PM Guest Article May 2020

Remote working – Unlock your infinite potentials!

Devikala Thangaraj

Devikala is currently working as Senior Technical Writer with Innovatia India IT & Knowledge Management Solutions. Devika has 18 years of experience that includes patent editing, managing onsite and offshore product documentation releases and business consulting. Her hobbies are reading books, storytelling for kids and gardening. Devika loves to learn new things and is passionate about problem solving. 

Nature has asked us to separate from one another, it’s also science that tells we are hard-wired for connection. Nothing replaces face-to-face connections, we are so adapted to that culture.

It’s been more than 2 months; we are suspended from routine life! When theaters in England were closed due to the plague, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth and King Lear! So, what history tells us is “Use your time effectively.”

Considering the current situation, many organizations are hosting online workshops and webinars on internal portals to keep the workforce motivated and engaged. Also, we are getting guidance from social media websites like LinkedIn, sharing tips about how to collaborate and be productive in a remote environment.

Here are the challenges of remote working and how to overcome them until we get back to our normal life.

Health comes first!

When you work from home, you spend most of the time sitting in front of your computer. It is not a good practice. To stay fresh and healthy, keep a balanced diet, exercise, and sleep at least 6 hours at night.

Time Management

It appears that working remotely makes time management really difficult. When we were commuting to office, we were sometimes stuck in traffic jam (on an average, an individual spends 2 hours commuting to office), so we realized working from home is very easy. We tend to have more time for work but at the same time, we need to take care of our personal work as well. However, this has become big challenge since we are now forced to stay home. Considering the current situation, we must plan our daily schedules like cooking, house-hold work and most importantly organize and plan our official meetings and tasks.

Tips:

  • Put first thing first – prioritize our tasks and work accordingly.
  • Create to-do lists and follow them stringently; initially it may be difficult to adapt.
  • Take short breaks (listen to music or do some exercises)

Team Communication

The most significant challenge in remote work is communication. We find that it isn’t as easy anymore to chat up with people during a coffee break or discuss a task or a project. We could easily walk over to a team member’s desk and get the information. Also, we can talk to our stakeholders and plan our activities in a stipulated time frame.

Here are ways for effective communication:

  • Use online meeting tools for communication such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx, etc.
  • Talk about your problems and ask questions – this helps you stay focused and be clear about anything you do.
  • If you are managing a team, set a time for daily meetings. In these meetings talk with your team about tasks, progress and other work-related issues.

Most importantly:

–              Appreciate your team members for their work. One way to go about this is by using phrases such as “Great Job”, “Thanks much for your sincerity”, “You are great team player.” This approach is the energy booster for the team to perform well.

–              Remember to listen more than you talk.

–              Empathize with the team’s feelings.

Control yourself from Distractions

Getting distracted from work is real pain of every remote worker.  Apply these tips to overcome distractions:

–              Keep mobile phones in silent mode during working hours.

–              Avoid engaging in social media activities.

–              Set alarms and block calendars for high priority tasks.

Learn and Share/Teach – Learning something new will make us confident and happy! I would say learning and teaching make wonders. I would like to quote from Phil Collins’ Son of Man, “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn”.

 “Difficulties in your Life do not come to destroy you, but to help you realize your hidden potentials and power, let difficulties know that you too are difficult”.   –  A. P. J. Abdul Kalam    

Let us stay positive and keep our mindset optimistic! The year 2020 will be the turning point in the history of the world.