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COVID-19 Work From Home Can be More Efficient, Provided You Know the Basic Etiquette

By Deepak Singh Thakur, Delta India

“Hard times teach us the most valuable lessons. ” I and many of my colleagues just experienced this adage firsthand after returning from an official trip abroad. As responsible citizens and employees, we had to go in self-isolation mode and experience work from home. This is our experience and learnings for all the other folks who may be new to the work from home experience.

With the coronavirus pandemic, bound to push most professionals toward increased social isolation, one of the strategies many businesses are using are options for employees to work from home. Many organizations have urged employees to stay away from offices and work remotely as governments try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

This brings in a new challenge of adopting a new work culture, without impacting the business efficiency. Hence, the need to adopt some simple etiquettes to make this experience a success.

Here are some basic tips to consider if you’re working from home during the pandemic:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” The most important step is preparing for this new home office experience. So plan in advance the following:

#1 Set up a space for your home office: Identify a dedicated space with the least noise or distractions as possible and with the best connectivity access to internet wifi and power. Set up a desk or comfortable sitting position, never fall in the trap of making your bed the new office. Prepare this place in advance with all office accessories, like your note pads, writing pens, charger dock, and extension cables. Make sure your internet services are upgraded and you have alternate wifi/internet options in-case one connection has an issue.

#2 Set up your video-conference zone: This may not be required for most people, but those who anticipate a video conference with clients or internal meetings should plan in advance. You don’t want others to see your collection of colorful undies drying at the background or kids playing. Set up and test the background you feel is the best and nearest to the internet/power connectivity. Also it should be a well-lit place, so your face is clearly visible and at its best. This should be a no-entry zone for the rest of the family and you need to set the rules in advance.

 #3 Plan and follow your schedule: Starting on time is more comfortable in your new home office as you don’t have to account for the commute time to your regular office. However, this is also where most people fall in the trap of changing their daily schedule and get casual. I highly recommend that you follow your regular schedule of getting up early and maybe spend some time planning for the day ahead. Clear your pending emails, set your day goals and priorities your work.

 #4 Don’t be a zombie: Looking your professional best helps you to be motivated to work efficiently, hence one must be ready as if you have to be at a regular office. That means get ready as you do for office, wear good dress, take care of your hygiene to feel fresh and look smart. Don’t miss taking that morning bath, or you will end up looking sleepy, feeling lazy and a walking zombie, scaring your family too.

#5 Stay isolated but fully connected: This is a critical aspect of work from home, one needs to be isolated from the distractions but also be connected regularly with the teams and customers. Never put an out-of-office notification, ensure you are available to your business needs at all times. Keep in regular touch with your reporting manager and your teams through calls, Skype or chats. Engage the team, motivate them, keep track of daily activities and don’t forget to check their health. Have some fun talk, it really helps.

#6 Take regulated breaks: Setup some regular breaks for coffee, mixing with your family, pet time, calling your friends, taking fresh air, a bit of walking, or even an afternoon power nap. All this really helps you stay focused, fresh and not bored to death.

#7 Time and response management: A lot of work depends on your availability on time for Skype meetings, internal reviews, approvals and strategic decisions. Hence, it is important that you are available on time to address these issues and also ensure your teams know to reach you over the phone for critical matters. Have an alarm clock or the best is to schedule alarms on your smartphone for critical scheduled meetings or calls. This will help you avoid delays or worse yet, missing them completely. Don’t depend too much on emails, pick up your phone and call for urgent matters to the concerned person.

#8 COVID-19 additional readiness: Besides the above regular work from home good practices, one must consider all the precautions listed for fighting the spread of COVID-19. Regular hand washing for a minimum of 20 seconds, especially before food intake, is recommended. Keep a hand sanitizer near your desk, keep applying it on your hands, and clean your laptop keyboard, mouse etc with the sanitizer and soft tissue. Drink regular sips of water the whole day to keep hydrated and take regular healthy food. Follow other known precautions and remember to be isolated in your social life too.

Now that you are all set for work from home, here are few things to take care of:

1.    Switch off your social media notifications.
2.    Don’t watch too much TV, news or try to finish those Netflix series overnight. Have a sound eight hours of sleep to stay fresh each day.
3.    Keep some time for physical exercise or yoga.
4.    Don’t eat too much and add those extra pounds.
5.    Don’t go out for shopping or social engagements during working hours, remember you are not on leave.
6.    Avoid going out, to help fight against this COVID-19 epidemic. Be a responsible citizen.
7.    Have fun while you work, listen to some music etc.
8.    Avoid picking fights with your spouse, it’s not the right time when in isolation 🙂

Let me know if you have more suggestions to add to these. You can also see some more work from home tips from the Delta India CIS team in this short video. Thanks for your time to read these tips and hopefully you will enjoy your new work from home experience.

About the Author (Guest Contributor)

I lead the profitable growth of the CIS BU in India and SAARC countries, with over 21 years of customer engagement for critical physical infrastructure design build. I’ve got a strong drive to create new solutions that deliver business value, customer success, by innovative professional services and integrated technology solutions, to address customer needs. Besides work, photography and reading management books on sales keep me occupied.

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