Since the rise in corona cases worldwide, the work culture has shifted on its axis. Organizations have adopted remote work culture. People have started to work from home in Nepal as well. It is not a new approach but it surely wasn't much in practice before.
And now given the uncertainty of the fate of the virus, most companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, etc have already normalized the remote work culture. Organizations in Nepal have also followed the same footstep and have asked employees to work from home.
Remote work has its own set of challenges. An employee might not have wifi of similar strength at their home. Usually, companies have stronger internet connection as required and that might not be the case for all its employees working from their home.
Similarly, work from home means that there is going to be distance among the colleagues and their managers. So there might be some problems with collaborating. Projects might get delayed.
There is also the looming fear in directors and head of the departments of staff slacking off. No matter how advanced technologies might get, there is something extraordinary about seeing someone in person.
That personal presence and communicating with someone face to face is irreplaceable. So, having colleagues and employers working from different places can be challenging because the interaction which can be done with so much ease can be missing.
Likewise, Nepal still hasn't been able to eradicate the problem of “load shedding”. It is no way near as bad as how it used to be. Thanks to Kulman! May God bless you. But still, in rural parts of Nepal, there seem to be power cuts for a couple of hours some days. It is more common during monsoon and road expansion days.
If virtual employees happen to be living nearby, then the organization can conduct a face to face meet weekly or monthly or whenever possible. This can help in bridging the interpersonal communication gaps intensified by remote work.
Whenever employees are done with virtual meets, the important points of the meeting can be summarised into a document and shared among all the staff and managers. This way all the confusion and queries will be clarified since you cannot just walk up to someone and ask them because you are working from home.
With employees doing the work from home, their supervisors need to keep track of their productivity. It can be stressful to monitor whether they are slacking off or not.
There are plenty of tools that can be helpful and make remote work culture convenient. These tools can be used to encourage collaboration among the employees, project management and to monitor productivity as well.
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. It allows you to keep all your files in one secure location.
You can synchronize files across as many devices as you want. Also, you can store and share documents, slideshows, spreadsheets, and photos from any devices with so much ease.
You can edit your documents both online and offline. And you can grant access to your files or edit them with a few simple steps. It's a must for people who are remote working.
A zoom is an excellent tool for holding meetings and conferences. It has great video and audio qualities. There is also a chat feature where team members can type out their questions or statements instead of interrupting the person who is speaking.
Zoom has become popular with companies to hold their conferences and colleges and schools to run their online classes. It allows up to a hundred devices at once.
Here in Rolling Plans, we have staff who work from home, and also with the ongoing pandemic, we have opted for zoom to have our meeting sessions. This app with its so many features personalizes the method of video communication.
Asana is a tool that can help an individual or a team to organize, track, and manage their work. It is a web and mobile application designed to simplify team-based work management.
Did you know Asana was created to replace the work of email for work communication and collaboration?
It also allows you to assign responsibilities to teammates, plan projects, specify deadlines, and also track the progress made by the team. Overall, it is a great application to minimize and control the chaos of remote work.
Slack is an instant messenger application for business communication. Its features include chatroom/ channels organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging.
Slack has options for voice and video calls. Plus you can share your screen too. You can also use it directly to work with people outside of your company.
You can connect with your team members/colleagues for conversations outside of business as well. This can help strengthen the relationships among the coworkers beyond the professional level.
Everhour is a great solution to your tracking and scheduling problems as you work from home. It helps you determine how much time your employees are spending on their tasks and how those spent time is benefiting the company.
It can also decide the approximate budget needed on a project for you. EverHour also has features for task management, expense tracking, reporting, and resource planning.
It is really easy to use it to track everyday time and weekly to generate billing reports and invoices accurately. EverHour is said to be handy as a tool by having the start/stop buttons next to each task.
Work from home with schedules and deadlines to meet can be often demotivating because a home is different than an office.
And when you are not used to working from home where there is no office environment, then one can find themselves struggling to gather motivations.
Your output depends on how much work you have managed to complete in a given time. But if you cannot be efficient then there will be nothing to measure your achievement.
Thus, you need to stay motivated to be productive.
This means finding a space where you can make a habit to do your official work. And no it cannot be your bed or your dining table.
If you can, then it's better to turn an entire room into a study, so that it looks similar to an office and you can get in the zone while working remotely.
If that's not possible then get a desk and a chair, and create your suitable workspace. Once you develop a routine by working in an environment that is designed for working, it will enhance your working ability and productivity.
As an employee, you are responsible to create a favorable work schedule for both you and your manager to complete the tasks assigned to you.
You can figure out the hours you tend to be energetic and set your work schedule for that particular time. Maintain your schedule by carefully planning how many hours of a day is being asked of you for remote work.
Prepare a routine so that you can organize your work hours without much stress. Importantly, schedules help you become consistent and navigate your plans smoothly as well.
Whether you work from home or an office, you are not obligated to be available 24/7. And you should set clear boundaries with work timing.
But the timing might blur if you have overlapped work time with home time and have been slacking off. And if that is the case then you are required to complete the work before you hit the deadline.
This further could mean that you will be compelled to work after office hours. Thus, set boundaries beforehand and stick to the schedule so that you won't have to put in longer hours than usual to finish your duty.
With remote working, you are going to have to put a little more effort to engage in conversations with your teammates and managers. Also, staying connected with your colleagues can make you feel a sense of belonging and being part of a community.
Communication is the key to any relationship either personal or professional. It helps to lessen the distance with the people you work with/for since you aren't physically present at an office.
You need to make them known about your presence while you work from home. People who you work with/for need should know what is going on with work or if any problems are hindering you from giving your best. And that can be only done via communication.
You cannot expect yourself or anyone for that matter to work with zero breaks for eight hours straight.
So it's necessary to take some time off in a few hours or 5-10 minutes off every hour to relax a little bit. Working tirelessly with no breaks will drain all your energy which is not good at all for your productivity.
Hence, walk around for a while, drink some water, call your family, check in on your friends, stretch in between work. This will help you feel refreshed and be even more productive for remote work.
Apart from these tips, you should turn off or put away any distractions while working and from workspace respectively. Decluttering stuff from your working desk and keeping it organized is also an important step to stay productive.
Home being an environment that maximizes your efficiency depends on your family members as well. This is because it’s likely that you will be interrupted one way or the other some days while you are knee-deep in your work.
So it’s better to let your family know the type of dedication and zero disturbance your work needs. When you are working from home, people don’t tend to take you seriously.
But you have to make them aware of your work situation and how remote work is a thing. Your time and privacy while working deserves value and respect.
Thus, let your friends and family know about your work schedule so that they will refrain from contacting you during those hours.
There won't be someone to remind you constantly about things that you shouldn't be doing while working by walking into your workspace. You need to be aware of them before you sign up for remote work. These are not complicated rules. They are more like mistakes that you need to avoid to work efficiently.
Working without breaks.
Using a couch or bed as a work desk.
Expecting colleagues/managers to figure out non-verbal cues.
Ignoring conference calls and joining meetings late.
Always having problems with devices.
Mixing home life with work life.
Not being motivated to communicate.
Tens of millions of people have started work from home given the soaring number of COVID-19 cases worldwide. And, people will likely be doing work from home even long after coronavirus.
This shift towards remote work is something monumental. Changes needed to be made to adapt to the “new normal” and now we can see people all over the globe transitioning to work from home.
Nepal is no different from the rest of the world when it comes to the impacts the virus has caused us. The global pandemic has changed our perspective on how we view work.
Offices in Nepal have made it compulsory for their staff to work from home for the betterment of everyone. Remote work is not very common in our country. And people have said that it felt odd at the beginning but with time, they have gotten used to it and are happy that they can still work.
Working remotely has taught us that a lot can be done through work from home. But there are also issues of poor internet connection, being distracted, and lacking motivation while doing the work from home.
The current shift to remote work can be an opportunity for many to be innovative and creative. But with the pandemic going on people also find it challenging to stay productive and focused.
Here, a balance of not overworking and avoiding slacking off is required. Perhaps, companies can also be mindful of the circumstances we are in while setting expectations from workers.
Remote work has now become the norm for many companies. Since the pandemic, the way we work and communicate has been completely redefined.
So with being distant during such unprecedented times, companies were worried that there would be a significant drop in employee efficiency. Though it may not be drastic there however is something amiss.
Some practices can be followed to establish an effective and engaging remote work culture. Work from home can often be alienating so the managers and the companies can provide employees with a sense of belonging.
With work from home, communications can be challenging and things can get lost in translation. Which is why it's super crucial to be clear about responsibilities, deadlines, and duties. Engaging in communications is helpful to build healthy professional relationships as well.
Another great of establishing effective remote work culture is by measuring employees’ engagement. There are different tools available to do so. Keeping open communication and encouraging everyone to reach out should be prioritized.
Above all, offices should listen to remote work teams more and ask them to share their thoughts more often. It's all about building strong relationships based on trust and reciprocity and mutual understanding.
We hope this guide will help you understand different aspects of remote work culture/ work from home in Nepal.
Gone are the days of cubicles, eh?