Work form Home is buzzword world over this month and Second half of March 2020 in India. We all are preparing for this to the extent possible. I am sharing my eight years of experience of work from home, hereunder:
I opted “work from home” in June 2012 and officially working from Home and later Home Office since 5th July 2012 the day I got my Certificate of Practice. Though, this was actually not my first experience nor something new for Indian. Indian Professionals, particularly Doctors, Vaidya, Haqims, Advocates, Vakils, Pleaders, Letter writers, deed writers, Landlords and even big traders has a history of work from home or have home offices. Though we please those were the days, noting changes except in favour of home office. Technology is the biggest enabler for work from home and lack of self-discipline is a hurdle. Let us start work from home.
Do you need an office table?
Oh! No. Most successful people used desks or dining tables. I wrote most of my initial blogs on my bed. Your bedroom is the most creative place and good for a fresh idea. Secondly, the most logical place our drawing rooms has the most distraction like family visitors. You can choose any other vacant room if available. I had a laptop and one desk like something on my bed for occasionally placing my laptop. All books and papers were on my head-box or side-table.
I opted for an office table, after 2 years of practice, not for work but to host my clients. I had many meeting at Cha-bar of oxford book store till it becomes much popular. Such places were more comfortable than these days of office space sharing. I never required to spend more than an average of 8 hours a week with clients in a physical meeting. Yes, few clients think negative about the home office but they are not worthy enough and do not actually care for quality work. However, in the present situation and technology, please use your video call conference facility inbuilt in any good mobile set. Even otherwise client will call you thrice a day so that you could not miss them.
So well, what you need?
- Good office Dresses (must);
- Mobile Phone, a landline phone is complimentary only;
- Good speed Internet (15mbps is enough, you have the higher speed for sure); and
- Tea – coffee making skill.
Optionally a printer (If you are required to print and sign documents)
Will you ask, why a good office dress? This is the most essential equipment. I preferred semi-casual. However, I will suggest the best office dresses for an initial period – no formal or semi-formal. For girls, I will say this twice and loudly. Ladies may face hurdle from husbands, kids and parents – mostly out of mutual love and care. A good dress will remind you -and will also indicate you, family friends or homely visitors –you are on the job.
[Edit-1: Unless your in-laws (even for males also and even if they are located at moon or mars) and kids must cooperate with you. Communicate with them politely, diplomatically but strongly, Always. Unless your spouse is supportive, your work from home may be a drastic experience.]
Unless you have a dedicated employee like maid or peon with you to assist you with tea and coffee, you should prepare your cup yourself. This is not your family time nor they should be allowed to interfere in your office time. These days, the best alternative may be ready to mix and drink tea and coffee. You may surely purchase an electric kettle for your warm water. You should host your clients and visitors your own without inducting your family into your business.
Laptop and phone with good quality internet is a must. This may a challenge these days when everyone is required to do Work from Home. Particularly Internet speed may be a challenge outside metros and without a doubt in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. I request telecom companies to office good speed for office work – email, office automation tools etc.
I will not suggest you your home landline for office purpose for various reasons unless it is dedicated to the home office. Your mobile maybe your good companion for your home and home office life. Please have a video conference amongst office colleagues daily with and without official agenda, I will advise at least once a day amongst team and once with boss superior.
Dedication and motivation
One of the hidden challenges is to assign duty to you. Do not break your office routine and working pace. Neither works extra nor less but keep the usual pace. In the process, you may convert time saved from daily commutation into quality family time. require keeping your dedication, which is easy when you are working. What is hard to maintain is the motivation to work. You have family around, kids are into your childhood film or elder kid is learning a new recipe to try three times only once.
You usually left home at 8.30 mornings and come back 7.30 evening. During this period you, except good talents, work only 6 productive hours. You are required to break these 6 productive hours into three tranches of 2.30 hours. Do not doubt the math, it is 2.30+2.30+2.30 = 6 when you calculate quality time. The real question when you start your these tranches. Check your time of best mood in the last two weeks and plan accordingly. An early start in the morning will give you the best day ahead. Do not postpone your first tranche up to your usual office time but start it during your routine morning commutation time. In any case, you should try to complete your two tranches during the day time when you feel yourself best in the mood. Most people do not feel good for one hour after lunch.
You may spare your evening commutation time for family play or good reading. Do not push your social media time up to these beautiful family hours. Have a candlelight dinner with your youngest one.
Pen, pencil, sharpener, eraser, highlighter, paperweight, pen drive, internet dongle, letterheads, blank papers A4 and legal, rubber stamps, stamp pads, staplers, punch machines, clips, writing pad, office diary, calculator, reference books, papers and files.
Visiting cards of clients and customers, Digital Signature Certificates, Stamp Papers,
All good office-related apps on your mobile.
Please complete Non-Disclosure Agreements with all employees working from their homes and their complete address with location maps. No employee should be allowed to leave reported home location unless proper leave requested. No visit to hometown or friends place.
Lots of office gossips for your evening snacks.
I am looking forward to reading your actual “work from home” experience in my comment box below.