Work from Home (WFH) has never been more significant and relevant as in today’s time, and with the current crisis; it is going to be WFH for some time now. So while the term has been lead one to believe for an easy, relaxed work-life, with no boss hovering around, it is far from reality barring the latter part!
A recent meme spoke about how our video calls will be with all your background noise consisting of grandparents singing, cut fruits coming your way, the family chatting around and what not, and come to think of it, it is not entirely wrong too. However, WFH is not and should not be that. WFH is a lot more than just getting your work done. It is about coordination, planning and executing each and every bit of your plan without being monitored and ensuring that work is done. Besides all the “work getting done” challenge is the “so comfortable” environment and adulation of our family.
Since the act of “being in office” is difficult, rather a challenge I went on hunting somethings to read and understand how to make this perceivable easy task actually easy. Here are few WFH Etiquette (some borrowed, some my own) that I think is helpful for all of in this given time:
- Dress Professionally: remember it is your office, so dress as you would do for going to work.
- Stick to your routine: don’t change your alarm just because you don’t have to catch that bus. Stick to your usual time slots for snacks, lunch, coffee, tea, etc.
- Set your table: your table at your place will be your work station, so keep at as organised (or messy) as it would be at your workplace.
- Task List: Task list comes very handy when work needs to be done, so irrespective of whether your manager has asked you or not, put down your “To-Do List” and follow it to the “T”. Take up the pending tasks again the next day, this will ensure a cycle of tasks that will get you going through the day and the week.
- Plan your day: it is difficult to plan, especially if one is a non-planner but understand this, without knowing what your ingredients are, a dish would be hugely unsuccessful.
- Maintain an “office like” composure: behaving like you will be in the office also helps. It could be your tone, your way of dealing with your un-official calls, breaks, your chit-chats etc. whatever be it, paint it in official colours only. Try best not to engage in unnecessary chit-chat with family, as we often tend to forget that it is WFH, not FFW (free from work).
- Communicate to the family: It is best to inform your family about your working hours so that they too are aware of your “office like” composure and are not caught by surprise. Helps them too; to deal with the new routine.
- Ancillaries: do check external sound (traffic sounds) that might disturb your flow, the lighting around your room, and your chair you will be seated in! Ensure the height of it is comfortable, your posture is correct so that you don’t end up having back pains sitting in that “un-official” chair. Double-check internet connections. Try and have a backup in case your Wi-Fi runs out on you – Eg.: your mobile hot-spot (have enough data).
WFH comes with its own set of challenges and let’s give the benefit of doubt to our families too, as they too are coping with the whole new you “at-home-but-not-at-home”, this novel concept of WFH and why you can’t take the dog to walk because you are available at home! So it is best to brief them up, and have a little prep talk about all etiquette that you will be following; so that they also know what to look out for, and what will be their do’s and don’ts.
Our work is more than just the paper we sign, the approvals we get. It is more to do with the ensemble that we have. Our work station, our chair, our desk, the attire that we follow and so much more. So, working in pyjamas, or just a formal top and below your night pants isn’t going to get you that “official” feel, however hard you convince others (or yourself) that it does. When at work, you wouldn’t nap, so don’t nap here too just because the bed is tempting and is calling it out to you!
We should remember that even though we are working from home, it still works, and hence, when you log-in for a video call, be aware of your background, and what the others will see (no one wants to know how your room looks like), do not talk over the screen to your family members, asking for coffee/tea, telling them what to do etc. – remember you are at your workplace and not home.
And while, I do believe that the above-said pointers are easier said than done but if tried wholeheartedly, it sure will be as easy as following our Monday to Friday routine.
Written by: Meghali Guha, Training Coordinator, Biocon Academy