Can We Stay Professional Within The Juggle Of Home Routines?

June 9th, 2020

THE NEW NORMAL OF WORK FROM HOME

Introduction

Waking up at 8, getting ready, hastily having breakfast and finally clambering desperately for vehicle keys or if lucky, booking a cab to go to the office. This was the standard for every working individual, but it’s something like a distant dream now.

COVID19, the present-day pandemic, has been laying waste as a consequence for more than 5 months now and has affected almost everyone on this planet. Amidst this chaos, almost all of the developed and developing nations have borne the brunt. The global economy has also taken a major hit.

Working from home

As a preemptive measure to curb the spread of coronavirus, a complete lockdown has come into effect, which has put our daily lives out of joint. Social distancing has become the new yardstick and home has become the new office.

Every individual regardless of being an employee of a government or private agency, across the world is now getting accustomed to working from home. While “Work From Home” or WFH alternative was familiar to people in the IT and some other sectors, since about 2005, the concept is relatively new to others.

As it can be guessed, WFH brings with it indisputable autonomy during working hours, extraordinary flexibility, and a commute period of about 30-40 seconds, that is walking from the bedroom to the living room or study!

Including the above, companies that steadily leverage the cost advantage also get the added benefit of getting the option of allowing more of their employees to Work From Home.

Talking about costs, financial prerequisites for WFH is minimal which only includes the price of a steady internet connection with a decent laptop or desktop and, for online conferences and meets, a pair of formal shirts.

Cons of WFH

Sure, WFH has a lot of pros but it has cons too. As with great power comes great responsibility so does extraordinary flexibility with extraordinary concentration. It’s always easy to get distracted while working at home by various domestic chores or emergencies.

WFH also requires a noteworthy amount of awareness, especially self-awareness, as a person can let go of professionalism when bound by the comfort of home. Discipline is also one of the prerequisites.

Now, coming to the more serious concerns, several veterans of the IT sector have complained about the security of Working From Home. It’s a given that currently, 99% of official devices come with pre-installed anti-virus and anti-malware software. Even then, there’s a well-defined base for the possibility of data leaks, sometimes for sensitive information too, which is quite a hindrance.

Indians also have to worry about stable power supply, which can be figuratively fatal for those who are working on date-critical or deadline-based projects.

Home routines clashing with WFH

Imagine a situation where you have to complete a project today at home but you also have to visit your dentist, replenish your grocery stock and repair your car. Understand where I’m getting at?

It is, without a doubt, mandatory to finish the project but the household chores like buying groceries and repairing the mode of transport are also important. Anyone can get a hard time getting by through a situation like this.

Home routines or domestic chores clashing with home-based projects can get unavoidable sometimes.

How to stay professional?

After laying down the advantages of and challenges faced while working from home, it is a must to mention some dos and don’ts:

  1. Home-based projects come with distractions, as mentioned earlier, especially when your loved ones are nearby or someone’s watching the TV. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to work in the study or a secluded room where no one is nearby.
  2. Another crucial and required aspect for WFH is laser-like focus. Without focus, anyone can get easily diverted from their work.
  3. Try not to work from the bed or couch because you can get cozy and sleepy mid-work. Do it the preferred way, laptop on a table and you on a chair beside it.
  4. The room where one works should have sufficient lighting as sometimes the need to communicate via video calls and conferences with colleagues may arise.
  5. Creating a set working structure and routine with carefully determined boundaries for domestic activities is also required because, time and time again, it’s easier to get distracted by domestic or personal matters.

Working From Home in India

IT employees have been working from home from the dawn of the COVID19 lockdown in India. But now, due to variable working hours and staggered attendance post-lockdown, the Human Resources Department of the Government of India has introduced a draft framework for WFH for government employees.

DoPT or the Department of Personnel and Training is set to provide the WFH option for a duration of 15 days per year, which envelops about 49 Lakhs of Central government employees and staff. This option is also applicable to some state employees too.

Conclusion

There’s a saying “The word impossible is spoken as I’m possible”. It is possible to stay professional while Working From Home, even while going back and forth through various domiciliary tasks. But for that one has to stay expend some energy, stay focused and ultimately follow a set of guidelines.

Nobody knows how long this pandemic will continue to put our lives out of commission, so the only thing we can do is to adjust our lives to match the COVID19 protocols, which would inevitably require some of us to Work From Home.

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