Man using computer in home office. Working from home is rapidly becoming the new normal {Photo: Courtesy}

By Ashford Gikunda and Diana Ross Awuor

Working from home is relatively new normal in Kenya. As part of the protocols of flattening the COVID-19 curve, the government has been encouraging people to work from home. There are some factors that may make working from home a bad experience.

We therefore need to learn very fast and make the necessary changes so as to effectively work from home. As things stand, we will be required to stay home longer so we need to settle down and make our productivity better. Top fields for remote work include computers and IT, education and training, and healthcare; positions include customer service reps, virtual assistants, data entry and transcription, teachers, and more.

A variety of top firms, including Amazon, Dell, Humana, Kaplan, and Salesforce, offer remote work opportunities, but it’s also important to be aware of scams.

Human being are resistant to change. We cannot avoid it and the more we resist change the tougher our life becomes. Change as John F Kennedy quoted is a Law of Life.

We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. It is not easy to adapt to this culture especially because all our working life we have never worked from home.

There is no avoiding change as it will find you, challenge you and force you to reconsider how to live your life. Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, as a result of choice or just by chance.

Loading...

In either situation, we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not? Most people are grappling with what to do. I believe that it is better to be prepared for change because we have more control over how we react to the change we are having to face in our lives. When you are unprepared as we were when covid-19 hit us, we develop resistant to change, thus we have no control or choice as to how we want to live our life.

Long before COVID-19 became a factor, increasing numbers of people have been saying goodbye to their onerous commute to work.

Thanks to ever-evolving technologies like Skype, Facetime, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, authenticator apps, and cloud computing—not to mention texting and email. It is no longer necessary to be in an office full-time to be a productive member of the team. In fact, many kinds of work can be done just as effectively, if not more so, from a home office.

However, as appealing as remote work is to employees, it would not be such a strong trend if employers didn’t also recognize benefits from their side of the desk.

Companies with work-from-anywhere policies can boost employee productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, according to recent research at Harvard Business School. Telecommuting workers with very complex jobs who don’t require a lot of collaboration or social support can perform better than their office-based counterparts, according to another study. Also, in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, a distributed workforce is in a better position to keep operations running, even if some of the group goes offline.

For employers, working from home can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, while employees enjoy perks like flexibility and the lack of a commuter allowance.

To work effectively from home, one needs to make sure they have the technology you require, a separate workspace, Internet service that meets your need, a workable schedule you can stick to, and ways to connect with others.

When you’re working remotely it is important to ensure that you are set up to be productive. This includes having a designated workspace with the right technology; ways of dealing with kids, pets, and other potential disruptions; and a schedule that allows for the social contact and stimulation that ordinarily comes from being in a workplace with others.

Does your employer require a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? Which tech tools might you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats, or Trello for project management?

If you work for someone else, it’s important that your employer spells out the ground rules and ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login, including two-factor authentication. Be sure to do trial runs and work out any problems that might impede your work. If you work for yourself, you may need many of the same tools.

Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities.

If you have kids, their FaceTiming and Xbox habits may slow your connection and download speeds. Moving as close as you can to your Wi-Fi router can help (devices that are distant tend to draw on bandwidth), or you can consider switching to Ethernet.

You’ll likely need a dongle since laptops don’t have Ethernet ports these days, plus an Ethernet cable to connect your computer to your router. Wondering if your most-used website is down?

If your job involves making long distance and/or international calls, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype all let you call over the Internet across the globe on the cheap. And if you and the person you’re calling are on the same service, the call will be free.

If you have a barking dog or a jack-hammering worker outside your windows, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones, such as Apple’s Air Pod Pros. And if the kids are home and you’re without childcare (say, during the summer or a natural emergency), see if you and your spouse (or a neighbor in a similar situation) can take turns with care—which may mean you have to talk to your manager about working evening hours.

Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, staring at the same project for long hours. It can get lonely. Be ready for that, and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time, like a lunch date, a video chat with a friend, or an exercise class.

Ashford Gikunda and Diana Ross Awuor are MA students in Project Planning & Management at UoN.

See Also>>> Survey Shows More Kenyans Reporting to Work

Tagged:
About the Author

editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *