I have been working from home for over 5 years now and after trying a dedicated office space and a co-working place. I decided to work from home and recently graduated from a desk at home to whole office setup at home. To be honest, I loved working from WeWork thanks to its ambience, a pool of talent that you meet and basically to maintain a decorum of my work. But the commute times and my constant travel made me move to WFH setup.
And now when the whole world has been asked to Work from Home. I feel I must share my strategy to stay productive and make work from home worthwhile. So, here are my tips to work from home during #COVID19:
- Routine – It is important to follow a routine. Set an ‘At office’ schedule and inform everyone at home that you are to be considered at work both mentally and physically. Once you have decided the working hours, fit every other plan around that schedule. Be it laundry, taking your pet out for a walk or anything else. The device I use and recommend you to make your home office schedule a success is a LaMetric Time and Amazon Echo Show. It doesn’t distract you but also keeps you on track with alarms, reminders, calendar events and timers. Yes, you can obviously do everything on your smartphone but that leads you to check your social media and then we all know what happens. So instead of wasting hours browsing through your smartphone or get distracted by a notification use a Smart Clock.
- Cleanliness – I bet you miss your office desk and all the pin-ups (even the wacky ones) you had put there. At the same time, you would also remember how clean and pristine your desk was every morning you reached the office. Well at home you won’t have a housekeeping staff doing it for you so it’s better to do it yourself. Also, cleaning is therapeutic so if possible, not only clean your desk or home office room but also help your partner cleaning the whole house. I personally rely on my Dyson V11 to clean my whole house, cars and even my curtains and mattresses. Not only does it clean the visible dust but also the ‘Real dust’ that is practically invisible to the human eye. Real Dust is a complex matrix of components including dust mites, dust mite faeces, bacteria, mould, small insects and particles.
- Environment – Setting the right working environment is important to focus on and keep the spirits high. To increase your productivity, the air you breathe in or the amount of light on your desk is very well taken care at your office. All employers want the best out of their employees. How can you replicate the same at your home? For me, it has been very simple and easy all thanks to Dyson engineers again. For fresh air, I use the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Air Purifier that automatically controls the set temperature. So, you are never warm in summers or feel cold in winters. Honestly, I wouldn’t have survived the brutal Delhi winters this year without the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Air Purifier.
Now that clean and fresh air is sorted, let’s move on to the lighting bit. There are to set of lights I use in my office – Smart Bulbs (Philips, Mi, Syska) and the Dyson Lightcycle. The smart bulbs help me create different moods and variations when I’m shooting/filming. You can use them to create the perfect light for reading or a skype calls with your colleagues. But if you want all of this to be done automatically then the Dyson Lightcycle comes into action. I love it when tech takes over and AI does things automagically. Dyson Lightcycle uses unique time, date and GPS algorithm to calculate the brightness of daylight anywhere in the world to give your precise lighting condition. It’s a piece of art, a very intricate and modern one.
- Setup – When you have reached your clean, fresh and well-lit office/desk on time. It’s time to make sure you have all the necessary tools to do your work effectively. By tools, I mean both hardware and software that just works for you. We should be thankful that in 2020 most of the things we do our saved, processed and are managed from the cloud. The internet connectivity, bandwidth and economical cost also play a big role in enabling the cloud culture. Our photos are backed up automatically on iCloud or Google Photos. Our work is saved on our office suite (Microsoft/Google/Zoho) or online backup drives. For offline backups we use a mix of storage devices from WD, Seagate and Hitachi.Since I test so many devices and services, I’m spoilt with choices. So, I’ll go with a few basic things that are a must-have for your perfect WFM office. A trouble-free updated computer – Mac or Windows depends on your needs. I use Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon for almost everything except gaming and video editing. For gaming and 4K video editing, I use my Lenovo Legion Y730. I use my 15” 2015 MacBook Pro for content creation needs. For my smartphone needs, I use the iPhone 11 Pro and the Google Pixel 3XL. As most of you would need to take calls or be a part of Zoom/Skype meetings I’ll recommend in investing a pair of noise-cancelling headphones like Sennheiser HD 4.50The Software Suites I use – Microsoft Office, Apple Pro Apps, iWork, Adobe Creative Cloud and Zoho (Expense, Invoicing, Accounting). Though I don’t have a webcam, mouse/keyboard or monitor yet I suggest you should have them. Also, they are on my list as soon as the lockdown opens. I recommend the Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro webcam, MX3 Master Mouse, a mechanical keyboard and ThinkVision M14 portable FHD LED Monitor or the Philips E9 series of monitors. I secretly want the latest iPad Pro too 😉
- Dress Code – For someone like me who is mostly slacking in track pants and t-shirts. It was always an effort to change into something formal for live news shoot or interviews. And to avoid that rush to save me from embarrassment I started wearing something less informal. It gives you a feeling that you are giving your work the respect it deserves. Also, absolutely no need to put on a tux or a business suit, but skip the pyjamas and sweats!
PS: It’s not necessary to buy the exact same products that I own or use. These are just my recommendations based on my personal experience. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any feedback or suggestions for alternative or substitute products. Also, it’s highly likely that in your current location you may not be able to buy any of these products due to the lockdown. But don’t be disheartened, you can always make use of alternative things you may already have at your home and make a Wishlist of these products and buy them as soon as the lockdown relaxes.
So that was my list of lifestyle changes to follow to make your WFH less challenging and more productive during this lockdown. Please do share your lists, suggestions, apps or feedback in the comments section below or tweet to us @theunbiasedblog or reach out to me directly on @nikhilchawla
“With great power comes great responsibility” – Peter Parker a.k.a. Spiderman