In the past few weeks I have seen CEOs and other executives posting the fact that their team’s productivity has gone up x% (pick a number between 15-45) due to COVID-19 forcing their teams to work from home. But it’s not all sunshine and roses.
Here’s a list of challenges your team members may face…
- Internet access: Most of us who work in IT in an office environment get the internet bandwidth that’s needed to get the work done. Folks who work on large data and processing that data especially need that dedicated bandwidth. But when working from home, firstly bandwidth is limited and secondly, it’s shared between a number of other household members. Which means that the amount of time that you would need to do your activity may increase, slowing down your progress. Yes, there are ways to combat this by increasing the bandwidth, pushing most of your heavy processing to the cloud and much more. If you are working from rural India (tier 3-4 cities), then internet speed can be a major issue. Here are some tips / wikihow that will help make the most of your internet connection.
- Hardware replacement: Laptops and other hardware are machines. They are not aware that at there’s CVOID-19 pandemic happening to postpone their failure! Finding replacement parts is difficult cause either the stores are closed or there’s a shortage of replacement parts (gap in manufacturing and supply chain issues). So, one has to take extra care of their laptops and other devices. Here are some tips for taking care of your laptop.
- Rolling blackouts: Yes, in tier 3-4 cities this is still a very prevalent issue. As you go further rural, this issue becomes even more chronic. Add end of summer storms and impending onset of monsoon and you cross your fingers. Each city / village has a day marked for electrical downtime. For some it’s Monday for others it’s Thursday. Long live the inverter. Still if you compare the current times with a decade ago, things have improved quite a bit. I don’t think a decade ago, we would have been able to do wfh to the extent that we have been able to do today. So, it’s definitely an improvement but not as seamless as the western world. Here are some tips to extend your laptop’s battery life in case you find yourself in rolling blackout situation.
- Audio / video communication: The constant barrage of online audio / video communication and missing inter-personal communication is fatiguing. Some call it the ‘Zoom fatigue’. Constantly being on Zoom or other online calls like Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. The ring of Skype calls has been permanently itched in my brain. Lack of inperson communication creates its own challenges. You have to explain things multiple times, the subtle signals that your brain process during inperson communication are missing making video communication not as efficient and effective. Here are few article from BBC and HBR.
- Work-life balance: There is none. It’s very hard to keep the boundary between work life and personal life. Especially in case of IT all you have to do is open the lid of your laptop or check your phone for email / Slack / Skype / WhatsApp messages. As a matter of fact, you never really check out of your office. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not as easy. A recent Bloomberg article mentioned that folks are working on average 2-3 hours more than they used to work in the era of working from office. Unfortunately, there’s no switch available that can be flipped so that folks can switch context like machines! Here are some tips provided by PCMag.
With that said, here’s the result from the survey we ran at YuktaMedia to check if team would like to come back to office and answer was overwhelming majority of team members want to come back to office and collaborate like they used to! As much as each one of them have enjoyed time with their families, the social interaction with their teammates is something they dearly miss.
I believe as time passes we will find the right balance between wfh (aka work from anywhere) and wfo. Between now and then be empathetic towards your team members, give them the flexibility they need and keep channels of communication open. Above all be HUMAN!
This article originally appeared on the LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wfh-work-from-home-hullabaloo-aditya-bhelande/