Sitting on the couch with your laptops, diaries, phone, and coffee and working from home has become a part of our new normal day. Getting ready, taking a taxi, and rushing to take the metro is far away from reality now. Life changed with the pandemic and the resultant lockdown. For all of us, making this shift of going to the office and now working from home can be quite overwhelming as there are so many diversions around the house that vie for your attention from work (The doorbell and family members are a tie for me.)
The lines are blurring and entangled several times over. This can get stressful if you are not aware of how to manage it. I admit I found it difficult in the starting too. I started my work from home journey 4 years ago when I moved to Surat after my marriage. My agency created a ‘Remote Resource’ policy for me and I continued working with them. This experience taught me, after the initial hiccups, how to manage to work from home efficiently. I can understand how overwhelming it must be for professionals today, especially women, to try and balance things. I share my top learnings to help you work from home feasible:
Create a TO-DO list: This might seem a mundane suggestion, but it works! Creating a To-Do list is the most important part of working from home. Create your worklist before your day starts or the night before with proper timelines and priorities. Keep a buffer for unplanned meetings and calls. After the completion of each activity in your list cross it off with a big colored pen. It is oddly satisfying to see so many crossed off an item on the list at the end of the day. This simple activity will help you maximize your time in the day.
Stay connected with your colleagues: Schedule time to talk to colleagues overwork and general stuff. Involve them in online brainstorming sessions or joint update calls or general hangouts. This tiny bit helps you stay connected and be a part of the team. I started doing this early on as I missed the office cooler / tapri hangouts.
Move around & keep your posture correct: At office, most of us move around, speak with colleagues, walk to the canteen, go out for a short walk, get up for tea breaks, etc but while we are working from home we hardly move from one place to another. This is injurious to our health. Sitting on the bed or couch may seem comfortable initially while using laptops but it strains your neck, back, shoulders and hips. ( I learnt this the hard way! ) Use a hard surface for your laptop at a comfortable height so that it does not stress you out physically.
Balance your professional & personal life: With no definite hours, if you do not draw a balance between then both sides will complain. After a lot of arguments and tantrums, I realized I must find a routine that works for me to be able to draw a balance. I am an early riser as is the rest of my family, so after breakfast, at about 7 a.m I get my most complex tasks done without any disturbance or phone or doorbell. After lunch, I schedule a time for meetings. This is when the rest of my family is taking a nap or busy with their own work. I do my calls on the move with a handsfree. After tea, I check in again and make my to-do list for the next day. After I wrap up, I spend time with my large family (which now happens through video calls).
Designate a workplace for yourself: Just like your office wherein you have a fixed place, create a corner or a dedicated place for yourself. This helps the individual to be more focused and productive. You know that space means work mode. It is easier to switch between modes quickly when I do not have to search for a place for my laptop. It is already set up.
Necessary Gadgets: Phone and laptop are the absolute essentials. A portable charger for your phone, a handsfree headset, and a phone stand. Since the laptop is on longer than usual, a cooling stand helps. A good internet connection and a wireless dongle. Now with so many video calls happening I have added a selfie light which I place on my laptop or phone for the calls. My personal favorite: My teacup holder next to my laptop!
Take breaks: Do take breaks at regular intervals while working from home. This helps increase productivity. And what better breaks than chatting with your mom or mom-in-law or chai with your spouse or playing a game of scrabble with your child or simply sit by yourself and meditate. Work in short spurts, take a small break, and get back again!
All the above tips will help you to make your work from home smooth. The most important thing today is to be positive – don’t let anxiety replace your inner calm.
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The 12-year old firm has clients across multiple verticals. With an already established presence in 4 major metros, they have successfully created a strong affiliate network across 88 towns across the country via a team of trusted professional experts. With its inclusion in the exclusive and prestigious worldwide collaborative network of PR firms – PRBI Boutiques International, it adds brilliant minds from over 40 agencies across 14 countries to their resource pool. As the first members from the Asian sub-continent, they represent the entire region in the prestigious international PR network. Their current portfolio includes entertainment, lifestyle, media, hospitality and corporate clients across MNCs, SMEs, and Startups.