Work from Home : Challenges and Solutions

The Human kind has witnessed many economic, environmental, political outbreaks whether the nature is organic or inorganic. Be it The Great depression, the world wars, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tsunamis, Wildfire in the jungles of Australia, 9/11 we have always adapted ourselves to the situation and survived. The essence of being human is adapting to new circumstances. The latest outbreak of the SARS-COVID-19 virus will leave behind many memories and another chapter in the history book. We will adapt the new ways of being human. We will adapt to the most important habit of all - Social Distancing.

We will come up with new ways of earning our breads by keeping ourselves away from each other as far as possible. Adults will try to work from home while the kids will have to adapt to learning from home by leveraging the latest technological advancement, for example, Fiber networks, Robots, Virtual Reality, Holo Lens, Google Lens etc. will redefine themselves. The government of India has taken many measures against the recent pandemic, but it is not going to be over soon. Now we must learn to live with it. Lock down or Not is not important, Social distancing and Personal Hygiene is the ultimate solution. Companies around the world are encouraging their employees to work from home to prioritize the health and safety of their workforce and communities. Almost overnight work from home has become a new norm. Work from Home seems like a dream come true for many employees who are sick of their morning commute- but it can present its own challenges. Will try to address common Challenges and their Possible Solutions. #WorkFromHome CHALLENGES:

1) Improper working environment: Home Environment is different from Office. Biggest differentiating factor about office is that you have your own assigned workspace and sitting on your Worktable keeps you focused towards your work. While at home you are moving from one place to other with your laptop in your hand, sitting in front of TV watching Netflix or lying on bed with regular power naps in between. Right working environment is a big challenge for home workers. Example of an employee who works for an IT company. He does not have his fixed workspace at home and being mobile doing multiple activities simultaneously. He goes along with his laptop to the kitchen so that he can work while making himself a nice cup of piping hot coffee. Oops coffee cup falls down , trying to save Coffee cup his laptop falls on the floor and their goes the laptop -focus -productivity-job.

2) Family Distraction: Believe it or not according to the surveys approximately 86.64% of adults are parents, and 78% of parents are working and that is a lot of people. Now these people working from home need to take care of their children, family engagements/household activities and work for their respective companies as well. It is a tough task to maintain focus sitting in midst of a home with everyone doing different kind of activities. Imagine you are sitting on your dining table, in an important meeting that could lead to your promotion and you are about to deliver a point that will make your life. Suddenly you have your family members coming to have their tea and snacks on this common Dinning area or your kids playing joyfully with their toys passes through. What will you do? You will have to excuse yourself from the meeting at that time and would probably lose the chance of making your point. Result - a great opportunity lost.
3) Health Hazards: There is a difference between Home Furniture and Office furniture. Home furniture is styled with interior design perspective. Typically for short sitting duration and generally lack comforts and parameters required for long working duration. Office Furniture is designed for comfort during complete eight-hour workday. Products are designed with ergonomics perspective and functionality. At Home, most people are sitting and working in their Sofa, bed, floor, Windowsill, swings, and other places leading to unhealthy work practices and Incorrect body postures. These wrong sitting postures while working leads to Arches and pain, Nausea and dizziness, back, neck and shoulder pains, eyes strain and optic issues, poor digestion, constricted nerves, misaligned spine and host of other health problems.
4) Time Management: Working from home is a wonderful opportunity, but time management can be a challenge. With so many demands on your time and attention, it is tricky balancing act to stay productive. There is constant struggle between daily household activities and office work priorities. You are working for 10-12 hours every day still far away from daily targets .There is no check on you for browsing the net, watching YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, playing your favorite video game and list goes on eating into your productive time. That 20-minute tea break turns into a 3-hour binging session. There is great loss of productive time resulting in delays and stress against delivery targets.

Let us walk you through Solutions how these problems can be dealt with, 1) Create a proper work environment: Create your own corner. All elements required for creating a positive atmosphere needs to be placed carefully. Have you own defined working place at home. A proper desk and chair with all your essential documents in a neat pile within range, your phone, charger, water bottle and tea/coffee maker everything that is essential to be kept in a single room to minimize the times you have to get up from work. Create your own home workspace.

2) Family Responsibilities: Family is important and so is your work. Apprise your Family about your work commitments. Do not assume they know, instead talk to your family about your work engagements, your deadlines, and your targets. Inform them about your prefixed meeting schedules well in advance. Family time cannot be compromised. Schedule your timetable for doing household works and office work as you had fixed timing while going to office. Always sit and work only from your home workspace. Treat your home as office while sitting on your worktable. For Parents try to keep the child/children occupied during work hours with puzzles, toys, pretend plays, reading books, drawing boards, colors, craft material and other such activities. For hunger pangs, try to keep snacks at the ready for yourself and your kids. Divide your time judiciously.

3) Proper Body Posture: It’s an old saying –“If Health is Lost everything is lost “.Engage yourself in home exercise , yoga and Invest in one set of good home office furniture – A Office table, A good revolving Ergonomic chair with lumbar support is a must, and a small storage to keep your papers pens, stationary and other stuff handy as required.  You can also opt for height adjustable tables and other accessories like adjustable monitor arms, laptop stand , height adjustable armrest in chairs and others, that will go long way in providing you a stress free and pain free work environment. (You can visit and choose your own work from home furniture kit).

4) Try to make a habit to sit in correct body posture to reduce pain. Follow 90 degrees rule. Elbow and Knee at 90 degrees. Keep your monitor approximately at your eye levelStand and work for some time. A few basic tips like - Keep your back straight, head away from the screen at least 60 cm. Use your chair seat depth effectively. Do not sit at front tip of your chair. Sit properly with head straight and your back in complete touch with your chair. This will transfer your body weight to chair hence reducing strain from your lower back. Adjust your chair height to keep your thigh parallel to the floor level. Take short breaks of 2 mins after every 45 minutes, stretch your legs, do simple routine exercise sitting on your chair , change your seat height, use height adjustable table to stand and work and for proper blood circulation walk 50-100 steps. Movement is the key as we are not built to sustain any position for long. Therefore, ergonomic assessments suggest revolving chairs for system workers. Regular breaks increase your productivity. Keep yourself hydrated. Enjoy your work and be Happy always.

5) Time Management: It is said “When the mind has equanimity, you transcend time.”

a) Create work-life Balance. Family time and work time needs to be identified. Tweak your schedule –your 20 mins early rising from bed can give you more time in the day to watch your favorite movie.

b) Set Goals and rewards. Your tea break with family can be a reward of completing a task. Prioritize your tasks. Estimate how long a task will take to complete and create small milestones to achieve it.

c) Try not to do multi-tasking. Focus on work in hand. Block out things that distract you. Set up your workspace that is meant for your work, it reduces distraction and save time. Take breaks and unwind yourself. d) Do not forget to have fun with Family. If you are happy you will be more productive. Having said that "work from home looks like a blessing in disguise and with little precautions stated above will lead to improved employee retention, increased motivationfinancial benefits and better work life balance."