The COVID-19 Pandemic has globally affected our cultures, ways of social interactions, habits, but most importantly our economies. Many companies and organizations find themselves struggling to cope with the uncertainty in measures set to control the spread of the Corona Virus. As a result, most businesses are down, organizations are non-operational and even some individual self-employed entrepreneurs to seem to be affected. As Faraja Africa Foundation, we would like to say, you don’t need to shut down! We would like to share a few tips on what you could consider in reworking your digital strategy to fit the working home environment for a self-employed person, companies and organizations i.e. employers, employees and the Gig-economy freelancers;
- Self-Discipline: The key first thing to accept is that you are going to face resistance from yourself, hence need for a mindset shift and adaptability to working from home if you are new to this. Set objectives and goals (in the form of tasks to finish) and ensure you have indicators in the form of result you need to accomplish. To comfort, you can also dress the part, cleanup go if need be as you prepare to work.
- Time Management; The power of prioritization is a treasure in living an accomplished life. Map out what you are meant to accomplish inform of the to-do list and follow it to the dot, but if you skipped a deadline, go easy on yourself and make time to do. Remember to reward yourself after you have accomplished your to-do list with breaks.
- Designating a Working Area; Work from your area of productivity comfort with fewer distractions. To some of us, this may mean a physical place, others it may be virtual etc. what matters is you limiting destructions as much as possible, from your mind, social media, environment, etc. Imagine the designated place as your office and only go there when you are going to fulfil your day’s work. Learn to build focus and concentration minimizing movements until your set break times.
- Communicate with The People You Are Staying with Home: Inform your family members or housemates about your work schedule, designated place and need for their support in you attaining the respective set targets. If possible, ask for help to help simplify what you’re doing that’s if it’s in their capacity.
- Set Reminders on Tasks and Appointments: Committing things on paper or writing. Don’t allow your mind to rest hence allowing it focus on other things. It could be meetings, deadlines, tasks to do etc. We will share on some of the resources you could use to achieve this. This needs to be done daily after setting out a monthly target with weekly objectives broken down to daily to-do lists.
- Constant Communication with Workmates; Build a social support network with fellow workmates, effective communication through calls, online meetings, emails, video chats and Office WhatsApp group chats. They become accountability partners as you would be to them collectively supporting each other’s work will reduce the burden of having to struggle alone hence giving moral support.
- Improvise and Use of Available Recourses both Offline/Online;
- Notebooks: Keeping this will best be used for scheduling, capturing your ideas, keeping a record of notes as reminders, plans, minutes etc. You can later choose to transfer your content.
- Phones: This can be used as your communication and coordination tool. If it’s a smartphone, then it can also be an extension of your virtual office especially with apps like; email, social media, MS word-excel, calendar for scheduling and reminders, zoom and skype for digital meetings, browser if you don’t have one, etc.
- Computers: If you have one, great! They can help simplify your work, knowing most of our work is about writing and creating content, computers usually have a larger surface to do your work from faster. However, observe best practices such as; charging, saving work done, don’t reduce it to being a tool of entertainment. Train your mind to respect it as a virtual office and tool to accomplish the work you seek to do. Movies, games and music, if necessary, avoid doing them on the computer. Ensure you have updated windows or operating systems, turn off auto-updates to save data usage.
- Make Use of Online Platforms; If you have a smartphone or computer ensure to have accounts such as Skype, have your email app installed both on Gmail, Outlook and more, Zoom, MS etc.
- Coordination Tools: If you are working with a team, make use of G-Suite, comes with emails, google drive for backing up your work, calendar, spreadsheets, and more. One can also use Microsoft Office 360 for Non-profits if you are an organization, it costs less than $3-4 a month and you can have your organization purchase it to be shared with a larger group of people. That way you can coordinate through teams, work on a document in real-time for both of you and more.
- Use Cheaper Internet Bundles; The cost of internet has not gone down. However, most telecom services have created special work bundles that we can use. However, it’s key you learn how to sustain your data usage by keeping away from non-work-related or irrelevant things. internet is nebulous, hence it can be used for good, so can it be used for bad leading to addictions on social media, pornography and much more, so watch out.
- Heavy Content Sharing: If you are sending information, you may use WeTransfer and many more others. However, if you a working as an office team and what to share folders, then we encourage the use still of Google Drive, One Drive, and these can be accessed by the GSuite, iCloud or Microsoft 360. Both have a free and paid-for version, whatever works in your means, use it.
- Digital Transactions; In as much, we have a lockdown, use of such platforms can help ease work. Things like Mobile Money, e-banking from banks and internet banking may be the new normal. If you have not subscribed for these services at your bank, you may need to do so fast. That way you can transact at the comfort of your home allowing your business to be operational.
- Exercise and Entertainment; Before or After a long day of work take some time off to engage in physical activities or exercises to refresh your mind. Entertainment too is good just as building yourself spiritually and reading outside your daily work routine and does not cover beyond 30% of your productive time.
In conclusion, these are just tips, feel free to do more if you feel you can. Always remember to keep following the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government of your country. We, however, are committed to supporting you in any way we can.
Share this blog to your networks. Stay Safe, Stay Home!
By Emmanuel Wabwire