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Working effectively during social distancing

Time works differently when you are working from home. Here are a few simple things you can do differently to make your work from home easier and more productive.

The global pandemic scenario has disrupted and reshuffled workplaces at a breath-taking speed. Everyone is currently adapting to work from home (WFH) situation where each one of us is recording our meetings and conversations with our team members and colleagues instead of doing it in person. This pattern of life where we cannot step out of our homes and thrust into managing our work remotely has been draining and challenging both personally and workwise.

It gets difficult for many individuals to compose themselves in quarantine without face-to-face human interaction and the structure of a typical workday. It gets daunting sometimes to work under these conditions. In the interest of simplifying and making remote work both easier and productive, individuals can adapt to a few effective ways. So, here are a few small things you can do to make your remote work easier and productive.

Communicate Frequently

The transition of employees working from synchronous and standardized environment to asynchronous and personalised environment is a bit alarming. According to sociometric research, frequent communication cycle proves to be more effective in building and sustaining morale of employees, in addition to their engagement. Communication platforms have made it simpler to stay in regular touch.

This helps eradicate a sense of loneliness and gives a sense of being together with other colleagues. Audio and video conferences can turn their gloomy days into happy ones. Frequent communication also helps in resolving the issues at work with clear understanding and paves the way to being more productive even in this unprecedented situation.

Staying in regular touch not only aids in the performance of individuals at work, but also avails them in attaining a virtual companionship, which indirectly means showing up as a virtual team player.

Focus on
continued learning

The mundane work pattern keeps the majority of us busy enough to focus on things we want to do. The routine has drifted us apart from our craving to learn new things, such as a specific technology, improve our skills or put some time into our personality development.

This working from home scenario gives you a great opportunity to identify your interests and learn about them. This allows individuals to learn new technologies and skills and also deep dive into various subjects and expand their horizons.

Maintain physical and
social boundaries

Blake Ashforth of Arizona State University in one of his classic papers has described the ways in which people demarcate the transformation from work to non-work roles through ‘boundary crossing activities.’ Commuting to workplace, getting dressed up for work, interacting with colleagues over lunch and tea are a few social and physical indicators of what we do on daily basis.

But with the shifting of workplaces from office premises to homes, we might at first feel the change welcoming, as we do not have to wake up early and commute to work. But, eventually it gets difficult for many to compartmentalize their work and non-work lives.

In order to maintain these boundaries while working from home, we can recreate same work routines like putting on our work clothes and replacing the commute by taking a small walk on the terrace or within apartment premises before starting the day at work.

It is also recommended to just realign the things around you or change the workspace while working from home to maintain the boundaries.

Gauge stress and engagement

Humans are social creatures. Being proactive at work, participating in organization sponsored  trainings, dwelling and engrossing in work and helping family with household chores are some of the things individuals should try to do. Among other benefits, these things will help reduce stress and make individuals feel positive under the quarantine conditions.

One of the best practices to ensure the calmness of mind is meditation and yoga. It helps in soothing psychological needs. The workout and yoga sessions at home, along with meditation, will ensure physical and mental health for all of us while working during distancing. These situations demand every individual to be optimistic and to stay positive.

At work, we can adapt good practices like greet our colleagues at the beginning of our calls and meetings, check on each other, acknowledge their participation and contribute towards the completion of daily tasks. This acts as an uplifting factor in developing good rapport with the fellow colleagues and clinching on to their mental wellbeing.

One of the best practices to ensure the calmness of mind is meditation and yoga

Maintaining work-life

The biggest challenge in this alignment of work is regarding child-care or elderly-care responsibilities during regular work hours. Home responsibilities intertwine with those of the work and managing these responsibilities require creation of temporal boundaries.

This often depends on the ability to coordinate one’s time with others. Individuals can share their responsibilities and assign a specific timing for child-care or elderly care by discussing with their partners at home and managing the pace of work by doing the same with their colleagues and getting the tasks completed within stipulated deadlines.

This calls for proper planning of the day, prioritisation of the work and multi-tasking when required with a view to achieve a sense of normality during this disruption.