Before the novel coronavirus spread, work from home was considered a luxury. Foregoing the commute from home to work and working from the comforts of home while being able to attend to family members was something people dreamt of! Now, the option of working from home has become a necessity. Over time, people have also realized that working from the comforts of home has its own challenges. While there are various benefits that come along, there are people who want to return to a physical office space.
Just like every coin has two sides, the work from home method has its advantages and disadvantages. When done right, work from home, popularly shortened to WFH, can be a blessing. Read on to learn some tips for working from home effectively.
Understanding The Work From Home Concept
Before we learn how to effectively work from home, it’s important to understand the term. People often use ‘remote working’ and ‘work from home’ interchangeably but the two aren’t the same. Remote working involves an employee working from anywhere in the world. In comparison, a WFH situation allows you to do the job from home. It often depends on technology—internet connection, laptop and relevant software—to successfully perform tasks away from the office. In today’s digitally driven world, if you want to know how to work from home, you must also know how to use technology.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the corporate world, several organizations allowed WFH. In fact, many had work from home/anywhere policies that officially allowed individuals to perform tasks when it was most convenient for them. Some occupations such as freelancing or part-time jobs encouraged remote working. In some organizations, there are certain days reserved in the week for flexible working conditions. This not only improves employee satisfaction but is also beneficial for employers.
Is Working From Home Good For Us?
To master the tips of work from home, you need to understand whether the method is good for you or not. While it may be a necessity in current times, several organizations are deciding to adopt blended working models (involving both on-site and off-site work) or fully remote models. If you want to prepare for what the future holds, here are the advantages and disadvantages of WFH:
Advantages Of WFH
There are few key benefits of WFH option, such as:
- The biggest advantage is the flexibility that you get with WFH. From planning your day to deciding your work hours, you have the flexibility to make it easier for yourself. For example, working parents benefit the most if they have to attend to their child(ren) or other family members in need.
- There aren’t any unnecessary distractions. In an office space, it’s difficult to stick to your schedule because colleagues are bound to communicate. Even if you aren’t actively involved in a situation, coworkers walking about or talking and telephones ringing constantly can be annoying. At home, distractions are minimized.
- WFH means no traveling to work, which further means that you don’t have to stress about booking cabs, taking the metro or driving yourself. By eliminating commute, you even save up on travel and other related expenses. You can use this amount for something more important in your personal life.
- For anyone who wants to sharpen their communication skills, WFH is a great option. As you’re bound to convey information to keep everyone updated, you end up using different communication tools and channels. For example, telephone conversations or video calls improve presentation skills while emails and texts improve written communication.
- Remote locations allow organizations to expand their offices and source a global talent pool. In such scenarios, you get to work with a diverse group of people from different walks of life. This creates opportunities for networking as well. You even get to collaborate with different kinds of industry professionals.
Disadvantages Of WFH
To ace and apply the tips for work from home, you need to know the flip side of this work mode as well. Let’s see how WFH presents challenges in daily life:
- The most difficult aspect of this process is isolation. While social isolation is mandatory, there is emotional isolation that eventually seeps in. The inability to talk to someone face-to-face or brainstorm with a group of people in a meeting room can be alienating.
- While minimized distraction provides you enough flexibility to plan your day and be more productive, there are risks of overworking. When the lines between work and life dissolve, it’s difficult to keep track. This may lead to work-related stress and burnout.
- There may be reduced expenses because of the elimination of commuting and eating out but there is an increased expense of running a home office. From purchasing equipment such as headsets or video cameras to setting up office furniture and installing high-speed internet; there are initial and maintenance costs that may or may not be reimbursed by your organization.
- There is a workplace disconnect with a WFH model. You can’t simply walk up to someone’s desk and ask for information or brainstorm ideas with them. It’s difficult to ensure that everyone’s on the same page as well. With fewer face-to-face interactions, it’s easy to feel disconnected and detached.
- Contrary to popular belief, WFH creates a disproportionate work-life balance. While working in the comforts of home may be a luxury, home is not always the best place to be productive. Distractions such as neighborhood activity or family members talking can interrupt your motivation and efficiency.
In short, if you want to learn how to work from home in a healthy and fruitful manner, you need to set some ground rules for yourself. There are various tips for work from home available and you need to identify the methods that work best for you.
Healthy Work From Home Tips For Employees
Thanks to technology, we’re no longer bound by physical presence and geographical locations when it comes to our professional lives. Some of the top corporations like Amazon and Salesforce have normalized WFH options. Moreover, various industries such as education and training, healthcare and IT rely on remote working models. Several studies have even suggested remote, virtual and work from home models as the future of the world of work. Consider these simple yet effective tips for work from home if you want to make the best of this new normal:
1. Set Ground Rules
Whether it’s communicating with your employers what you need or telling others at home, it’s best to establish a common understanding. For example, if you want certain tools to make your WFH situation easier, you need to tell your employers in advance. On the other hand, if you’re sharing the space with someone, they should be intimated beforehand.
2. Create Your Workspace
Setting up a home office may sound exciting but isn’t always easy. From selecting proper furniture to making the space pleasant, it takes a bit of work. But the good thing is that this is a one-time investment. It’s important to choose the right furniture, space and lighting. These elements are instrumental in adding to your productivity and keeping a check on your well-being. Try to prioritize a dedicated workspace.
3. Check On Yourself
It’s easy to feel isolated when working from home. While it may increase your productivity, you may end up biting off more than you can chew. Always prioritize your health and emotional well-being. Something as simple as following a strict schedule and having proper start and stop hours is essential in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Moreover, establishing personal boundaries and learning to say no are also necessary. Mindful meditation and light exercises are effective ways to take breaks.
While these tips for work from home are important, it’s equally essential to communicate and collaborate as much as possible. If your organization has informal events or celebrations, try to be proactive and participate. Finding a work buddy not only makes you productive but also improves your emotional well-being.
Go Above And Beyond
When the world went into lockdown, it wasn’t easy to do everything virtually. But time has taught us that we are capable of responding to different kinds of situations. We have the capacity to handle change and even create new opportunities. If you want to make the best of your work from home situation, Harappa’s Embracing Change course will teach you how to remain resilient and seek new learning opportunities. The 3Ps of Resilience will teach you how to respond to setbacks while the 3As of Setbacks will help you overcome obstacles successfully. Step out of your comfort zone confidently and prepare for the future of work with Harappa!
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