WFH- Tips and tricks to the new ‘norm’

Working From Home is becoming the new normal to most of us in this pandemic situation. Even though things are slowly getting back to normal, we may not be able to go to workplace and work as we used to do. Most major tech companies like Google, Facebook are extending their WFH policy until end of the year.

Most of tech companies in Sri Lanka started practicing WFH since march. As of now we have over 02 months of experience in full time WFH. Hence I thought of sharing my thoughts on few tips and tricks that worked for me so far.

1. Plan out your day & set working hours ( Including your lunch time )

It is really important to plan out your day before hand in WFH. It is possible that you may ‘miss’ or ‘skip’ certain things. Hence it would be ideal to plan out your day using your calendar. If not try using your mobile phone for planning.

Also about lunch time: In the office you might have a lunch gang which you get together and go to the lunch. Perhaps you may have a fixed time for your lunch. All of these things are now gone. Sometimes you may have missed your regular lunch time. Therefore it is important to ‘fix’ a lunch time.

2. Effective use of your communication tools

Communication is a vital factor in WFH. You need to communicate effectively with your co-workers/peers in this situation. As a practice you can inform your team when you are signing in and signing off. Also you can inform your team on the tasks that you are planning to work and update them If you find any blockers.

Your communication tools will play a big role in this. Use Skype/Teams/Zoom/Slack or any other collaborative tools to reach out to your peers. ‘Virtually meet’ your team regularly and be connect with them ‘virtually’

Also it is really important use the status of these tool. As an example If you are going away for lunch or If you are stuck at ‘Online meetings’ for hours make sure you update your status in this tools. So If anyone tries to contact you will know what you are actually doing.

3. Work environment

You may not have the perfect workplace to work in this situation. But it is important to find a space away from commonly used area in your home. This will help to avoid disturbance.

Find a good supportive comfortable chair as now you are out of your away from your comfortable office chair. Also it will increases your productivity If you can find an external monitor as you can use that to project your laptop screen.

Getting a good web camera or good headset will help you to actively participate in your online meetings and it will definitely boost your productivity.

4. Work out

It is advisable to have a some sort of physical activity in every hour at least for 20 minutes. It is not healthy to be in a meetings continuously for hours. Therefore leave your work area, climb your stairs, stretch in between your meetings.

Most of us became good gardeners in this situation. Go out from your work-space and enjoy your beautiful garden for 5-10 minutes and then start your work.

Also there are plenty of online GYM sessions are now available. You can use of them If you miss your regular GYM.

5. Online meeting etiquette

As always It is really important practice good meeting etiquette as it will save everyone’s time.

Unfortunately most of our meeting don’t start on time. It takes at least 5-10 minutes from the scheduled time to kick off the meetings. But now you are in your home and traffic or traveling time won’t keep you away from participating to a meeting on time. Therefore set reminders prior to your meeting and make sure you participate on time.

Always mute your microphone when you are not speaking. This will help to avoid and background noises/disturbances. Also try to turn on the videos when you are speaking as the new ‘norm’ of eye contact will be to speak to your camera/web cam.

Some communication tools give you the option to raise your hands in online meetings. Use this option If you want to talk or If you want to inform your host that you’d like to talk.

Simple things like above 05 steps helped me to have a better working from experience so far. I hope these tips and tricks will do the same for you!

Keep practicing social distancing – wash your hands regular! Be safe!