The home-work juggle
As work cultures change, working at home is becoming quite commonplace. However, this needs a certain kind of discipline and planning to work well
The digital world we live in may have its pros and cons but one thing that has made life very convenient is that it has given a large number of working professionals the opportunity to work from home. A concept that was unheard of a few years back, working from home is today a reality and also quite commonplace. In fact, there are some organisations that pay you something extra for working from home as they save on space, electricity and other allied costs.
But while it may seem very hunky dory on the surface, it is imperative to remember that working from home comes with a certain set of responsibilities from your end. It is important to understand that while you are at home, the operative word still remains the same – work! You are working, it is just that it is at a different location and this one happens to be your home. They key then is to ensure that you have a dedicated work space that is really like an office where you can work and ensure that things are on track.
The common error that most people make is that they tend to think that working from home is a holiday. With this mindset, you will not just miss deadlines but your work will suffer, things will start to fall apart and you may risk losing your job in the end.
However, if you do things right, working from home can be more productive. Sheetal Diya Kinger, Founder, Focus PR, Chennai avers, “Working without a traditional employer’s workspace, well, works for me as it gives flexibility, autonomy and not having to ask anyone permission to take a break. Working from home full-time, or on a regular basis, has a lot of upsides — no commute, better work-life balance, effective time management, saving on money and time and all this can actually make you happier. For many working women, the most difficult task is to strike a balance between career, household responsibilities and kids. It is a herculean task and hence women often tend to get very little or no time for them. Three years back, I decided to quit my corporate job and started my venture in PR field by working from home. My life is so much better since then as I am able to manage lot manythings and be more productive.”
So here are some tips that will help you ace your skills of working from home.
The first step is to ensure that you create a working nook at home. Ensure you have a desk and chair that is comfortable and ergonomic.
“Your posture is directly related to your productivity. Dress up while you start working as being in home wear could lead to lethargy. Take breaks every 45 minutes and enjoy a short 'me' time. Do not make your bedroom your work room,” says Abhilasha Daga, a freelance consultant.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
Work from home is still work and you need to explain to your family and friends that even though you are working from home, it does not mean you are available. You and they need to respect your time.
“From my experience, to work from home on a regular basis, you must be well-organised, have time management skills and be a self-starter. Be honest with yourself before you take the leap. Figure out a schedule that works for you. Do you prefer to wake up early and get a jump start on your day by 7 am? Go for it! Or maybe you’re a night owl and get most of your work done after dinner. That’s okay, too,” explains Kinger.
Working from home does not mean that you do not go out. Make time to meet your clients face to face on a regular basis and also break the monotony of working by yourself. Of course in today’s times it is important to network online and you can get active in LinkedIn groups that relate to your work too.
Lakshmi Dasaka, CEO and founder of Goodness! Beverages, agrees, “If you are an independent consultant who works from home a regular basis, try working out of coffee shops or other public places at least few times a month. Working alone can be solitary, so finding virtual or physical work buddies is very important.”
While you are at home working all the time, managing to strike the balance between family chores and professional duties, ensure your health does not take a backseat. Get plenty of fluids and eat healthy, take time out to cook a healthy meal for yourself. Ensure that you go for regular walks, either in the morning or evening. “Try and join some kind of sport activity which is a bit more vigorous. It will keep your mind more alert, your body less desk-shaped and will also ensure that your relationship with the home office does not feel constricting and claustrophobic,” says Kinger.
With newer technology and innovation, it is a must to keep yourself abreast and updated to ensure you are in tune with the times. Sign up for an online course as it is simpler and can be done from the comfort of your home.
The idea is that complacency must never set in and you retain your competitive edge at all times.