Fri. Jul 3rd, 2020

Working from Home- The COVID-19 Experience

The Norm

The normal work norm is in the office environment and observed in the “8 to 5” time frame. The 8 to 5 time frame is a move from home at the early hours of the day amidst traffic to a “confined” work environment by a greater majority of the employed workforce. The target is to be productive in assigned tasks and yield results that are regulated by workplace structures.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed gears for a vast majority of the 8 to 5 work force, who were poised to swing into work mood this new year 2020. Lo and behold, the hefty COVID-19 slap on humanity has created a situation where the most used words in the first quarter of 2020 are  “quarantine,” and “lockdown.” The phrases that move along with theses two word are “social distancing, hand washing, stay safe and stay home.” The world has shockingly switched into hibernation at the crucial expense of life, which is the most craved element in the wake of the pandemic.

How do I stay healthy and most importantly alive seems to be the mind boggling thought globally. It has become very stressful and is leading to depression for many amidst staying at home. Relating it to Ghana, the insecurities of contracting the virus has created a system of hoarding items, rush in purchasing immune system boosters, food etc. A vast majority is also exhausted at how to keep up with acquiring all the endless essentials to “preserve” life, in itself which has become “expensive to live.”

Now, how do I sustain myself to buy Gari? Yes oh, Gari which used to be GHC 6 is currently GHC 25? Now that we are all stuck at home during this 14 day lockdown period (erm today happens to be day 13 of lockdown in Ghana and the 11, April. Can the conspiracy theorists help me here with meanings and theories). Anyway, with prices of virtually everything skyrocketing, how can one sustain himself while in the lockdown and quarantine period (I just remembered, The President announced a one week extension two days ago.) Do not forget there is an economic implication to all this and if you still have a job work towards maintaining it.

Work From Home

The work from home module is now being practised by several organisations across Ghana. However, a lot of people are struggling to keep up with this development. Now, a lot of people perceive it as stressful in the midst of yelling kids, household chores, cockerels crowing, goats bleating, watching movies and the temptation to take naps while working from home. Least I forget, the student community also seems to be overwhelmed with conducting online courses and exercises, the most said prayer is to see COVID-19 disappear for good. It definitely will.

Look To The Brighter Side

Technology has made life easier by the day for sometime now, why not take advantage of it. There is a new invention everyday we wake up. Especially in this nouvelle COVID-19 pandemic.Working from home tends to be a brilliant way out, which when carefully strategized will not only cut down on hours spent in traffic and getting to work exhausted before the day starts to not having enough family time among others.

Psyche The Mind

Two years ago, I worked with a UK based organisation and guess what? I worked from home and observed the regular 8 to 5. It was difficult in the beginning, but my then employer made me see the brighter side of the situation that though it was his first time and mine as well, we could make it work. I conditioned my mind that I was working 8 to 5 Monday to Friday and sometimes on weekends just like my previous job with a well thought out approach.I programmed my day as though I left my house to the office daily.

If you have household tasks such chores among other things to accomplish daily alongside work, do not be carried away just wake up early and work on it at least an hour before work time, take a bath and swing into a work mood. I must say household chores can overly be overwhelming sometimes, so you can also spread them across the day, do a thing or two during lunch time or even at the close of work.

One temptation is eating or snacking several times of the day and if you are not careful you may end up gaining weight. Portion the day’s meals into 5 small meals instead of 3, otherwise you will end up opening the fridge 100 times. The temptation is inevitable right? The critical thing is to do the work. You need to set up a workstation in a quiet area or part of your house away from interference from children, spouses or partners and siblings among others. Now, my mom or dad would occasionally budge in to crack some old jokes I have heard like a million times my entire life from them. Now that you are set to work, the internet which makes working from home effective and efficient may be the worry. With network unstable in several communities in the Capital Accra and even across the country, I adapted an approach. I live in a community with one of the most terrible network connectivity in Accra. So, though expensive, I acquired all the network sim cards and tried which one works best in my area. I identified two, so I worked with one and when it messes up, I switch to the other. So, apart from expensive internet rates, the aspect of internet is solved.

Now, it can really be mind-boggling stuck up home, isolating and working at the same time. To relax the mind every now and then, check on colleagues during the period through phone calls, stretch your legs every now and then at least every two hours so you do not sit down the whole day considering you are in the comfort of your home. Before you know it, work is going on smoothly. Do not forget to most importantly set targets for the day and you may end up being more productive than you were at the office environment.

Switch into the work from home module in this COVID-19 pandemic, after all if you still have a regular job, then you are earning an income right?  Do not forget we need to maintain our jobs in order to afford to continue buying Gari. Cheers to working from home.