Thursday, July 15, 2021

What have I learnt since working from home?

It has been more than a year since the first lockdown was announced in Malaysia. We were forced to work from home. It was a new concept for many people at that time, but by now it has started to feel normal. I initially found it a bit difficult to adapt, but now I feel more relaxed and easy to work from home. Here are some reflections on what I have learnt so far:

1. Things can get done

First and foremost, I think that working from home makes me feel anxious about whether or not work can be done. Can I accomplish and focus on finishing paper work? Can I hold a meeting or a discussion? Can I calculate and tabulate data? I think it can be done once you get used to it. The environment was different, as I was living on my own before (until my sister joined me), and the home work place environment is now different. However, if you focus and prioritise, you can get your work done! I guess it must be different for people who live with family and children. The challenges are greater, I guess.

2. Set your own work place in your home

Now that you know working from home might be here for quite some time, I think it is better to set up your own work place in your house. The work place can get you to be more disciplined and ready to start doing the work. Go to it to write a report, join an online meeting or manage files. It is better to know where is the right place for you to do the work and get it done. It's like getting to the office but your office is at home!

3. Managing Expectations

This is so important for you to put in your mind. Getting things done from home rather than being at the office like before is definitely different. Whereas before you could easily gather a team physically during office hours, but now it might be harder to gather people online as you need to check the availability of others. I think the mindset need to be clear and ready for any interruptions by things that are out of your control, for example, internet connection, device issues and so on.

4. Being flexible and less bureaucracy

It is definitely the right time to check again on things that we can be more flexible with and with less bureaucracy in the work place. If we were working as usual, there are forms that need to be filled. Maybe this time around certain things can be approved via email. Maybe certain things do not need to be as strict as before when things were unnecessarily difficult.

5. Checking on others

Last but not least, I think as much as we need to work from home and stay at home, do not forget to check on one another. Ask your colleagues about their well being physically, mentally and about their situation at home. You never know what people might need even though they appear to be fine in the video conferences. Be kind and help people in need as well. Reach out if you are the one who needs help!

PS: A year passed by and we all learnt so much.