficiently. Lets WFH more efficiently. Post your comments if you have something that needs to be answered. I will answer them accordingly. 

About the author
Vivek Jayaraman

Vivek is a compassionate Coach, Mentalist, and Story Teller. He is an ICAgile Authorized Instructor, NLP Trainer, Agile, leadership & Wellness Coach, and a practicing psychotherapist with more than 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Customer Success Officer for Leanpitch Technologies & LeanGears LLC. Vivek has a knack to work closely with people and help them succeed. He shares that experience of working with people on all his training and uses them in his Coaching, Counselling, and Consulting assignments.

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