Not every person can work from home, as some people require constant supervision. Nevertheless, for others it can work wonders and lead to happier lives. Soraya Rebello is one such person who has been able to successfully manage work from home for over a decade now and has shared her learnings, becoming successful and maintaining a healthy work-life balance in the book Paving The Highway To Success From Home. In an exclusive chat with G20, Rebello talks about her life, experiences, and of course the book, Paving The Highway To Success From Home. Excerpts:
Q. What triggered the idea of ‘Paving The Highway To Success From Home’?
A. From 2008 onwards, I have been working from home, initially by starting a consultancy company. In 2014, I sold my shares, after which I took corporate roles and continued flexible working. My husband has a transferrable job and I couldn’t keep switching jobs or report to work every day so chose the kind of work which allowed me to work remotely. With Covid-19 companies started accepting WFH. Internationally it has always been accepted but in India, the boss has to see the employe’s face every day to give him confidence that person is working. This changed because of the pandemic as companies had no choice. They started using technology to their advantage, it has been there before for virtual calls but people preferred face-to-face meetings before so it wasn’t used that much. I used to see new articles about how companies are enabling WFH and adapting to the new normal and thought of sharing my experience through this book since I have been doing this for almost 12 years. It’s possible to work from anywhere for certain job profiles if there is trust, credibility and focus.
Q. Please share tips on how to effectively work from home?
A. There are three aspects to it: Credibility, time management and flexibility. There has to be certain credibility in terms of trustworthiness, time management is another crucial skill as working as per a timeline is a requirement and also the flexibility in terms of being ready to travel to another state or country if required. I have also talked about relationship management in this book since it is a crucial skill in professional life. Remote working requires making the long-distance relationship work which is more challenging but any relationship can be successful if we work towards it. Marketing is a profile that can be done from anywhere nowadays and you can hire the best talent from anywhere. Earlier it required people to go out often and meet people which comes under traditional marketing. But now marketing can also be done through digital and web-based platforms. Remote working is going to be a game-changer for marketing personnel.
Q. Having been in the corporate field for a long time now, how important it is to maintain a work-life balance, according to you?
A. Work-life balance is where you draw a line which includes having the guts to speak up about what you can handle and where it is getting overwhelming. People are willing to go beyond the nature of their work or work hours but it can’t be an everyday affair. You have to stand up for yourself. I work in an organised manner and also stay up late to finish the work at hand when required. Deadlines and work pressure are always going to be there. Smoothly managing it requires planning and organising skills.
Q. Meghan in ‘Paving The Highway To Success From Home’ considers happiness a crucial factor in being successful. Do you believe that success can be personally defined?
A. The meaning of success is different for different people. If you are successful but internally unhappy, then you are not truly successful. You can find success in simple things as well and don’t need to be powerful or have fancy designations. If you are good at your job, others appreciate it and you feel a sense of achievement that is success according to me to be able to find joy in the fact that you have accomplished something.
Q. How can remote working be turned into a successful model?
A. Companies have to decide what their strategy is going to be like moving forward. There are several advantages if companies opt for remote working: A good talent pool and save a lot of costs associated with running an office. Also, certain jobs don’t require you to come to the office every day but since it’s a culture to show up for work every day people have to do so. There are a lot of plus points if organisations encourage remote working but a structure is needed, HRs have to identify where remote working can be allowed and policies and procedures have to be fixated around such roles. If in an organisation trust is an issue then remote working is not going to be successful. Inculcating the culture of trust is going to take time but then there are different ways of doing it and technology has made it a little easier to build it. In an organisation, there needs to be a proper system, procedure, belief in credibility, recruiting the right people and investing in employees to benefit from WFH. Also, never lose touch with people and stay connected while working remotely.