Staying Sane during work from home (WFH)


How to NOT go mad with your family?

The country-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to another syndrome that is plaguing professionals working from home. We call it the WFH syndrome. This syndrome has one major cause – staying with your family 24X7.

We all love our families but staying with them all day long is taking the joy away from spending time with them. Let’s be honest! It’s driving us up the proverbial wall, especially during working hours. We have all had situations where our children needed a fight refereed during an all-important client call, or a colleague was made privy to our spouse’s agenda for the day, or someone thought that a  review call was the right time to disconnect the Wi-Fi to connect their phone charger. Scenarios such as these can put you off your game.

During workhours, you need to be able to think and concentrate on your work. Here are a few simple rules to help you maintain your sanity, during working hours at least.

Rule # 1 Put that remote down.

Ask the rest of your family to watch TV on mute or while wearing headphones. Or they could just read a book, paint, knit, or use their mobile phone.

Rule # 2 Mark your territory!

Create an office for yourself within your home. Let your family know that they cannot enter this space during working hours unless it is an emergency. Make sure you clearly define what constitutes an emergency.

Rule # 3 No food/beverage around your workstation

Step away from your workstation for your meals. Besides the fact that it is a healthy habit, it also protects the gadgets that you need for work. You don’t want to be spilling orange juice on your laptop or on the expensive headphones you just invested in.

Rule # 4 36-inch!

Maintain a minimum distance of 3 feet between two people working from the same house. Have two separate tables or create two different work corners. That should ensure that your colleagues aren’t apprised of your spouse’s meeting agenda.

Rule # 5 Do Not Disturb

During this time, your pets and kids will need your time and attention too. Put down clear rules on acceptable behaviour so that your productivity is not negatively impacted. Train your kids, partner, pets, and parents to be self-sufficient and to occupy themselves.  Ensure you spend quality time with them outside office hours.

Rule # 6 Dress up

Dress up like you are going to work. This will put in the right frame of mind. Don’t start working in your shorts and tees (unless that’s how you go to work). Also, you aren’t fooling anyone! It is evident that you are wearing a formal jacket on your regular-wear t-shirt.

Rule # 7 Find the spot

Set up your workstation where the Wi-Fi connection works best. Also, have a backup plan – a dongle, mobile hotspot, etc. – just in case you need it.

The WHO is asking all of us to sanitise your hands, home, surroundings. Likewise, you need to have a plan for mental sanitisation too to avoid side effects of your WFH syndrome.

Contactless Delivery Rules!

This is a challenging time for all businesses.  Especially ones whose livelihoods depend on delivering their products to a customer’s doorstep. As more people work from home and self-quarantine during the pandemic, the more digital means of buying groceries, fresh vegetables, fruits or even prepared food become popular. All of us have undoubtedly seen ‘Contactless Delivery’ offered by most online platforms, but let’s take a moment to understand what it protects you from and what it doesn’t.

Contactless Delivery generally means that those ordering essential items, such as food or medicine, can get them delivered without coming face-to-face with the delivery person. Once you place your order, the delivery person will typically leave the goods at your doorstep or the entrance/lobby of your building. But does that protect us from all risks? Maybe not.

COVID-19 is known to spread through droplets that can fall on us when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks to us. So, Contactless Delivery protects us from these aspects. However, the virus also transmits on surfaces and the groceries or food you are buying have had many points of ‘contact’ before it even reaches your delivery person. Pairing Contactless Delivery with other measures may mitigate risks from these ‘contacts’.

Many companies have started using tamper-evident packaging seals to help ensure food is untouched during delivery. This usually looks like a special seal or sticker and is meant to reassure customers that nothing has gotten in—or out—since their food was dispatched. However, it is safer to remove and discard any sort of packaging that comes with the food.

When opting for contactless delivery, also check on the measures that the restaurant is taking to ensure that those who are preparing your food are not sick. Most online platforms that you order from provide this information.

Last, but not least, avoid ordering from places that require you to pay cash. Currency is one of the fastest transmission sources given how often it changes hands. So, use one of the innumerable digital payment options available to pay for your food and groceries instead.