Globally, 52% of people work from home at least once every week (according to Owl Labs). There are a number of good reasons why people choose to work from remote locations. They live in another city, they have kids to take care of, the commute is just too long, so they’d rather telecommute, they are die-hard digital nomads; and rarely, like now, it is imposed on you.
The current threat of COVID-19 has brought a world that was hurtling on, to a complete halt. And since the show must go on, it’s more important than ever, to continue with our work irrespective of where we are.
Since the situation outside is bleak, let’s look on the inside. I mean literally inside our homes, and focus on the benefits of working from our living spaces. If done right, it can increase productivity by almost 90% according to some surveys. It cuts down on commute time, gives you the time and space to think, plan and not just react. WFH is also a great enabler of that elusive work-life balance. But balance is the operating word here. There are always distractions around, as in the office too. We do not succumb to them easily in the workspace, so bring that same discipline to your home-office.
Here are some tips to help you become a WFH warrior:
Get a move on it: Don’t treat it like a holiday and stay in bed until your first call. Wake up and go for a walk, exercise, stretchhhhh before you have breakfast, get dressed in something nice, and get to work! A number of fitness websites are offering free access to their premium content for a couple of months, here’s one for yoga, check it out!
Home-office vibes: Create a workspace that is separate from your living space. Make sure it’s well lit, preferably with natural light, (yes hermit crabs, it’s time to get out of your shells and get some sunlight). Keep your stationary and other accessories like headphones etc. around you. But kill the clutter, it’s a great distractor.
Keep it comfy: Make sure your setup is ergonomic – raise your laptop screen if required, get an external keyboard, a comfortable chair et cetera. This will keep you comfortable through the day, and will allow you to work more and fidget less. Your neck, back and limbs will thank you later too.
Those lists are made for ticking: Set your goals for the day – with your team as well as individually. If possible, pre-set time limits to work on each of your tasks. Include scheduled meetings too. Cross tasks off your list as you get done. And put down your non-work tasks too – but assign specific timings for those – like your breaks or after “home-office” hours chores.
Don’t be a goldfish: Your screen is your first distraction. Close all those Netflix, Prime and social media tabs (don’t worry once closed they can be opened up again, it’s time to work, remember?)
Beat? Get a treat: When you’ve completed a task or a large chunk of your work, reward yourself with a 10 minute break. Stare at some nature (your eyes will thank you for it), move around, read an interesting non-work article, a few pages of your book, or fine, go ahead and check Instagram – but don’t linger
How to train your family: Remind your roomies that you may be home but are still working – exactly like you are at work. It takes some firm repeating but after a while, chances are they will get it and leave you to it. Try to plan your coffee/lunch breaks with them.
Call etiquette is queen: Accept meeting invitations if you intend to be part of it, if you turn it down, let your host know the reason. Log in to your calls/ video conferences on time, don’t keep others in virtual limbo. If for any reason you’re late or are unable to make it, be sure to let people know in advance.
AWOL alert: might be an oxymoron, but keep the folks you work with informed about any extended time away from your computer, or if you will be unavailable at any point during your work hours
And last but not least, let the music play! There’s nothing like your favourite tunes to keep you company, while drowning out the ambient sounds around you! The teams at Crayon Data have put together a couple of playlists of their favourite songs, you can listen to them on Spotify or Apple Music.
Hopefully, these tips will help you get your WFH game face on!, in no time at It may take a few days to ease into it, so be patient and give yourself time to adjust to a new working environment. If this prolonged bout of isolation is bringing you down, remember that minimising contact with the outside world by staying home, will help #flattenthecurve and save lives. Quite literally.