Dr Valda Henry
Dr Valda Henry

"Home is where the heart is" but with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic currently sweeping the world, home has become, inadvertently, "where the office is".

And the "hearts" (little ones, big ones) are there also.

So, COVID-19 has changed, maybe forever, the dynamics of the Dominican work environment. Working "at home" has quickly become the new norm; it was once the place you were advised to never take your office.

Like everything else, there are advantages and disadvantages in "working at home". If working at home is new to you and you want to be productive you have to play some tricks on your mind.

Most persons who are new to the art of working remotely have developed their own systems but we all can learn from the professionals, right? Right.

One of these professionals, Dr. Valda Henry recently revealed her system for working remotely in an article that she entitled: "Working Effectively Remotely" published by VF INC in its April 21 issue of her Newsletter- "Voice- Keeping Abreast with Human Resource Management"

Here are what we called her "Ten secrets of working at home during COVID-19".

  1. Mindset - I treat working from home as "being at work," and dress for work, often down to the shoes! I do this for two main reasons: one to put myself in a work mindset and two, to be able to respond promptly, in the event I am needed to get to the office, at short notice.

  2. Structure – I establish a work plan with deliverables and work against a timeline, inclusive of breaks. In this COVID era, I have had to make some changes to be able to assist my son with his school assignments. I do a few hours early in the morning and devote 2 hours mid-morning and an hour in the early evening to go over his work (sometimes teach a new topic) and to ensure he completes his assignments and read. I have to sit next to him to get his work done, otherwise, it would be play, distraction after distraction! I tell him, I have never seen a person distract himself like he does!!

  3. Dedicated Space – I have a dedicated space to work, equipped with everything I need. Everyone at home knows that this is my workspace and they are not allowed to play there, be there without my permission and to disturb me while there, unless it is a matter of great importance.

  4. Security - The main reason for keeping that space private is to protect the confidentiality of the office and clients. Confidentiality and security of documents and intellectual property are very important, and these documents should be secured both when in use and when not in use. Loyalty from clients is strongly linked to their confidence that their information is secure.

  5. Family support – Working remotely truly needs a village to make it work well, if you have children. It is sometimes difficult for children, especially young children, to understand that their parents are "at work," while at home, so other members of the family or good friends, may have to do the babysitting, remind the children that you are at work and keep them occupied.

  6. Connectivity – Reliable high-speed Internet connectivity and secure cloud storage are critical to successfully working remotely.

  7. Clear Expectations – The reason for remote work and the deliverables with agreed deadlines, must be known, understood and accepted by both the employer and employee.

  8. Communication – Communication is the oil that keeps the engine of the organisation working effectively and effective communication is even more important when working remotely. There may be misunderstandings in interpretation and so one must always be prepared to make a telephone or video call to clear up misunderstandings early and quickly.

  9. Availability – You have to be available to respond to queries, provide support, feedback and reassurance. The need for reassurance of employees and colleagues, especially if you are a manger, cannot be overstated.

  10. Accountability – There is no performance without accountability and setting and agreeing to SMART goals with evaluation checkpoints are prerequisites for effective remote work.