Working from home is a challenge, not a break

If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there did the tree fall. Well, you are your own witness.

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Wed 18 Mar 2020, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Mar 2020, 10:36 PM

Let me tell you that working from home is not half as easy as one might imagine. It requires imagination, dedication, and a more rigid attention span. As with integrity it is how you behave when no one is looking. In this case the absence of colleagues and the subtle pressure they bring to bear by their sheer presence is absent so the deadlines tend to melt.
If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there did the tree fall. Well, you are your own witness.
It all starts with waking up and crawling out of bed. I have had years of practice being frequently out of a 9 to 5 and I have invariably noticed that if I rise and shine in the same time frame as if I am going to work then the level of discipline is high. If I laze around because what the heck I am not going anywhere and pick up the strings an hour or more later that procrastination will manifest itself right through the day.
Then comes the serious bit that is customarily taken lightly. For men it is grooming, whether a shave or the beard being combed, bathing, getting dressed like you were going to work. You will notice that this aspect is vital to your mindset and if you opt for a sloppy joe in slippers approach then it will impact negatively on your work.
You have to keep reminding yourself that you are NOT on vacation and the privilege given to you in working from home is not to be abused. So take this tip.dress up in the morning before you open your files. Stick to the same schedule as best you can.
Then again, it is most important for the household to realise whether husband or wife that you are working and that this time is sacrosanct and your presence not to be seen as a convenience. Unfortunately, we do tend to take advantage as in run an errand, the fuse has gone, can you fix it, keep an eye on the baby, I am busy, even what will you have for lunch. These might sound faintly ridiculous intrusions but most of us do not have the luxury of a separate study or room to work from and domestic sounds can be infuriating.
Just the sounds of voices can distract as can the opening and closing of the fridge, the hiss of the kettle not to mention the 'I give up' attack from a vacuum cleaner.
You might think all this is like teaching granny to suck eggs and come on, we are smart enough and mature enough to deliver but when you get down to it see how difficult it is. Your work will be second rate unless you make a pledge to yourself that that space in your home will be just like the office and you will give it the same respect in time and output terms.
Perhaps twenty years ago the level of distraction would have been far less. Now with streaming movies, top of the range connectivity, Facebook, and a dozen other social platforms and the ubiquitous WhatsApp, taking downtime from the work is treacherously easy and even easier to engage in self-deception. The next thing you know you are on the line incessantly talking trivia and wasting time.
It is a fact that not everyone is a natural loner. Far too many of us need supervision to produce which is why there are few leaders of the pack and the pack.
Having truly studied from home in great depth I would go as far as to say that working from home is a test of character and ability and if you can master it and do it well then you are that much more reliable, an asset to your company and yourself.
All you need to do is look back on your first day working from home and give yourself an honest appraisal.

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