Would you have seen this global pandemic coming? Perhaps not, when you sat comfortably on your couch ages ago, watching an apocalypse movie or blockbusters like “Contagion” and thinking this would never in a million years, happen to us.
However, ever since the fateful day on December 17, 2019 an unimaginable horror has turned into reality when the deadly Covid-19 arrived, first to China and now to the rest of the world. By now, your country may be part of either a full or partial lockdown as a government effort to contain the virus and stop the infection from spreading further.
The Benefits of Working From Home
For the next few weeks or months, the term #WorkFromHome will be very familiar to you as you’ll be forced to #stayathome. For those who have not experienced this for a continuous stretch of time, this might be a dream come true! What’s not to like? Comfy bed, no supervision from your bosses, no commute to the office, making your meals at home, and just taking your time to do what you need to do.
But wait, before you start celebrating – is #WorkFromHome all that great? There are its pros and cons – and it’s time we look into this more in-depth to see its implications upon our lives in our next few weeks to come.
Pro #1: You Will Learn To Be Independent.
It’s now all on you, to manage! With no bosses or supervisors screaming in your ear in getting your work done, you have the freedom and flexibility to arrange your appointments, time taken to complete a task and running your errands accordingly.
This is especially great for parents who can spend more quality time with their families. Plus, you generally have a wider bandwidth to tend to other responsibilities without putting your job at risk.
Pro #2: You Can Get More Work Done.
Fewer interruptions increased productivity. Believe it or not, if you truly focus and set the time to finish something – you can achieve it! You can get into a flow state of deep work now without your colleagues randomly dropping your workspace for a pointless or unnecessary chat. Hence, this being the plus point that remote workers are more productive than those of the office-based workers.
Wouldn’t this be an amazing time to test out the Pomodoro Technique? Follow the simple steps here to see if it makes a difference for you.
Pro #3: Your Communication Level Will Spike Up.
We have the existing advanced technologies to thank for this. By the end of the first week, you’ll be well adept at utilising communicative tools such as Zoom, Skype, Hangout to carry out your online meetings and conference calls. During this challenging time, it is even more important that you stay connected to your clients, and you’ll have the time to catch up with them via calls or through WhatsApp.
Some organisations are taking this opportunity to connect with their regional members from other countries. Imagine being able to see, speak or work directly with your colleagues based in Europe without being away from your seat!
Pro #4: You Absolutely Save Money, And Time.
Commuting from one place to another can take you hours to prepare, and another few to return home. You may even have to endure traffic jams or stressful journeys for your scheduled physical meetings. You can say goodbye to those (for now!)
And no more petrol bills, toll, parking fee or additional meal expenses incurred. Did we mention you can save money too on buying professional attires? Best of all, here’s your time to shine as your own Master Chef by preparing your delicious, favorite meals at home.
And The Challenges
Despite many of its “yay” features, it’s not all a bed of roses. Like everything else, it also comes with its set of challenges which can cause you unexpected and unwarranted pitfalls at work.
Cons #1: It Can Get Very Quiet, and Lonely.
You will feel this instantly once your #WorkFromHome is in immediate effect, at least after several days of working in this mode. Not having an office to show up will leave you out of everyday interactions, laughter, inside jokes, and discussion which you’re used to having. Unless you have kids, pets, family members, or housemates at home to keep you company, this may take a toll on your psychological state of mind.
Cons #2: No Physical Separation Between Your Work And Leisure Time.
Your home is still your home, but now it is also your workplace. If you are not careful, you may work excessively from morning till night and experience burnout. It will be increasingly difficult to shut down your mind from work matters whenever you want to. Consequently, as time goes by – your lifestyle will be affected and your health suffers from you.
Cons #3: Getting Distracted and Unmotivated.
Think you can work for a few hours straight without distraction? Not when you want to do your laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, catching up on your Netflix series… and the list goes on. It takes someone a tremendous amount of discipline for them to stay focused.
Also, though it might be wonderful when your boss is not breathing down your neck, some exerted pressure is necessary to keep things moving. Are you sure you can do away without them?
Cons #4: Easy to Misread Or Misjudge Cues Via Electronic Communications.
Some matters are undeniably better expressed through physical meetups, as we human beings heavily rely on body languages or facial expressions to decipher a message. Without those in presence, it can be extremely easy to misconstrue the tonality or intention of someone’s message, especially through digital communication systems such as emails, chat, social media and just a simple text.
How To Stay Productive And (Actually Work) From Home
However, considering these factors – it is possible to stay productive at your job while still enjoying the perks of #WorkFromHome. Here’s a few reminders to keep you on track and help you enjoy a fulfilling life after work.
No. 1. Never work from your bed. Have a separate, dedicated workspace which familiarise your brain with what is associated with work, and what’s not.
No.2. Set some ground rules. Especially if you have kids, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your door to let them know you need your privacy and uninterrupted time.
No. 3. Establish a workable routine, including those within your non-working hours. It’s very important to arrange a fixed schedule for everything, and to stick to it. This includes the time you wake up, eat, work and take a break.
No. 4. Say No to distraction. Close your Facebook, Instagram or other social media applications as it will consume your time and does no good to your concentration levels! And no, put down that shiny ball on the table.
No. 5. Invest in various technology tools. You will need them to listen to your clients, partners and colleagues clearly during conference calls and online meetings. Get a noise-cancellation headphone, good microphone or better webcam. Not forgetting a very good Wi-Fi connection to ensure your line is stable.
No. 6. Dress the part. First impressions don’t stop, even in the virtual world! You don’t physically meet your clients in slacks, and you shouldn’t start.
No. 7. Take a breather. You might be motivated to work the whole day, but don’t forget to take a break – as this is crucial to recharge your energy and improve your productivity.
No. 8. Be responsive and be a TEAM PLAYER. #WorkFromHome doesn’t mean you can ignore your initial working goals! Establish more connections and collaborations to ensure the success of your business or career during this unique time.
No. 9. Use Elabram’s Workforce Management System (WMS) to notify your employers of your clock-in working hours, from wherever you are.
And beginning from now till 31 May 2020, we at Elabram will begin offering free access to employers and employees to stay connected in response to the spread of the Covid-19 situation. Try it now!
No. 10. Last but not least, do not let fear PARALYSE you. Let adversities and challenges that head your way provoke you to take positive reactions and actions.
While #WorkFromHome seems like the ultimate dream, we have to constantly remember that the overall experience will not be perfect. It lies in your power on how well you embrace the change and to take advantage of it.
“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs.