At home with WFH

Naveen Khajanchi | Updated on September 23, 2020

Here are some tips for the new regime

In the Covid-sponsored work-from-home era, families of entrepreneurs and freelancers enjoy an edge over the others. For, a hybrid working model has always been part and parcel of this population. In these families, work from home was business as usual, literally and figuratively. Living rooms, bedrooms and even kitchens of these families are used for business decisions, discussions, strategies, management and ideation. Even their children are familiar with the processes and the stories of their parents, grandparents and such. For them, grooming starts at an early age.

Most families have a personalised way of WfH. Normally, this revolves around the owners’ tastes. This is now seeing some degree of mutual convenience, though. Today, the owners have to play a much more important role; they make themselves available 24x7 for their business. Now, it’s time to awaken the team; reorient them to emerging needs, bounce back and sustain the legacy of family values. It’s all about ensuring that people down the line or the ones generally ignored are genuinely listened to. It’s about managing people in a way relationships, collaboration and communication thrive in a digital environment. This requires building systems and processes that target the well-being of the people and business.

That can happen only when there is a culture of trust. Hard conversations around non-performance or non-compliance should take place. The mantra is to listen, instead of being aggressive, and talk without shaming. Collate and record data from the bottom so that a collective sense of ownership emerges, improving decision-making and implementation.

Most free-on-board business owners are used to donning the dual duties of work and family 24x7. In the current lockdown scenario, they should get off that mode as work and home merge into one. A lot of issues are there to deal with. Support staff is scarce; issues such as cooking and secretarial chores would need direct attention. Younger people need to balance work and life properly. This is also a period where they can push for digitisation, technology upgrade and create a structured schedule for work from home. Today, such owners are heard more than ever and reverse mentoring is happening as they have the edge on technology and housework, too.

Being idle has been a dream for many. In fact, most of us desired more time at home with our loved ones. Covid lockdown gave us just that, but it was for too long and too much. Now, many of us yearn for being away from home or family. We must use this opportunity to build habits and processes that help us enjoy that much-needed aloofness as well. A younger couple I know recently arranged a dinner with a set of friends, each sitting away and apart from each other in a garden and having pizzas they brought for themselves; their children and elders are enjoying similar outings on separate weekends. Maybe in the new scheme of things, we can plan weekends with less work and stay off gadgets. Let’s plan ‘Don’t Disturb Hours’, fixed slots for lunch, dinner and household chores.

The bottomline: Make the most of the work when in work mode and make the most of home when you’re in ‘home mode’. Time will keep moving, but how we make the best of ‘now’ is all that matters. Or, NOW is already gone!

The writer is the CEO of NKH Foundation

Published on September 23, 2020

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