Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, work from home is now the newest wrinkle in town and inescapable. No bus ride tickets, no co-workers gossiping, no sirens outside your window, no absurd smells during lunchtime, oh and did I mention no jacket to carry to cope with the frost dripping off your nose as the brawny AC kicks in. These are just a few of the shedloads of perks of working from home that accede to more work flexibility. While some may find work from home more convenient, some find it difficult to orient themselves with this minty way of discipline and work etiquette. One silly mistake can jeopardise your and the company’s reputation. Here are a few work from home mistakes employees make that can hamper their productivity and peril their performance:
- Starting your work as soon as you roll out of bed
Yes, work from home translates into more flexibility and freedom, but a 7:55 am alarm for your 8 am meeting might not be the best move.
With that being said, it is crucial to wake up at least half an hour before to allow you some time to prepare yourself and plan for the day rather than diving straight in with puffy eyes. Also, a shower before starting is a must, it will help you freshen up and avoid the embarrassment of constant yawns in your early morning meeting. Remember, waking up and getting up are two separate things.
2. Being too comfortable and snuggly
The idea of chilling on your bed while laying down in your pajamas sure does sound satisfying, but this ideal sleeping ambience will surely hinder your productivity.
In response, having a dedicated workspace setup- that is clean and away from distractions would create an effective working environment(do not have social media tabs open alongside, you will definitely get diverted). Wearing comfy clothes sure is a timesaver but it tricks your mind to think that it's bedtime. All things considered, dressing up like you’re interviewing Michelle Obama isn't quite required. Semi formals come to the rescue here- a middle ground between a suit and nightwear- does the deal! Apart from making you comfortable, it helps you stay focussed while boosting your confidence and mental health!
3. Being negligent around privacy of information
Having kids or pets around the house can create havoc even when you leave your device unattended for a 2-minute washroom break. It can lead to funny emails to your boss, team or even clients, tarnishing your reputation and leaking confidential information.
For which, it is cardinal to lock your devices every time you leave them unattended to avoid mishaps. (Remember to not share your devices or password!)
Sometimes we want to share what’s happening in this social media-centric world, but being too personal with your colleagues is not the way to go forward. Avoid being in areas with family pictures and adopt professional virtual backgrounds for your video calls. Pro tip- zoom has copious fun background templates you can use! Remember the anonymous hacker is still around!
4. Neglecting your health
Whether the office or home, the bombarding of deadlines and assignments won't stop but sometimes remote work may translate into long hours without breaks, accelerating our stress level. This could further lead to detrimental outcomes to your physical, mental and cognitive wellbeing.
Taking regular breaks- quick stroll or exercise, eating snacks regularly and being hydrated are of utmost importance to let your body, brain and even your eyes some space away from those screens. Multiple studies indicate that taking breaks lead to significant improvements in productivity and focus levels, so do yourself a favour and have a Kit-Kat.
5. Mis-utilisation of technological features
Work from home relies on technology for the functioning of the operations. However, if not used cautiously can lead to frivolous technical mistakes. The premier most common mistake that almost all of us are guilty of doing is utilising the same browser for personal needs and your professional work. Due to the cache it can alter the results in changes of the data and advertisements being depicted leading to decelerating your browsing and researching speed. Apart from that, having personal data on a professional laptop can lead to privacy issues and embarrassing situations with most IT teams having access to your system’s data.
Make sure to utilise a different browser for personal and professional needs. Instead of using your phone or laptop’s camera, place a webcam at an upper angle for meetings and benefit from better audio and video quality. PS - a wacky double chin is ill-suited and unflattering.
6. Being disrespectful to others
There are numerous small yet inconsiderate mistakes you can do while working remotely whether that’s not coming on time for a meeting, having sound related distractions when someone else is talking, eating on a video call or having your video off when being addressed are just a few.
The technology being difficult is an excuse that does not suffice anymore, it is for you to ensure you log into a meeting 3-4 minutes before and check that your connection is not weak- preferably employ a VPN. To avoid sound disturbances, mute your audio when you aren’t speaking to evade from the ear-splitting baby cries, blaring dog barks and even your roaring sneezes. It is impolite to not have the camera on when the other person has it on and is speaking to you, avoid doing anything else like checking your phone or eating to evade coming off as discourteous.
7. Not communicating as much as necessary
Yes, staying indoors can often lead to forgetting the need to socialise. But being remote has communication barriers, thus excessive communication is a prerequisite. Not being proactive with communicating and not updating or going dark if your day is going slow is one of the silliest mistakes you can make.
With different time zones, communication is where slacking is just a big no, your employer would rather have you surfeit them with questions and updates than disappear into thin air. Remember, Over communication> Under communication. If you did nothing that day, let your employer know or attach a sorry meme, they’ll prefer that over you leaving their “done the work” messages on seen.
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