India has been on a lockdown since mid-March 2020, given the onset and tough-to-control novel coronavirus outbreak, and we are not alone – the world is suffering.

Given this, while the biggest tragedy being suffered is infection and loss of human lives, economies are parallely suffering owing to lockdowns till situations are under control and there are better measures put in place. Quite some businesses who cannot do without mechanical interventions are suffering on a daily basis owing to shortage of manpower, thereby generating deficit produce. Service firms too are suffering owing to shortage in staff and piling up of customer requirements, if not complaints.

The but-obvious and quickest rebound that corporate India swung to, is operating remotely through isolation of it’s employees and making do with distancing and coordinating with coworkers. But is this anywhere close to the productivity levels of the recent past? Obviously not. How do we bridge the gap? Well, here are some tips for all of you who are working from home and need to coordinate literally with several stakeholders in your organization.

Fix up a schedule

Working out of office and home is not the same thing. At home, you have members of your family and if few of these happen to be young kids (or similarly demanding), then I’m sure working from home poses a substantial challenge. First things first, identify time periods when you can have focus on work and nothing else – this could be 2-3 hours at a stretch. Early morning hours from 6:00am – 7:00am onwards has helped quite some. Even, post lunch hours when the elders of the family typically rest and kids can be occupied with indoor games or reading or TV is another slot where you can get atleast 2 hours at a stretch. For quite some of those, whose work is dependent on another unit’s output, late evening and night hours also can prove to be more productive. Test some of these suggestions and see how you fare and finally firm up a schedule.

Fix your workstation and ambience (of sorts)

Getting your environment right is another element you would need to fix, to be more productive. Some of you would prefer to have no noise and work in isolation like you would do at work (esp. if you sat in cabins for most of the day); however, quite some of our workplaces are fairly abuzz with people noise – someone asking a query, or cracking a joke, or sharing a shopping experience, or asking you out for a tea break….. now suddenly, working in isolation from home discounts all of these and a discomfort or anxiety seeps in. You need to take constructive steps towards fixing this up – couple of things you could do are –

  • Put some post-its or small cards with motivational messages where you can see them.
  • You could play focus-oriented music – research indicates that alpha waves and meditation music helps you release your genius and has proven productive, while at the same time combats stress.
  • To cope up with I-miss-my-people factor – fix up a schedule(s) where you and your team and get on a call, even if for just 5 mins…..if the team strength is substantial then fixing a schedule helps as everyone will block their calendars accordingly and chances of anyone skipping are highly reduced. But that shouldn’t stop you from just picking the phone and calling someone just for a quick chat (a close pal at work, your direct report, your cross-functional peer with whom you share a great rapport,….) to alleviate pangs of coworker distancing.

Identify & curb waste habits

When constrained to work in an isolated fashion, it is but natural for humans to stray away and do things like – google searches, online (window) shopping, online gaming, constant news/stock market checking, and the likes.

Be quick to identify your work procrastinators, because these eventually build into big time killers and become addictive in nature. Schedule time for online passion/habits separately outside the work-window, in order to ensure that work doesn’t get impacted.

The above tips should help you settle down quick in a work from home/isolation scenario. We will share further tips in our next article. Do revisit us!

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