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Working from home

Rashik Riasat | Wednesday, 25 March 2020


The novel coronavirus pandemic has struck the world by terror. Global economy is on the verge of collapse and people from all walks of life are taking the toll. In this challenging time, many workplaces have issued work-from-home for most of their employees. Even though the concept of work-from-home has been there for some time, it has not been in action in this huge scale ever before. Hence, this might take some time getting used to and the overall productivity might be compromised as well.

In order to ensure that the productivity while working from home stays, the same as that while working at the work place, here are five tips which can be helpful.

Establishing an accountability maintenance system

People normally do not associate home with work. Hence home feels like a place to take rest, after a long day's work, to most people. This leads to people getting distracted easily and slacking off. To prevent this from happening, team leaders should set certain guidelines to follow that will help the team members stay on track.

For example, Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury, who currently manages a team of eight software engineers at SELISE rockin' software explained, "As a company, we have shifted all our meetings online, and started working from home since last week. In order to ensure productivity and delivery, we have a meeting at the beginning of the day where my entire team presents their plan for the day and another one where they highlight what they have achieved. Also, we have several 10-minute follow up meetings throughout the day where we resolve dependencies on each other. Our CEO believes, as a tech company, we should have no productivity loss for working from home, but insisted that it should go up."

Making sure all work-from-home equipment are in order

Working from home requires having functional computer, strong Internet connection, and a distraction-free place to work in. In addition, frequent video conferencing is required as well. So making sure the webcam is perfectly functional and ensuring workable video quality is a must as well.

Ashiqul Alam, the vice president and team head, RM Support, Corporate Banking at HSBC said, "I would recommend people to make sure their logistics are in order beforehand. I once had an experience where a presentation had to be cancelled because someone's ceiling fan made a lot of noise over voice call. Always keep on mute unless you are speaking. Since a lot of us will be using VPN (virtual private network), turning off video unless it is absolutely necessary is recommended."

Establishing working hours and sticking to them

Habits are difficult to break. Hence once habituated with a regular work hours, it would be best to stick to it while working from home as well. This ensures the best quality of work. Ashiqul Alam further said, "I don't compromise my office routine. If I usually start my office at 9.45 am, I would start the same time while working from home."

Establishing a system to prevent distraction at home

When in office there are certain monitoring tools in place that ensures nobody is slacking off. However, working from home is a different situation. Here it is easy to indulge in doing homely things instead of working. It is easy to get distracted by the bed that is calling for some sleep, the coffeemaker that is calling for some coffee time, and so on. These distractions have to be eliminated before starting work.

Zeba Farzana, working at a renowned mobile network operator company of the country, says, "I use an app called Forest. It helps me remain focused on my work. When we are working from home, we have a tendency to keep slacking off from time to time since there is no one to monitor us. That often times lead us to skip the work at hand and maybe browse our phones. There are other ways that we get distracted but in my case, it's mostly phone. So this app helps me to remain focused on my work by keeping me from using my phone for a certain time limit that I can set within which I don't want to get distracted."

Adding humour

Sharing memes and funny discussions in work chat groups during work hours can actually lift the mood. In addition, trying to act a bit more casual in official communications help as well.

Ahnaf Zabee, digital marketing expert at a leading company, recommends: "If meeting topics end a bit ahead of schedule, use the rest to chat up with colleagues and have fun discussions. The key is to find anything to stay upbeat. I also keep music playing loud when I work on files, or play one song on my instruments, and then get back on the desk."

The writer is a third year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at
rashikriasat404@gmail.com