Working from home becomes reality, thanks to coronavirus

Fred Khumalo Watching You
Working from home has its pros and cons but if it's done with dedication and discipline it can benefit all parties. /123RF
Working from home has its pros and cons but if it's done with dedication and discipline it can benefit all parties. /123RF

Thanks to the growing fears around the rapid spread of coronavirus, many professionals have been ordered by their employers to start working from home with immediate effect.

To some people this is a long overdue development. With the current level of technological sophistication, many people really don't need to go to the office.

Had companies started allowing their charges to work from home, they would have made huge savings in terms of expenses related to keeping an office running. We have the internet, we have video conferencing - so why do we need to go to the office?

Yes, there are some jobs that need physical contact between colleagues, but professional assignments don't.

At any rate, here we are now, forced to work from home by this scary virus. To many this is going to be a challenge. They do not have the discipline to work without direct supervision.

Having been working from home since 2013, I can tell you how challenging it was in the first year.

Even when we are expected to get out of bed and head for the office, it's always tempting to extend the stay in bed for that extra "five minutes", which can extend to an hour, especially if you don't have to drop kids at school, and you have a partner whose schedule is equally flexible.

I just mentioned in passing the word "discipline".

I'll share with you some rules that will help you stay disciplined and focused. Wake up every day as if you were preparing for the office.

In other words, get out of bed at the usual time, take a shower, groom yourself properly.

You need not wear your suit and tie, or your high heels, but your face or upper torso should look presentable, in case the office wants to have a video conference with you.

Eat breakfast and get to work on that computer.

I cannot stress this hard enough: do not switch on your TV. That Satan is intrusive. If you switch it on, you'll find yourself suddenly glued to the 24-hour news channel. Naturally, the big story now is coronavirus. I don't think you want to be adding to the anxiety by following the reports on TV.

I can imagine that some married and live-in couples will both be working from home. If either of you is not properly attired or, to be blunt, walking around the house naked - knowing that you've taken the little ones to their grandma on the other side of town, since it's school holidays - the temptations are limitless. And no work will ever be done.

The boss said: work from home. This is not an extended sex holiday. You hear me?

If your normal job dictates that you should keep your phone off during office hours, please follow the same procedure, even though you're operating from home... you'll be productive.

The few days you will be working from home might just be the biggest test of your professional life. Depending on how you acquit yourself, your bosses might consider keeping you on a work-from-home arrangement even after coronavirus has been overcome.

In the time you'll be away from the offices, your bosses, if they are smart, will be assessing the pros and cons of calling people back to the office. The savings they might make might tempt them to change their working culture. Who knows?

I know many people who get depressed at the beginning of every week. Make no mistake, they love their job but can't stand the aggravation of being in the office around these monsters called colleagues.

Well, if you have kids who'll be staying home while you try to get some work done, my friend I can't help you. You need a prayer. A strong one.

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