Working from Home – A new paradigm
Best Practices for Working from Home
A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight.
The recent COVID19 Pandemic is almost a Black Swan event as it has reached unprecedented proportions impacting the way we Live, Interact, Go about our daily routine.
Organizations are gearing up to enable employees to work from the safety of their homes be it Technology Services, Banking, Sales or Educational Institutions. This means adjusting to the new Normal not only for us but also for our customers and teams.
A Paradigm Shift
While the Government and the Healthcare experts are working towards containing the situation and finding cure, it will be worthwhile for organizations to consider Work from Home (WFH)/ Remote Working a new norm and adapt technology and solutions which helps employees continue to deliver and engage with their customers, partners and teams.
This is going to be a Paradigm shift for everyone involved including your teams and family and we all need to be geared up for the same.
Over the last decade the number of people working from home and running their own businesses have grown by more than 100%. This will continue to grow as organizations continue to adapt and change their Business Models, Reporting Structures, Processes and Break Boundaries.
A New Normal
At Cisco, WFH is an accepted norm and we have the tools, security and backend infrastructure to support the volumes. I have been practicing this once or twice a week for the last 5 years and here are some of the Best Practices that I want to share with you.
- Follow your Routine – Get up and get ready at the same time as you would, the extra time you save in otherwise traveling gives you an opportunity to maybe have breakfast with family, help your spouse/partner with some chores or help your children with his/her studies. If you live alone, the extra time can be utilized to practice a new skill, read books or workout for sometime.
- Dress up – It’s very easy to be lazy when you are working from home and stay in your pajamas or shorts. I for one need to Dress up. I am not saying wear a suit, I mean wear a formal or semi – formal shirt. I do a lot of Video Calls and I want to look and feel professional. I am home alright, but I do take my work seriously. Someone I know even likes to wear shoes while working from home as it gives him a sense of being in that zone. To each his own.
- Dedicated Work Space – Not everyone can afford a luxury of a small office at home, but everyone should have that space ideally a work table with a good ergonomic chair. If you are going to be working for 8-10 hours might as well take care of your posture to avoid long terms health issues.
- Basic Infra – Ensure you have a decent quality secure Internet and a good pair of wireless headphones if your work like mine require you to be on Voice or Video Calls for longer duration.
- Continuous Engagement – Engage with your teams and colleagues regularly. It’s important to continue to share ideas, content and best practices. It’s also necessary to bond with the team if you are not going to be meeting them in-person. Be patient to the fact that like you they are also working from home and they will have some minor interruptions due to their surroundings. Many of us may have young kids or elderly who may need some attention.
- Prioritize and manage time – One of the things I am guilty about is continuously working for long hours. Remember, when you are working from home, you are never away from office and there can be tendency to put in long hours. (I still end up doing that once in a while). It is important to balance the work time and utilize the extra hours to do something productive. I have been recently doing Yoga and I can tell you it really helps me focus and also, I feel good about myself.
- Employee Productivity & Motivation – Organizations that enable WFH continue to not only save cost on travel, real estate and energy but also see improved productivity gains, faster turnaround time and improved efficiency. More important employees feel engaged, motivated and valued, thereby reducing attrition rates for organizations and they can attract and retain the best talent as there is no geographical boundaries.
At Cisco we are enabling organizations to Work Smarter from anywhere and from any device.
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Would you agree with me? What accordingly to you is the most important practice to follow, while you are working from home?