Working from Home: Challenges & Opportunities
| Brig. (Dr) Sunil Kumar Moudgil (Retd) - 01 Apr 2020

In the present scenario, everyone is working from home and the virtual meetings have become the norm. Last week, before the whole country was placed on lockout, I overheard a couple of people saying that when we work from home, every day looks pretty much like a weekend! You can work wherever, wear whatever and play whatever! Is the attitude or perspective correct? Working from home throws certain challenges but many advantages.
 The challenge is, working from home could lead to neglecting to spend quality time with the family and one faces constant distractions. However, work from home gives many advantages over working from the office, such as protection against environment issues, saving time & stresses of reaching office through maddening traffic/crowds and keeping away from office politics, etc. ‘Working from Home’ could also be seen as an opportunity to develop Self-discipline, apart from being a need of the hour or only option now. It is believed that there are 3 qualities required to succeed/outperform in life: Passion, Hunger & Self -discipline. So, treat this as an opportunity to create self-discipline so that there is no difference as far as the quality of work is concerned when someone works from an office or home.
 What is self-discipline? It is the ability to control yourself and to make yourself work or behave in a way, without needing anyone else to tell you what to do. How to go about it? The powerful Mantra is ‘Create and Follow Rituals’. Good rituals are compelling motivation creators. Good ritual/routine also reduces emotional disagreement between us and our goals.
 So, when we work from home, what shall we do?
  Prepare your next day an evening before. Set a schedule for the next day and strict about it. Based on the commitments, concerns, and urgencies at hand, plan, list and priorities ‘What to Do’ the next day. If self & spouse both are working from home and small children need to be also taken care of, then virtual meetings and important calls can be appropriately spaced to make available either of two to handle children.   
 Have a sound good night’s sleep. Since there is no scope for socializing and moving around due to lockout, so early to bed and early to rise shall be a great idea. 7/8-hour sleep is good & healthy, helps build concentration and keep you charged up for the rest of the day.
 Go through the morning routine/rituals. Spend 15 to 20 minutes on exercising your body (ground exercises etc.) & mind (meditation). Brush your teeth, have a shower and comb hair. It creates a feel-good factor. After breakfast, dress up as per the office dress code. By doing so you are communicating and sending a signal to your brain that you are charged up & ready to work for the day.
 Create a dedicated workplace. Space selected must inspire. Having a few square feet in one corner of the house as a dedicated workspace can also work wonders, in case a separate room is not available for work. Mentally, it must help you to disconnect. Since working from home shall continue to be the need for days to come, a dedicated place must give you a feel as if you are working from the office.
 No distractions. Have an understanding with the spouse/family members, not to interfere in your work schedule. Mobiles etc. can also be kept away provided you expect calls from clients/team members/boss.
 Create boundaries between personal and professional work. Work from home can blur the line between the two. One can get back to be casual in approach. Plan to give yourself occasional breaks for tea/lunch/eats and listening to news/music for updates/destressing. Background light music can also be played at the place of work, to keep the environment & mood lively.  
 Gift yourself. Once the day has gone well, as planned, then you really deserve a break for yourself & family. Have two different sets of cloths work clothes and home clothes. Change into home clothes to feel that the day’s work is over and now is the time to relax. Play a game, watch television, help children to pick up soft skills or just spend time with the family.

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