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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Going to Work - At Home

How to be Productive, Set Boundaries & Survive

When Everyday is Casual Friday

How did we get here? In the past there was a great divide in the work force - those who actually went to office to earned their pay check and those who worked from home - the #WFH clan.

The Coronavirus pandemic changed all that - almost overnight telecommuting has become the new norm for more than half the workforce. Globally, the future of work-from-home scenarios are expected to be very different from current iterations as companies rethink options for their employees, scale back their physical office spaces and find new ways to monitor employee productivity. Working from home is an entirely new experience for me. I was confronted with the reality that more than "working from home; we are home amidst a crisis trying to work."

The abrupt departure from the usual physical space has led me to make many changes both big and small. Carving out a workstation was the first challenge - since the family is home as well and looking for places to be productive. I find myself parked at my formal dining table - lured by the natural light and the opportunity to gaze out the window. As it turned out setting up the area was the easy part...

Getting into a routine requires more than a little discipline. After some initial floundering - I found my work legs so to speak - getting ready as if I was going to work, helped me transition mentally. But I have to confess I miss wearing earrings as they do not work well with headsets - they have become my latest accessory! Being cooped up indoors for weeks on end has caused the days to blur into an endless loop - saved only by my trusted Google calendar. Not printing stuff willy-nilly as one is prone to do at the office - I found myself using a work diary very productively to effectively channel my thoughts. Keeping a written diary of daily tasks and accomplishments help me navigate my day well.

Devise Your Unique Work Ritual

While realizing that I was fortunate to have the ability and the backing from my organization to be able to WFH - I miss one-on-one face time with my co-workers. I miss the sense of camaraderie and team work that comes from being in an office, where hallway chats and impromptu meet-ups can spark creativity and ideas - I take it upon myself to schedule weekly catch up calls or online chat sessions. I have been constructing parameters and framing boundaries for myself. As the warm weather beckons, I set my work hours so I can step out for my evening walk, which motivates me to wrap up my work on time. Slowly but surely the building blocks of my distinct work rituals are in place.

Digital Divide - Away from the Office

But the digital divide blurs at home - working with my family in shared spaces, clashing conference calls, with pets and children flitting in and out of the webcams - I have learned to take things in my stride and share everything including emotional and physical bandwidth.

As I witness those around me rise to this new challenge, determined to find new ways to function - I find myself pushing my own boundaries.

The #Pandemic has taught me an important personal lesson - that we have to integrate, assimilate and be compassionate towards each other and we have to start at our own doorstep. This physical isolation and introspection has forced us to fundamentally change how we communicate, collaborate, and manage our work and home lives.

Tell us, how has work has changed for you? Share your stories and illuminate for us how you are managing these two colliding worlds? Remember, as a community, we can learn from each other and adapt best practices for the #newnormal.

We are stronger together


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