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Coronavirus Outbreak: Things To Keep In Mind If You Are Working From Home Remote work has become significantly more relevant in today's scenario where we are trying to combat the threat of COVID-19.

By Ayush Jaiswal

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Remote work is hard but once companies learn it, it's going to add a ton of value. It gives you access to talent globally, reduces your expenses by 40-60 per cent, makes work efficient and helps you move faster. Remote work obviously has become significantly more relevant in today's scenario where we are trying to combat the threat of COVID-19.

Taking a cue from our own journey and experience of working remotely, we have decided to help the community work remotely. Here are some of the best learnings to make it work.

Home Office: It's easy for people to think they can work from couch/bed. They try to justify by being productive for a few days but it doesn't last. Having a workplace is extremely important when you try to work from home. It didn't work for me until I got a home office.

Discipline: There's often a sharp increase in productivity which dies with time. This happens because you either work anytime or all the time. Having a fixed schedule helps you stay focused and gives predictability to the team. Keep away from distractions.

Asynchronous Communication: Productivity spikes when you're communicating asynchronously because everyone can be productive at their own pace. I'm a night owl but half of my team is not. Always a better idea to stick to their schedule and work at their own pace.

Documentation: Remote teams don't have the ability to poke someone sitting next to clear doubts but they can always hit the search button. Documenting all processes, assumptions, workflow et el and having the right naming convention helps keep everyone on the same page.

Scheduled no-agenda time: We often do coffee chats over zoom with no agenda to talk about someone's vacation, the marriage they attended or memes they created. The culture of the company is the people in it, this helps those people get together.

Celebrating small-wins: In our slack, we have a channel called #smallwins where we celebrate every new design we liked or a new student we accepted. We often give shout outs to people who worked hard and did amazing work. Enjoying each other's success is always our priority

Being approachable: We used a hack to update our surnames on slack with our work timings because generally, people care about the later much more than surnames. This especially helps when you've people across timezone. So my slack name would look like: Ayush [11 am-3 am IST]

Metrics: People often feel their employees are not working unless you're on their head, this doesn't fly in remote teams. You should only do it if you care more about metrics hit by an individual than time spent by an employee on it, in office.

Hiring: Remote teams can't work with employees without ownership or managers with insecurity. As a manager, understand that if someone can slack off working remotely, then a person can spend all day surfing in office as well. Instead, hire the right people and build the right culture.

Celebrate together: Remote teams must do offsite more often. We haven't done it as much as we'd like but I have a gut feeling that we should do it every quarter if we can. Getting together every weekend to discuss hits and misses followed by dinner is great.

Physical activity: Something I learned the hard way is to take care of your health. Unless you care about your body and mind, you should not even worry about working remotely to save travel time. Productivity loss is massive in both cases. So when remote, don't forget to play!

Sleep Cycle: When you're working with people across different parts of the world, it's easy to be ambitious and completely change your routine. Work from home soon becomes work all the time. Being disciplined about your schedule helps you sustain. Run a marathon, not a sprint.

Ayush Jaiswal

Joint-CEO & Co-Founder, Pesto

Ayush Jaiswal is the Co-Founder and Joint CEO of Pesto Tech, an intensive training programme dedicated to upskilling India's five million software engineers and giving them access to borderless job opportunities. Growing up, Ayush was fascinated by the potential of tech to change lives and build a better world. He taught himself graphic design, learnt how to code and build websites, and eventually secured admittance to an engineering college in Delhi, where he founded his first startup. 

Eventually, he decided to fully commit to his entrepreneurial dream and dropped out of college. Ayush spent the next couple of years living the life of a digital nomad, founding a series of startups and living out of a co-working space. Ayush is currently based out of New Delhi, where he oversees Pesto's India operations. He is also a Kairos Fellow, and serves as an advisor for Startup Grind India.

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