As we all know, the Covid-19 out-break, is gradually bringing the future of work here to us, as we can see, organizations are tactically changing their structure to fit into this future of work which is no longer future but ‘NOW WORK’

I understand that it might be a bit difficult for a number of organizations including yours to adapt to this new style of work. I have in this write up shared a few tips that can help maintain the productivity energy of us all as we work remotely. Please note that one of the most essential of all the tips is to carry on with your regular routine.

In the coming months or probably till the world is properly able to manage this pandemic, working from home might just be the most strategic and sensible way to go to avoid being shut down or go into extinction eventually. As it is with every other factor in life, Working from home has its Pro’s and Con’s, as well.

One major pro’s would be saving amount of time travel from your respective homes away from traffic gridlock which happens every now and then in most parts of the country. However, one major disadvantage is that you can get distracted working from home by the TV, or just looking at your bed or working in and out of the kitchen from time to time, it could even be poor electricity, poor internet connectivity and what have you.

Amidst all of these disadvantages, the advantages are still enormous. In my last place of work, I had an opportunity to work from home about 70% of the time so, I would like to share some tips on how you can maintain your productivity level while working from home.

1. My first advice would be to figure out a time or a dedicated area that would be your work station, so if you have a study room or a dedicated table and chair for studying, that might just be it for you, however, the most important thing is finding somewhere very comfortable that you can focus and get the work done.

2. The next is to wake up each morning as you would normally do on a work day. Remember, it is still your regular work day just that you are working from home, so follow your regular routines, still wake up early as always, pack your lunch, have your bath, get dressed. I would emphasise on getting dressed, I personally think that when you get dressed, it puts you in the work mode, it makes you mentally prepared for work. I’m sure you would feel embarrassed if you suddenly get a zoom or skype video call from a client and you are all dressed up in pyjamas or ‘nighties’ looking all messed up. Hey, I don’t mean wearing your suits and ties but just something decent enough to work with.

3. Ensure that you take time for break, have lunch and just like you will do when at work. Please be very time conscious at this point, because it is only normal that get carried away because you are at home. It would help, if you can list out your tasks for the day and follow through, It would be best to start with the most difficult task or most time consuming and gradually move onto the other tasks that are not time consuming.

4. We all have family members who do not understand that we have to work especially the kids who are not teenagers yet, so it would be best to also get them engaged as well, here is my advice, please help prepare for them maybe a night before, you might want to create a schedule of what they are supposed to be doing during the day, the activities that they are going to perform, so get their workbook or worksheet ready, also remember to include in their work schedule a time to play so that they can also exercise themselves and not find the whole process boring, you can sync your break time to their playtime so that you can get to spend time with them. I’m sure they would really look forward to that time and so leave you to finish your work. There are also free resources that people have put out online for kids which I think you should explore, you can check on Amazon or Google, you can just search for free resources for kids, I’m sure you would find something useful for your kids at this time.

5. For Business Leaders, Heads Of Departments, Team Leads you want to try as much as possible to keep in touch (KIT) with your employees and team mates during this period, especially if your team has not worked from home before now, you can explore tools like Slack which is for regular updates, just to get them connected. I would recommend Slack over Whatsapp to avoid distractions like chatting with friends and family members while working especially because it is a medium where so many information both fake and real are passed during this period, so I’m sure you don’t want your team members getting distracted in the middle of work responding to unnecessary messages having to battle with checking of the folders rather than focusing on the work which they are supposed to do, hence my reason for recommending Slack. There is also project management tool like Trello, Microsoft Teams etc., we can also make use of video conferencing tools like Skype, Zoom, and a host of other tools out there. It is important to communicate time and date for every weekly e-meetings, also get your team members to make a list of their various tasks and put on the dashboard so that every team member can see what has been done or what is left undone, this way everyone can sync together and still work together as a team.

You can also collaborate on documents at this time by exploring the use of Google docs, the spread sheet, drop box, etc. This helps team members sync on one document as opposed sending documents back and forth after each edit, and everyone can see the edits happen in real time. Also, as a team lead, it would be nice to have a one on one call with your team mates during the week. You can decide on a particular day when you will be speaking with your team just to know how they are faring in this period, it would further increase their loyalty knowing that you do not only care about their deliverables but also care about their well- being.

For as many out there who at one time had desired or requested to work remotely from your employers, this might just be the right time to prove yourself that you don’t have to be stuck in the office to be productive. Therefore, ensure to reply e-mails promptly, proof read your mails before sending, meet up with your deadlines and so forth, this way your request might just be considered after the whole covid-19 issues are all over.

Finally, please stay safe; observe all the necessary health tips like washing your hands, using your hand sanitizers, coughing into your elbow, maintaining a social distance, avoiding crowded places etc. We will get through this together!

Written by Kate C. (HR Consultant) for VTB Consulting (For more details on how we can help you navigate this time in your business/career visit our website; www.vtbconsulting.com.ng or follow us on twitter @vtbkonsult and like us on facebookpage.com/ vtbconsulting.com)

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