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Working from Home during and post Covid-19

The planet earth has been through a lot. From natural disasters, to plagues and wars that ravaged different parts of the world at different times. But we have never seen anything quite like this. Never in the history of the world has the whole entire planet ever been put in a lock-down at the same time.

It is safe to say that we are living through history being made. Covid-19 has thrown many professionals into unemployment and a lot more into remote work, all over the world. Many companies are implementing voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies.

We have put together a few tips and guidelines that can help anybody struggling with this new reality to remain productive and achieve their goals.

1. Designate a Workspace or Home Office For people who are used to going to the office every day, the separation between work and home is physical and easy to navigate. And this makes working from home can be challenging as you try to separate work from home. If you have enough space at home, you can dedicate a room to your work area. Get a table, chair and a few decorations to make the space feel like work. If you live in a smaller apartment and do not have enough room, you can pick a small corner and make it your workspace. it should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible. Entering your workspace will help you turn “on” at the beginning of the day and get down to work. On the other hand, leaving your workspace will also help you turn “off” at the end of the day and fully disengage.

2. Keep Clearly Defined Working Hours. Just as you designate and separate your physical workspace, you should be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. You’ll get your best work done and be most ready to transition back to the office if you stick with your regular hours. Plus, if your role is collaborative, being on the same schedule as your coworkers makes everything much easier. If you live with other people, this separation is even more critical. Communicate with the people you live with to establish boundaries so you can cut down on distractions during the workday—and then disconnect and give the people you care about your full attention. Having a separate time and space to work will allow you to be more present in your home life.

3. Find a buddy One of the effects of working from home is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Humans are social animals and we are not built to be or work alone. To help fill the socializing gap while working remotely, experts recommend finding a colleague you can hit up when you’re feeling the need to chat with someone. Alternatively, buddy up with a friend who works elsewhere and is going through the same experience. Hopping on a social video call instead of Slack or text isn’t a bad idea, either.

4. Select and set up your tech, strategically. Working at home can mean overlapping with other family members’ activities and schedules. Andrey Khusid, CEO of Miro, a whiteboarding platform for team collaboration, encourages having multiple devices enabled with all of your work apps. This helps you be as flexible as possible. “For complex and collaborative work, connect your laptop to a large monitor so you can easily navigate between tools for videoconferencing, chatting, project management and whiteboarding,” says Khusid. “Rely on your tablet or smartphone — with their long battery life and webcam — for quick Slack responses or hours of Zoom calls as you’re on the go." Khusid’s remote tech stack includes: • Zoom — for videoconferencing • Slack — for chat • Confluence — for internal wiki • Miro — for ideation, strategy and project planning, central project hub, presentations • Google Suite — for spreadsheets, simple docs 5. Communication is key If you don’t usually work from home, chances are there will be some bumps in the road if you have to suddenly go fully remote. The key to steering through these bumps is communication—especially with your manager and direct reports. Either before you make the switch or as soon as you know it’s happening, come up with a plan that lays out expectations for how often you should check in and how you’ll convey any changes or new assignments to one another. Do the same with anyone you usually work collaboratively with throughout the day. We are in the middle of a new world order. Even after the covid-19 pandemic is over, things will never be the same. A lot will change especially in the labour market and we all must be prepared and ready to go with the flow. Remember to practice basic hygiene, maintain social distancing and stay informed. Humanity will prevail.

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