In light of covid19, the term work from home has become synonymous with every working individual in our country. The term previously reserved for freelancers, programmers, social media influencers and content creators is now the norm in most consultancy-based services, digital platform companies, brand management and marketing agencies and so many more who do not really need a physical space to function and reach their goals.
More than 63% of employees in the US now say they have worked from home in the past seven days. Technology companies are contemplating letting their employees work from home permanently while some have already decided on it positively. A whopping 98% of people in the US would like the option to work from home for the rest of their careers. These sentiments do not exist in a vacuum. There is a myriad of reasons because of which the WFH lifestyle seems so lucrative. A flexible schedule, the ability to work from any location, and no more commuting were the top benefits (aside from the idea of working in your jammies all day) seems like the best way to work. Nobody around us really talks about the barriers and stigma that often comes along from working from home.
Though it seems freeing and empowering (in a way), you cannot escape the crooked smiles that people give you when you tell them you work from home, almost insinuating that I am getting away with no work and have tricked my company to pay me my salary while I slouch at home all year. Then there are the everyday distractions from the chores at home that never seem to end with the endless barrage of visitors you get all day. Time seems to flow too fast and before you know it, it’s 5pm and you haven’t stepped out once. It is not all bad though, I would choose WFH over a regular day job any day of the week. Maybe I could suggest you a few unique tips & tricks and introduce you to some technologies that will help you stay productive, happy, and mindful of your health all day.
- Eat breakfast. Really. Eat breakfast.
- Finish the hardest tasks early in the morning. It is your most productive time of the day, use it to solve your biggest problem.
- Work in pairs. Do not work for hours in a stretch. Take a break every two hours, and not a break on social media. Do some physical activity or engage with people around.
- Workout hard. Extremely hard. You are not moving a lot, and that means your metabolism is taking a toll. Difficult workouts are important for you.
- Do not extend your hours. Set a good time in the evening and do not work beyond it. It helps maintain mental peace and balance.
- Meditate. Get a program online and stick to it. Trust me it is worth the cost. The Art of Living Online Happiness Program has worked well for me.
- Centralise your work. Communication should be centralized and standardized, on one single app. Try a combination of Jira and Slack.
- Redo your workspace. It needs to be ergonomic and welcoming, but a clear indication that it is your home office and nothing else.
Sumeru Inc.’s digital marketing team is spread over 5 continents, and we all work from home. We have a few work-related tips from Joaquin Gonzalez who is our Digital Marketing Expert and Luisa Braun who is our Marketing Director.
Joaquin says that one of the benefits of working with people in different time zones is that they can work while you are sleeping in case something needs to be done urgently!
Here are some tips from him for all the people out there working remotely:
- Be sincere from Day 1: Tell the new team members what you are going through and be super clear about what you need from them. Have a good relationship with everyone in the team.
- Create visual systems: Use flowcharts to clearly show all the steps that are required to do a good job. I use an app called SimpleMind for this.
- Plan reviewing calls ahead and record them: When I had to review their work, I would take notes of all the changes that were required. Then, I would call the new team members, record the call using Loom and share both the Loom link and the notes for them to review it and learn.
- Support them: Every time they do a good job, I would congratulate them and I will also encourage them to study and keep on researching, testing, and sharing their ideas.
Luisa advocates stand-up meetings, which is a fifteen-minute meeting session with all teams each day to keep themselves motivated, on the same page and maintain work related control. Luisa says that with daily meditation, breathing technique and yoga routine, she increases productivity by 2x and comes up with better ideas as her mind is a lot calmer and more composed.
Remember, work from home comes with its struggles and barriers but every novelty comes with a price. Freedom from commuting every day and having difficult face-to-face conversations with people at work comes at a cost. A cost I think is manageable if we want it to be. To all the corona-economy workers out there, stay strong and stay happy.