A colleague dropped me a message in my Chat box few months back. I had not noticed how soon Working from Home had set a new work culture in professional setting and acronym for the same- ‘WFH’ was being so popularized. Some enjoyed Working from Home whereas other felt it stressful. My experience had both perks and downside to working from home, I shall talk about it.
After Government of Nepal imposed national lockdown on 24th March 2020 to prevent spread of global COVID-19 pandemic, I also transitioned towards WFH, a new phenomenon born in the period of lockdown. I quickly adapted to WFH as most individuals around the world were doing.
Let me share my experience with some challenges I faced while working from home.
Working from home for quite a while has its own arrangement of difficulties, essentially on the grounds that we are completely used to being around colleagues during the work day. As a reality and public health need of social distancing, I was bound to follow this practice.
List of challenges are not so long but I am sharing few ones that were practically and dominantly challenging. It was my first experience of working from home. While it is extraordinary not disturbing as I don’t need to travel to office from home and vice-versa and does not need preparation before I leave for office as much as I used to do in the past, the disadvantage is the detachment that you can experience while working remotely. It felt lonely as I was unable to meet and interact with colleagues in person. You start to miss the office setting and the coffee breaks.
Another major challenge I faced was the bad internet connectivity. This does not only hamper productivity but also creates communication gap or miscommunication. To adapt to this situation, I had to be persistent enough to call my internet service provider 3-4 times a day (not exaggerating) and complaint about the bad connectivity and ensure they would do something about it to at least have it working so I could proceed with my work.
Imagine someone from office calls you but while discussing on the work that has to be completed, out of nowhere your Wi-Fi signal drops. Before you know it, you’re rushing from one room to another to locate a signal. What can be more frustrating than this?
Distraction is another area that you have to cope with while working from home. I was easily distracted with my household chores, books that I had left unread for quite a while and wanted to finish reading or the notification sound that beeps on your phone to scroll down and check on your social media feed to see if you’re missing out on something. These can be some of the temptations that can hold you back from making progress on your work.
Challenges have solutions
Your employer can have a big role in helping you with all the challenges that you might face while working remotely. My office (HERD International) provided me platform to work from home, it backed it up with appropriate policies and processes to facilitate our work. It becomes necessary for organization, morally as well, to ensure that employees feel connected, supported and informed as remotely work continues. The office kept us engaged throughout this situation via platforms like Zoom and MS Teams and showed enough concerns towards our safety. We had multiple engagements and interactive session sharing all staff members’ experience throughout the lockdown phase that helped us to reconnect with our colleagues, share joy and hear about their creative sides, not just professional assignment. HERD International colleagues have been active listeners with readiness to receive feedback and exchange ideas.
The initial lockdown phase allowed me to explore my creative side as well. But as time kept moving, all days looked the same. To work from home, the main lesson I learned was to have access to a private space and a good internet connection. Private space which you call it your home office should be somewhere in your house where its ideally noise-free and where family members have limited mobility in your room. It is also crucial for individual to establish a healthy routine, because balancing work life and home life is a critical indicator for successfully working from home. In the initial phase it was difficult to manage time, as it was really a challenging task to differentiate work time from personal time as you also had home chores to balance, not an easy thing to do but not impossible either.
Prioritize, Prioritize and Prioritize
I discovered that you should stay with a timetable which is customized. It is a learning cycle, each day is another day and it teaches you what works and what doesn’t. Making changes as needed is essential. If you are determined to remain efficient at work, you will find time for your family as well. So I found it useful not to protract the assignment until late evening or night so that I could fully enjoy my quality time with the family.
I realized working from home carries possible advantages a great deal if you tactfully manage your time.
So I would suggest you to set boundary, follow routine, stay motivated and take care of your health while working from home.