Five tips on working from home effectively

Working from home due to the coronavirus? Here are five tips to be effective

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With the coronavirus pandemic spreading around the world, many countries including India have determined that working from home is a viable alternative to protect the workforce from potential health risks.

The goal is to ensure that work that needs to get done, gets done, with minimal chance of exposure - both to employees who are free of the virus, and to the employees who carry it.

But while working from home is certainly a sound strategy, it does come with its own risks: Distractions, power interruptions and sometimes, an excessive sense of comfort. Fortunately, a little discipline and ingenuity can go a long way in mitigating these issues.

Here are five tips to ensure your work from home remains effective and you remain efficient:

 

1. Get comfortable

Working in the office means uniforms, shoes and sometimes even ties. In the winter, it's not much of a problem, but it's a different equation entirely during the summer.

Employees can feel sweaty and itchy depending on their skin type, and with some companies switching off the ACs, the heat can really get to workers.

At home, however, you're comfortable. You can keep yourself cool by getting some nice cold drinks, and even go to work in a pajama or shorts if you feel like it. There's no one stopping you from being as comfortable as you want in your own domain.

 

2. Time your work

Most offices work on a shift system that lasts anywhere up to 10 hours. Working from home, by and large, tends to work on the same system.

And while it is certainly likely that your work can get extended if you are at home, you can turn your 10 hours into a highly efficient work time by ensuring you time it correctly.

Set your work schedule and stick to it. Time getting key things done and leaving non-time bound work for closer to the end of day or to your breaks. This will help you maintain your work-life balance.

 

3. Mark your personal space and set some rules

Working from home is both a perk and a problem at the same time. The perk is that you have greater autonomy over the pace of the work you do (and consequentially, the quality of the work you can get done), but there is always the risk of unforeseen issues.

Perhaps you might get an uninvited guest. Maybe there's a kid or a sick person in need of care. Or maybe you have a pet who's wondering why you are at home and is unusually excited.

Set some ground rules for them all. It can be as simple as putting up a do-not-disturb board outside your work room, or talking with the other parties to set some dedicated time for them. Remember, while you are at home, you are at home to get work done. Distractons will detract you from productivity and ultimately, your work will suffer.

 

4. Take a break

Working at the office is pretty standard stuff. You do work for some hours, and then take a break for some minutes for a coffee, a smoke or a meal. However, that distinction can be diluted at home since you are, well, at home.

Every company has a break policy, though some are more fluid than others. Take note of the break policy of your company and stick to it.

Ultimately, you will have some basic needs to be taken care of. It can be a lunch break, or a coffee break, or a bathroom break. Take the breaks that you need, but time them correctly so they don't interfere with your work.

 

5. Prepare backup

By far the biggest problem that employees working from home can face is power cuts. Not only do they cause delays in getting work done, they can also cause undue stress on the employees as they lose precious time which has to be made up after the power returns.

Circumventing this is fairly simple. Just get a power backup unit for your computer and you're set. Depending on how power-hungry your computer and internet infrastructure are, a quality 1000 VA UPS can last you up to an hour.

 

And there you have it. With these five tips and some discipline, you can be on top of your work no matter where you are, especially in these times.

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