With the sudden onset and exponential spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in India and many countries abroad, most public and private sector companies have provided a convenient and mandatory work from home (popularly referred as WFH) facility to their employees with the dual purpose of protecting the health and wellbeing of employees by ensuring “social distancing” while also ensuring business continuity.
Yes, working from home is less stressful than an ordinary day at work because there is no travelling, you can work virtually ANYWHERE (in a café, in another state/country, or on the couch!), it cuts out transit time, and helps to avoid annoying snail-pace traffic; however, work from home should not be considered a vacation! ‘Work from Home’ literally means managing and performing office or work-related tasks at home. It is a facility provided by CEOs and Managers to their employees with expectations and trust in their employees. The Management provides encouragement and support to employees during difficult times like the coronavirus pandemic by allowing facilities like working from home to ensure a stable income so that employees can manage their other responsibilities during uncertain economic times. Blind faith and trust are placed on employees and in return, employees have the responsibility to carry out their work-related assignments and tasks sincerely and with discipline.
With the onset of the contagious pandemic COVID-19, there is bound to be a domino effect on business economies worldwide. The lockdown of various companies and organizations is sure to result in economic shutdown and recession – a HUGE loss for the entire world. In order to ensure smooth running of business and work, it is essential to remember some ground rules and protocols:
- General office Rules and Regulations should be followed - it is important to strictly follow the working hours assigned by the Management. This helps to ensure that the quality of work is maintained and ensures increase in profitable output.
- Ensure a dedicated Workspace - the right working environment is essential to ensure productivity and maximum output. The workspace should have good light, optimum temperature, an adjustable chair, less distractions and noise, no interruptions from other family members, and consistent internet connectivity. An isolated space ensures peace and calm while working and helps to increase attention and concentration.
- Internet Connectivity - it is essential to have a strong and consistent Wi-Fi connection for smooth and uninterrupted working. It is also important to work through a reliable and trusted home Wi-Fi network with password protection. A public network is open and available to Hackers who may use this network to steal important company information.
- Maintain Working Hours - it is essential to follow and maintain the pre-decided working hours. This helps to increase productivity and prevent the tendency to become bored and lazy. It also helps to ensure that frequent breaks are taken and that employees don’t over-work themselves.
- Set Daily Agendas and Goals - to ensure that productivity is maintained without any shift in concentration, it is important to set daily assignments and agendas after discussion with the Manager or Management. This helps to maintain constant workflow without any delays.
- No Distractions - it is important to ensure that distractions around the house like mobile phones, I-Pads, Netflix, and TV are kept away from the workspace as these cause decrease in concentration and productivity. Snacking should also be limited to appropriate office timings (like lunch break and tea break) to ensure high productivity.
- Official Web Browser - it is mandatory that employees should use web browsers like Chrome or Firefox exclusively for business and office work. Personal tabs for emails, searches, and correspondence should not be used as they cause distraction which results in decreased work output.
- Private Access - an employee’s personal desktop or laptop should be accessed and used by that individual ONLY. If another person (other than the employee) uses the system, there is a risk that confidential information about the business and profession will get leaked outside the organization.
- Files Protection - while working from home, it is essential to save work-related files and documents in an alternate official drive and personal email ID. This computer drive should be password protected to prevent data breach and misuse of important company information.
- Software Protection - it is mandatory to protect home software with the latest anti- virus and anti-Trojan software, firewalls, and encryption to secure and protect data from Hackers. Data leak can cause loss of confidential company information which may have a negative impact on business.
- Always Logout - it is important to logout of the business browser while working from home to prevent others from accessing your private data. To ensure this, it is a good practice to enable web browsers that require passwords. After completing the day’s assigned task, it is mandatory to log out of the business browser and then proceed to complete other tasks.
- Control Social Media Updates - it is important to distinguish and separate business from personal social media posts and updates. Public online posts and personal feedback/comments about business and work-related topics should be avoided. This leads to circulating private information about the business or organization to strangers who may misuse this information for personal gain and profit
Working from home has indeed made work life less stressful, easier, convenient, and simple. The lockdown of various businesses, companies and organizations has resulted in the disruption of normal functioning of businesses but work from home facilities have paved a new and clear way to overcome the problem. Every employee SHOULD remember their role in the progress of the company and how any change in working circumstances affects the company too. Working from home should be carried out responsibly since the Management has faith and trust in every employee. Effort should be made by every employee to work sincerely so that the company is not affected by unforeseen situations. This should be done with constant communication and discussion with the Management and Manager to ensure consistent and smooth running of the business.
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