Work From Home (WFH) – until recently was a coveted perk. Today, it is the norm. You may be uncomfortable with this new way of working and many questions must be popping up in your mind –
• Will my teamwork sincerely from home – especially when they are not unsupervised?
• Will they treat it like an extended holiday?
Here is the good news. A Stanford University study found that the productivity of employees who worked from home was 13% higher than their office-bound colleagues.
Here are the guidelines you should follow and share with your team for WFH. You are sure to reap rich benefits.
1. Workplace: At home, assign yourself a workplace, which is the quietest part of the home. Remember to create a professional backdrop for video calls.
2. Set up office hours: Implement it strictly. Let your family know that you are unavailable during work hours.
3. Set expectations among your family members, friends and acquaintances: Sensitise them that the days you’re working remotely aren’t opportunities for non-work-related activities. Refrain from carrying out household chores, errands and such activities during ‘office hours”. Even, refrain from answering doorbell rings, unless you are really expecting something.
4. Do not treat your family members as your office support staff and order them around or scream orders at them. They might give it back to you.
5. No to friends: Do not collect them at your home and do time pass.
6. Dress Code: No nightwear, please. Be dressed – at least semi-formally.
7. Maintain hygiene as a priority: Wash your hands frequently. Try to avoid touching your face and eyes. Keep hygiene wet wipes handy
8. To-Do List: Make a list and add to it and keep ticking off as you complete task/s.
9. Use collaborative tools: FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom & more.
10. Tea / Lunch Break: It is vital to take breaks because the brain is like a muscle and it requires rest. How often? Research indicates that you should work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes. During this time stretch your legs, do mild exercise and then get back to work.
11. No to binge-watching: Control your urge to binge-watch Netflix.
12. Social Media: Do not check it out all the time to see what is trending.
13. Boss: Do remember to send a few messages to make sure s/he too are working. Send emails first thing in the morning as a means of announcing that you’re already up and at it. Let colleagues know that you’ve read their emails and documents carefully.
14. Subordinates: Engage in calls with them so that they too are in the office mood. Trust them that they will work harder and they will live up to your expectations.
15. EOD: Post a message in your ecosystem that the day is over! Focus on what you’ve accomplished at the end of each day to keep yourself motivated.
Keep updating this list – based in real-time feedback! When the COVID -19 blows over, WFH will become the new normal.
(The author is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Bangalore. He spent over three decades in leadership roles in various sectors, like beverages, food, personal care and education. He is also the author of ‘The New Rules of Business’ published by Penguin)