Sairam Venugopalan, QUALCOMM
July 1, 2020

Regardless of the nature of work that we might be performing in our professional lives, be it of the content-curation ilk or of the more fanciful engineering role, the vast volumes of time that we expend towards the readiness, ride, and return in the home to office trajectory has always been a throbbing area for several of us in the corporate countryside. While we might have yearned for jobs that would have enabled us to have the flexibility and cushion of not having to trek to our workplaces, be it far or at a stone’s throw from our abodes, many of our day-jobs have often necessitated physical presence at our desks and office cubicles. In certain cases, this lack of freedom might have been for logistical reasons with the organization for which we were working, while in other cases, the general mandate might have been for remote-working to be availed in a judicious way for exigencies.

In our realm of work such as information development or instructional design, despite the relegation that we sometimes perceive in the order of importance accorded to other functions or departments in the company, a precious and potent wand of wonder that we enjoy is place-agnostic nature of our jobs. Regardless of whether we’re in our drawing room or in our cozy cubicle at the office locale, we’re largely able to interface with our own departmental coworkers, counterparts of the software and hardware design fraternity, and the authoring/publishing tools over the virtual world with no impact to our work patterns.

Assume that we’ve been granted that boon of being able to work from our home interiors, and don’t have to lug our laptop bag every day and make the snarling commute to work. Else, presume that the heavens were gracious enough to answer our prayers and land us a freelancing job, a part-time working role, or a total telecommuter position and that we’ve lapped it with glee. The initial surge of euphoria might be quickly turning into a pale perplexed gesture as this sudden shift of business patterns from a regular day office-worker to a distanced resource requires introspection, inspection, and implementation of a series of changes to our operating ways.

It’s also equally necessary to not be too fascinated by the thought of remote-working as one needs to approach this changed work-style with a discerning mind and a well-thought plan. Else, the early buoyancy will quickly evaporate and create needless cobwebs in handling work effectively. Similar to most other facets of life, be pragmatic to acknowledge that every change requires us to acclimate and adjust, and it’ll be a while before we strike the right rhythm to handle our chores smoothly without a jitter.

While we have an avalanche of resources available as we google away to search for tips and techniques to handle remote-working jobs, it’s important to know that each one is the best adjudicator of their circumstances and job needs to tailor practices and protocols that’ll suit them swimmingly. We’re not going to dredge deep into the tidbits and tricks of handling telecommuting jobs in this article. Instead, I believed we might be interested in looking at a few attributes that are quite centric to any job, and more so, when it comes to working in an island or a box.

  1. Fuel your concentration demands – Amusing as it might seem, any type of profession needs application of the mind in the fullest form. So, there isn’t anything radically new when it comes to a distant-working job. However, when we tend to work away from the clapper corporate ward, we’re in our silent burrows. We might have distractions and disturbances in our home environment, too, but nothing comes close to the buzz and frenzy of a bustling office environment. The quietness and calmness can be experienced more psychically and internally, and that’s the weapon we can employ to focus more deeply, cogitate concepts better, bolster memory-retention levels, and apply the analytical angle intensely. The brain can be fueled and fortressed adequately with our levels of attention that we’ll find ourselves performing exceedingly well than in the past. Items can be whacked down the pending pile faster than the drag and distractions subjected to, before.
  2. Befriend the ticking time wheel – Everyone is racing against the crazy clock, and the ridiculous rush is more palpable when we have a predefined arrival and departure time at the workplace. When at home, it’s normal to feel that we have copious time on hands because the moments snatched away towards hallway chats, café conversations, and huddling at desks are in reserve. At the same time, we might be doing caretaker jobs for our family, running minor errands, or performing a bit of community service. Such activities will wallop the so-called extra-time we’d imagined. Unless we judiciously use our valuable armor of time, we’ll end up scrambling and struggling for timely finishes. Understand that we might only have a few fits of spare hours, and that too, not on a daily basis, unless we’ve downgraded ourselves to a part-time work duty. But, in the idle period that we carve for ourselves, ensure that the brain isn’t beleaguered with stressful overwork. Instead, use the free time towards any favored pastimes, such as relaxation techniques or as gratuitous as an added dose of sleep
  3. Weave empathy and warmth – When we are at our workplaces, it’s perhaps a bit ingrained in our own selves to be curt, abrupt, and even demanding at times with what we seek from a cohort or a peer. That’s because we sometimes have a visual peek into one’s presence at the office digs and perceive what that person might be up to. When we’re miles or mountains away and have only a 14-inch monitor as the only gateway into another person’s world, it’s hard to tell what the recipient of our call or email is battling through. Possibly, one is having a grinding day with work, battling health woes for their child, or simply reeling with frustration after a bad meeting. Be courteous and kind as it doesn’t take anything away from us to show compassion and friendliness to our work associates. Our correspondences, be it email, chat, or the phone, become the face of us as we’re literally ‘meeting’ with the person on the other side. We’ll gradually learn to become more accommodative, amenable, and receptive as we link more on the cyber world and have little or no in-person interactions. This trait of politeness and humaneness can turn us to be more self-effacing.
  4. Strengthen self-control and personal management – Although we might not be alone and alienated from our work associates because of the privileges of networking and collaborating through the silica systems, we’ll certainly face detachment or a feeling of removal when we are entrenched into our duties from home. This condition can be a two-sided coin and the way we put this asset to use determines the derivative of such a situation. Use the moments of disconnection and the lack of workplace din to embolden self-confidence, invest in personality development, practice mindfulness, and quash dissenting and self-sabotaging thoughts. Tremendous power and potential exist within us as humans, as we know from the lore of yore, but in periods of such serenity and solitude, we can cash into the rich inner reserves of inspiration, strength, and composure. We must wary of debilitating thoughts and impending actions that can lead us down a path of perturbance. Not only will such negative sentiments impair work, but also mar our home atmosphere.
  5. Savor the leeway and liberty – We did understand that home workers have more emancipation and space to shuffle things more than their in-office counterparts. While it’s necessary to stay attuned and glued to work items, we must also be conscious of the fact that we’ve specifically created a remote-working ambiance in an intentional way. We aspired for it and worked towards finding one. Do make the best use of the elasticity and spring that such a role offers. For example, we might be wanting to attend to a personal chore during the day and make up for the lost time by logging in early, or we might be comfortable with working in two bouts sandwiched by a mid-day break that’s been agreed upon with our management. In other words, cherish the freedom and flexibility as not all jobs might offer us such a convenience.

Every matter in life has its flipsides and fortunes, and just as know from our numerous, wide-ranging experiences, we must tap into the boons and blessings that an item brings while trying to minimize its drawbacks and difficulties. With telecommuting, too, we can convert it to be a favorable and successful dispensation if we can analyze what works well for us and what needs to be maneuvered to make it happen.