The pandemic we are in has swept a large chunk of workers chained to office desks into the quicksand world of work from home. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve been a hobbit in that world and I still find myself straddling procrastination and productivity. It takes a while and some experimenting to find your groove so patience and good humour are good things to stock up on.
As a veteran of the home desk, I picked up a few hacks, some by accident, some via advice. At the risk of sounding like one of those clichéd 5 ways to blah blah, here are 5 ways to navigate WFH in a new world order.
One of the perks of having no desk in a sterile building is the freedom to take walks, long ones that give much needed exercise besides a time out that helps in working out knotty work challenges. I’ve found a late afternoon, evening amble works wonders especially if you straddle different time zones. Of course, the time of the day for you may be different. I’m lucky to have woods nearby which are relatively cooler than city streets, making it conducive to step out when the sun is still up.
A French press, please
Coffee lovers will empathize why a coffee fiend needs her cup to begin her work day. And then refresh with a few more through the day. If caffeine is not your kick, choose your beverage, it is usually good company. Besides the home brewed stuff, I make it a point to hit a cafe once a week and work out of there for a change of scenery.
Comfort or Style? You choose
The jury is out on this one and I’ve been known to follow one or the other depending on the mood of the day. At other times, it is dependent on procrastination or productivity levels. In the last few years, the saree has been a great pick me up simply for how good it makes me feel. There are days though when I roll out of bed and in front of the screen especially when a deadline looms ominous or there is a call waiting.
Early Bird or Night Owl
One of the pitfalls of working independently is the unruliness of time. It’s just assumed that one is always available. Thanks to all the various communication channels, it’s almost like incessant knocking on the door. Boundaries can be tricky to navigate and it is best to establish how you work at the starting line.
Considering that work from home is really about juggling different projects, I would be a mess if not for a real time calendar that I could manage with a swipe. The phone calendar seamlessly integrates all appointments into one place keeping meetings and deadlines visible yet private.
Hacks are all fine but human connection in some form is also essential. Phone calls, the odd tweet while starting up or a blog post are welcome connections in a remote world and my day is interspersed with a quick check in or two. I must confess some days it can be more than just a quick check in. We really are a social species and in times of social distancing, social media is a saviour.