The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses globally to adopt unprecedented measures. A recent report of Federal Reserve’s suggests that the share of labor working from home tripled in last 15 years even without the Corona Outbreak. This suggests that the dynamics of workplace are changing all over the world. There are many reasons for this trend like technology boom, cost efficiency in terms of saving office rentals and commute costs. But at the same time, work from home also has some significant challenges as Kevin Roose, a reporter from New York Times, writes that work from home impedes creative spark that fly when we actually interact with people instead of talking with their thumbnails.
The situation is equally dire for startups who need to get constantly in touch with their customers for evolution over time. We have tried to point out some guidelines for the startups to consider during this work from home situation to maximize their productivity.
One of the downside of social distancing and work from home situation is the communication gap between the team members. It is very important for the team and the managers to communicate more with each other to bridge this gap. It is crucial for the team members to know what is expected of them in remote working circumstances. A study by Barbara Larson, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who studies remote working, suggests that video calls are the most productive solution for communication in remote working situations. Sara Sutton, CEO and Founder of FlexJobs, says,
“Out of sight, out of mind can be a real problem for remote workers.”
Have a designated Work-Space
An important tool to stay concentrated and attached to work is to have a separate designated work space at home. This place doesn’t necessarily need to be a dedicated office but it should not be used as a place of relaxation and leisure. Designated a quiet and comfortable corner in your house as your workspace with all the essential tools needed to you for work such as power outlets, table, chair, filing drawer etc.
Identify the tools needed to Work
It is very important to have all the tools that you need to work from home. Have a stable internet connection so that you are not disturbed with internet connectivity issues during working hours, install all the software such as Zoom, Slack, Skype, MS Office and others. In absence of these tools you will continuously be going back and forth looking for alternatives.
Have a Work Routine
Maybe the most difficult thing to establish during work from home is a work-life routine. Start building this routine in stages starting from the first step; start working at the same time every day, take scheduled breaks for meals and rest. Try not to eat and relax at your workplace, instead go out of your work space during breaks and socialize with your family in those breaks and then get back to work.
Keep spirits up
Finally the most important advice at this point in time, Keep your Spirits Up. These are very stressful times and overflow of negative information from media makes it worse. Communicate with your colleagues and co-workers during work times to feel less isolated and to have a feeling of belongingness. The long-term self-isolation makes people prone to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. A good manager is one who doesn’t only keep the track of work but also keep up the morale of his team as Larson says,
“If you’re a manager, acknowledge there’s stress and difficulty. Your job is to be a cheerleader for the team.”