Work From Home – We are doing this for the last five years!

Image Credit – Productivity from Work from Home

Back in 2006, in London, I was looking for one of my colleagues in the Office. Before calling him, I thought of checking his chat messenger status, it showed green with “work from home”. Clueless about the abbreviation, I asked another colleague of mine, and she said – no clue. After googling, exploring, and breaking my head I finally got the full form – “Work from home”. That was my first face-off with “wfh”. Nine years later in 2015, when I started my freelancing journey and I e-met Lakshmi, now a Digital Head @hylobiz I never knew I was stepping into the “future of work” in the true sense.

First Day in Office as a “Remote Worker”

How could be your first day in the office as a “remote worker”? You may be excited about your new role, meeting new people, and fun time ahead, but joining remotely, how do things happen?

We do not have a formal “induction program” but it is similar to a new person joining in Office. It starts with adding the new member to the WhatsApp group [recently we moved to Slack], where old members introduce themselves to the newbie. A buddy is assigned to the newest team member for smoother knowledge transfer and any assistance needed.

The team members and when meet in the calls slowly and gradually then start to know each other.

The “Remote Buddy” not only helps the newbie in understanding the process but also guides her in daily tasks, reporting, and scheduling.

Teamwork as Remote Workers

Image Credit – Team Work as Remote Work

Well, yes the “teamwork” may sound a bit opposite to remote working scenarios, but thanks to modern technology it is very much a possibility. For task management, we use Asana which can be easily integrated with Slack, our emails, calendar, and shared drive is on Google which again integrates with Slack 😊. Video conferencing is via Hangout/Skype/Zoom/Bluejeans. Yes, we have used all of them and all work just perfectly be it sharing screens, audio, video quality, recording, and chat.

Officially, we do not use any “Time Tracker app”, yes you heard it right! It’s insane, isn’t it? Work From Home you should be in front of your PC for minimum ‘n’ hours, but that’s not the case. Individually to avoid distractions or maintain efficiency one might be using a time tracker, but that’s a personal choice and not with our company policy. Everyone is responsible for their task, shows ownership, and delivers on time. And in case there are delays, it is flagged with the reason.

That’s the beauty of remote working “OWN YOUR TASK”

Work From Home Working Challenges

One of the major challenges is “internet connectivity”. While this is the medium that connects us to our workplace, uncertainty and network issue at times leave us deserted.

The Internet for a remote worker is like an umbilical cord that connects to its workplace.

Another issue that we face most of the time during our calls is “background noise” in the apartment, neighbors, roads or even your own house with kids playing/members chatting.

Whatsapp has helped us a lot in “connecting” but for tasks and work assignments it does not serve the purpose. Hence now we have moved to Slack.

We follow an Agile Model, hence task allocation, and execution needs to be planned in advance with daily stand-ups. One of the team members takes turns in driving the meeting so that we are confident enough in leading a call.

The Remote Marketing Team @Hylo

Image Credit – Remote Team

The Hylo Marketing Remote working team belongs to “Mothers”. We are a bunch of females who are managing their toddler, and teenage kids with an aim to empower an SME’s life with Hylo.

Our team members are global – We have females working from Bhubaneswar, Noida, Australia, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.

As Lakshmi says – If tasks are not getting completed because a person works remotely, it’s wrong hiring, and “Work From Home” is nowhere to be blamed.

Remote Working During COVID-19

For us working from home is not an issue, but with COVID-19 we were also off our schedule a bit. But we adapted to this change pretty quickly, as we are used to working with guests in our home, neighbors knocking on our door for a bowl of sugar, and ‘n’ a number of other distractions.

As we believe in Remote Working we follow a certain set of rules –

  • Be Disciplined
  • Get a to-do list
  • Divide your time between deep work and admin related stuff to be more productive
  • Finish off your chores and then sit for work, don’t try to multi-task
  • Stay connected, chit-chat with your colleagues not just about work but other than work, it helps in bonding and also you wouldn’t miss “tea time gossip”
  • Explain to your kid/family members, it is your office work and not that in pajamas you are watching a movie.
  • If you like, you can dress up and then sit for Office work, it helps.
  • Set a cut-off time for yourself, just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you should work over the weekends or late at night.

The above pointers have been tried and tested and work efficiently!

How did you guys adapt to work from home? I would love to know…

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