Working From Home For Dummies: The Beginner’s Guide

Gone are the days for the outdated, inaccurate and the rigid !

That’s what a statement like “I cannot pull up my productivity levels while working from home” is.

Fact Check : You can be at home and still remain as productive as ever; Perhaps even more!

So, what is the secret sauce that goes for a successful, highly productive ‘work-from-home’ day?

Here are some tips or suggestions :

  • Fix a corner in your home – Don’t work just anywhere. The pillows will seem inviting, but stay immune to the charms of the bed! Sit in an upright posture and don’t recline or bend too much – unless, of course, you are planning for medical leaves on grounds of back-pains and headaches. #NotComfortable
  • Get started with a fresh mind and body – A tired mind and drowsy eyes are never good ingredients for any meaningful work. Don’t just get out of bed and sit down with your laptop, still in your night dresses and with a toothbrush in hand. Have your morning cuppa, have a quick shower, and get going with a fresh and positive feel.
  • Keep societal responsibilities at an arm’s length – There’s a difference between working from home and being on leave – the sooner you realise that, the better. Unless you are actively looking to waste the day, calling over friends and/or your special one and having heart-to-heart conversations with them is an absolute no-no. In fact, don’t shout out from the top of the roof that you are working from home. Friends and relatives and acquaintances will drop in by the dozen – and that will ruin your ‘work day’.
  • Keep your manager in the loop, always – Make sure your manager understands, realizes and appreciates the fact that you’re working. Keep communicating constantly. Submit updates, talk about task roadmaps and maintain a seamless conversation channel. Don’t compare notes on the latest football scores or nail enamel shades, however!

    Tips for communicating with managers while working from home

    – Use chats for “small” communication
    – Use Slack or Google Hangouts for “better” voice/video communication, even if it’s for 2-3 mins.
    – Don’t be over-reliant on chat conversations. Use more intuitive visual tools like videos, screenshots and graphics to avoid chances of communication gaps.

    Bonus tip: Are you a coder? Don’t give in to the temptation of creating a code that will send an automated ‘Hi’ message to your manager at regular intervals!
  • The phone is your friend – You might be away from the office, but your office need not be away from you ever. If you are facing any problems or have a doubt, pick up your handset and place a call immediately. If you procrastinate on this, your time is lost, your tasks remain unfinished, and your manager won’t be a happy chappie!
  • Keep family time separate from work time – When KJo had said “it’s all about loving your parents”, he was almost certainly not talking about people working from home. Yes, keeping time out for parents and siblings, and spouse, and kids is important – but don’t siphon that time out of your working hours. Explain to them properly that professional times and personal times should never overlap. Get them to respect your “work time”. 

    Fun Tip : Keep an indicator or flag to let your family members know you’re working and/or are on client calls. They will help you and let you concentrate if they know clearly that you’re working.

    Statutory Warning: If you are male and married and your wife is calling, answer a couple of times. You do not want to go to bed with an empty stomach!

    Set a schedule for breaks for lunch and snacks – Fix regular mealtimes for your ‘work-from-home’ days, and stick to the times. If your lunch and snack times are unpredictable, that causes additional distraction.

    Example: Your mom might tell you to bring sugar, or your wife might ask you to join her for tea. You might feel that those extra 10 minutes won’t make a difference – at the end of the day, they do. If everyone at home knows your schedule, they will never disturb you.
  • The ‘we-are-both-at-home’ dilemma → If both you and your husband/wife are working from home, try to sync your schedules to match one another’s – for work, meals, and snacks (nah, no naps in between!). If the routines don’t match, don’t wait for one another. It might look odd, but it’s all for the greater good. Make it up by turning on the charm over the weekend!
  • Kick unhealthy eating habits – Don’t drown too many cups of tea or coffee while working. Control the urge to order food online from Swiggy or Zomato. Eating anything in excess without control will be bad for your health. You need to be at the pink of your health – and gorging on junk food regularly is certainly not the best way to attain that target!
  • Don’t be over flexible – Working from home implies flexible working hours, but don’t stretch this too much. Do not fall for the considerable attractions of an afternoon nap, and avoid calling up a buddy who is also working from home. Otherwise, you might end up wasting several hours, and have to work overtime to compensate for that (who wants that?!). Fix your working hours.
  • Your tired eyes need REST, not NETFLIX – The moment you are done for the day, don’t just jump on to Netflix or Prime Video or Zee5 to catch up on your favourite shows. In fact, don’t binge on Prime/Netflix at odd hours. Limit your watching time, and give your eyes the rest they deserve. Waiting for a day or three for the next episode is, in any case, more fun!
  • Be honest to yourself – Be a disciplined person.  Do not just ‘show’ that you are working, but deliver actual productivity. Give your best and you will be sorted!

Lastly, if you are, for some reason, feeling down and demotivated, download the HelloMind app and enjoy cool hypnotherapy sessions. You’ll be back on your feet – literally and metaphorically – in a matter of minutes!
Note: this post is not sponsored by HelloMind, I just happened to use it daily!

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