THE NEXT NORMAL

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By H. M. Tarikul Kamrul

H. M. Tarikul Kamrul writes on how to work effectively from home during this quarantine period.

Imagine this. Waking up late in the morning, the first thought that gives you an adrenaline rush is you are already late for the office; then suddenly you boot-up your full consciousness and realize that you have been in home quarantine for the last couple of weeks. Yes, Accept it. This no longer seems to be an imagination anymore. This has become the harsh reality of today.
During the current Covid-19 situation, you have to stay home for your own safety and for the best protection of your beloved family. Right now, no one knows when we all will be back to our normal daily life and office work but we have a solution for this problem in the corporate world. That is ‘Work-from-Home’. After Coronavirus and its related topics, Work-from-Home is the most common thing we have discussed during this global pandemic. Many of us are continuing this work-from-home activity for the last 1 month or more. While your conventional physical office may be close and you don’t need to hurry to catch your office in the morning but you need to have the same level of energy and passion to start your every working day, from your very home. This article discusses 10 ways on how to manage this work-from-home most effectively during this #StaySafeatHome period.

01. Believe that you are in the Office: You need to keep yourself disciplined. Sleeping on time and waking up early is a must during the working days. After waking up, do proper morning activities like a work-out session, breakfast etc. Then change to formal or smart casual attire, as if you are going to your office. Set a fixed place or corner at your home for your everyday office work. It is good if you can make a dedicated workplace with your office working stuff; laptop, desktop, stationeries, board-markers, chart paper etc. You need to have the mindset that you are in the office and ready to perform better every day.

02. Ensure family support: As we are staying 24 hours at home, we need greater family support right at this moment more than ever, to perform office work effectively. You need to make your family aware regarding your dedicated workstation and request them for full support during the office hours by not making any distractions in that specific space. Also, other than very urgent needs, it will be good if you are not asked for any involvement in daily matters during office hours. You need to request them all this empathetically and your family members will also understand that you are very serious about your job responsibilities and dedication.

03. Have a Fixed Office Hour: You must fix an office hour, that can be from 9 AM to 6 PM or any other time bracket, whichever suits your office timing and yourself. Have a finishing line and you must complete your daily work by that cut-off time. Sometimes you might need to work extended hours for a special requirement or for completing an important project but your regular days must have a cut-off time of your work.

04. Set Clear Goal and Objective for You and Your Team: It’s very difficult to keep yourself focused during this home quarantine period, but by practising this old dogma of “Set Clear Goal” at the first place, is going to help you and your teams a lot. Set clear goals for yourself. Set weekly goals as our ‘Lockdown and General Holiday period’ is getting extended week by week. So, it will be more logical to set weekly goals and objectives. Then break it down to daily deliverables both for you and yourself and complete the daily deliverables or targets by that day. For your team, it’s very important to set clear expectations during this period, as you are not getting them in office; give prompt feedback and direction. The expectation has many different meanings to many different people if it is not articulated clearly. So set and communicate your team weekly and daily goals, through formal email and reinforce.

05. Ensure tools and resources: Now, you have set periodic goals and objectives, you need to ensure tools and required resources to achieve the set goals. It can be technical tools like smooth internet connection, workstation, installation of required apps and software in your devices or it can be some materialistic resources for your teams like safety kits and equipment, or logistics and transportation support, or quick cash-monetary resources to keep running the business. As a professional, you need to rightly figure out the required resources and must ensure it to achieve your and your team’s goals. Failing to do so, will result in non-achievement of your objectives.

06. Effective Reporting: As you have set the periodic goals and objectives, you need to prepare reports of your progress and seek such similar reports from your team members at day end or at the end of the week. Effective reporting will help you understand how much you have progressed against your set targets and what is your gap or percentage of over achievement. These reports will help you to set your next day/weeks work plan.

07. Reset Action Plan: Once you get the reports, you must analyze the outcome to see if there is any gap between the results and expectations. You need to analyze the micro things affecting the results in a context of the macro-level socio-economic scenario of current COVID period. Be logical and don’t set any such goals that are not possible during this period. If you believe that your goals are attainable then reset your action plan or work pace or resource planning to cover up the gaps in the coming day or you can reset your goals also, as the macro-scenario outside is changing continuously around us.

08. Use Tech Tools: WhatsApp is a very popular tool in our country for effective corporate communication through active groups. Also, Teams and Zoom have recently become very popular for group calling, video conferencing etc. During this home period, utilize all these tools to communicate effectively with your supervisor, peers and team members. Request your team members to be very active in these working groups to get the updated information and new direction. You can seek a daily reporting summary and outcome summary in all these SMART apps too along with the detailed outcome in email.

09. Spread Motivation: During this challenging period, you need to keep yourself motivated. Spread your positive spirit among others as well. Be it your supervisor, or peers, team members and family members. Avoid all sorts of negative news and rumours. This is not going to help you in any way right at this moment. Motivate your team members the way you never did before. Call them frequently, ask about their well-being and request them to take care of themselves the most during this period. Extend support in office work, help them to achieve their individual & team goals and don’t boss around now, so that they feel energized when you are engaging with them. Your self-motivation, as well as your team’s motivation, will greatly help to achieve day to day challenges during the ‘work-from-home’ period.

10. Prepare yourself for Post-COVID World: You have a lot more time now. No travel time, hectic traffic, no social engagement. Utilize all this time in trying out new things. Do practice new things and new ways in your work. Think of new value addition to your company & for yourself. In post-COVID period, there will be a big shift in our corporate and enterprise world. The more competent you are, the more chances that you will do better in the post-COVID-19 era. Remember, this is the time when many of you can accelerate your growth by learning new things, developing new skills and raising your own standard. Utilize this time as someone else is surely utilizing this time to do so.

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