Teleworking during the coronavirus era

In quarantine, many people are trying to do their activities from home

Man working at home from his computer.

Teleworking has been implemented as a strategy to combat the coronavirus. / Photo: Unsplash

LatinamericanPost| Tatiana Restrepo

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Leer en español: Teletrabajo en época de coronavirus

Currently, as a consequence of the coronavirus (COVID-19), governments have implemented different isolation measures and mandatory quarantine. These strategies have forced many companies to migrate from face-to-face work to remote work. For some sectors, these measures have been easy to implement because they had already been telecommuting or because their economic activity allows it. However, for some people and companies, this has been an unexpected situation and they have had to improvise. Here are some recommendations to maintain productivity and deal with this crisis in the best way:

What do the experts tell us?

The Colombian Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MinTIC) has had a Telework policy for several years, which has sought to promote this practice at the national level in the three types of modalities : Autonomous, mobile, and supplementary telework. During this quarantine, the recommendations given by the MinTIC focus on different topics:

  1. Use digital collaboration tools to communicate via chat, audio or video. Among those recommended are: anymeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype, Slack, Teams and Zoom.
  2. Set strict hours and habits as if you were going out to work, the idea is to try to maintain a routine and avoid working from bed or in pajamas.
  3. Have a defined space to work and thus avoid being distracted by other household chores.
  4. Consciously answer the assigned tasks, trying to prioritize them so as not to overload yourself.
  5. Keep in touch with your coworkers.
  6. Avoid having a sedentary life, do physical activity, and have active breaks during the working day.
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What does experience tell us?

Esteban Lervi, entrepreneur and expert in remote work, shared through his Twitter account some recommendations for teleworking during quarantine. Some coincide with the proposals by the government, but he also presents some complementary ones:

  1. Acquire a sim card with data in case there are connection failures.
  2. Avoid using instant messaging applications like WhatsApp, because they are not designed for work.
  3. Do online courses.
  4. Call friends and family daily to expand socialization abroad.
  5. Although it is important to talk to the bosses, it is not necessary to over-communicate each activity that is carried out.

Without a doubt, telecommuting can sometimes lead to people ending up working longer to try to show that they are actually being productive. In addition, as the quarantine passes and taking into account that an unprecedented event is taking place globally, people have begun to increase their stress levels.

For this reason, companies and governments themselves are becoming more aware of how they should treat their employees, for example, the Government of Canada sent a statement on the principles of remote work during the quarantine . In this case, a guide to what to do or not to do was sent, it simply presented some phrases such as "you are not working from home, you are at home, in a crisis, trying to work"; "Your mental, physical and emotional health is the most important thing at the moment"; "Don't try to make up for the decrease in productivity by working long hours."

In short, it is key to bear in mind that, although teleworking has become a necessary activity for many, naturally not all people are doing it as it should really be implemented, but these recommendations will help to have good practices and emerge victorious from this situation.