Ramesh Nair
Ramesh Nair

Three pillars of working remotely

Staying Connected, Staying Productive and Staying Healthy is the way to go, says Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head, JLL India

As the world struggles to deal with a virus that the medical community has limited knowledge about, and in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has its battle clearly chalked out – a sputtering economy, stressed core sectors, and a country with questionable health and safety standards, packed to the brim with 1.3 Billion+ people.

The one way to ensure we stay safe from the novel coronavirus, is to adopt extreme measures of social distancing. Precaution, definitely is the cure, at the moment! To enable such control, almost all state governments have advised on adopting ‘Work from Home’ policies. This is the only viable option for the population’s safety.

So what are the overarching mantras or best practices to make remote working a success? We define them under these three categories: Staying Connected, Staying Productive and Staying Healthy.

Staying Connected comes from being visible. We need to makes sure that we are visible by keeping the laptop camera on. Sending engagement signals like nodding our head or unmuting the microphone from time to time ensures that we are visible. Doing a simple video call at the beginning and the end of the day, even as short as a 10 minutes call ensures that our “check-ins’ are in place. A virtual brainstorming session discussing the challenges and opportunities with the team members help ensure that we continue to work as a team, however remotely. It is also important therefore that when we are sending calendar invites for virtual meetings, we add relevant agenda and documents. And last but not least, we must ensure that we stick to regular work hours.

While staying connected, it is of paramount importance that we Stay Productive. Productivity when working remotely comes with discipline. Make sure you choose a quiet space with less disturbance. It also helps to keep your routine intact, have a dedicated work area, take breaks between work, by walking away from your ‘work desk’ at regular intervals. It is also important to ensure that there is a dedicated beginning and end of the day. You may go for a walk or a jog at the end of the day Focus is importance. We bring the focus by working in a 20 minute ‘sprints’. Limit distractions and use tools such as egg timer to time your 20 minutes. A key challenge for productivity can be the fact that, while we are working from home, our children and other family members are also at home. We need to be more accommodating, accepting and understanding. We may need to work at different hours to ensure our deadlines are met.

By being intentional, we set ourselves clear goals for the day and reward ourselves for the successful completion of the same. Productivity gets a major boost when we are flexible and trusting. During these times, it is essential that we focus on ensuring team connections and ‘trust’. Productivity also comes from getting the ergonomics right. Positioning the laptop screen at about an arm’s length from us with the top of the screen level with our eyes and with the forearms approximately horizontal to the keyboard will ensure better ergonomics. Taking 5-10 minutes breaks also helps de-stress the eyes.

What is non-negotiable is Staying Healthy in these times. And this begins with knowing and managing our own stress levels. We need to recognise our own behavioural, physical, emotional and cognitive responses to stress and work towards reducing the levels. And how can we do that? Take regular beaks throughout the day, take a walk, and take a break. Nothing helps like a few minutes away from the screen. In a day and age when we are inundated with stories on social media. It helps to take a break from watching, reading or listening to news stories including the ones from social media.

These are difficult and different times. But these are also times when we will make the future a present and we will practice more innovation than ever before.

With better ideas, better technology and better understanding of the needs of the hour, we will be able to work productively and deliver results

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