Tips on working remotely in Nairobi


working remotely in Nairobi

COVID-19 has brought about some unexpected realities for all of us. One of those realities is working from home as we practice social distancing. If you are not used to working from home, it can be daunting in the beginning. As someone who worked remotely for a couple of years, I want to share a few tips that made working remotely in Nairobi manageable. This is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it is helpful.
  • Communicate early if your home is not conducive for you to work at the same pace as you do in the office. We should keep in mind that not everyone has access to reliable electricity, the internet, and childcare.
  • Have clear and realistic deliverables that you have discussed with your supervisor.
  • Prepare for the workday as you normally would if you were going to the office. Take a shower, change your clothes, and have breaks including breakfast/lunch throughout the day.
  • Have a start and stop time. If you usually work from 8 am – 5 pm, do the same at home. It is easy to lose track of time and work nonstop or fewer hours when you work from home.
  • Have a set routine/timetable that keeps you accountable and is aligned with work deliverables. For parents, you can check this article on how to create a routine for your kids that complements your own routine.
  • Have a set workspace at home (not your bed) that has as few distractions as possible. If you have a family or roommates, clearly communicate your designated workspace.
  • If you have virtual meetings with your team, use meeting tools that have video options like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, etc. After a few days of working solo, you will want to 'see' other people. Check out additional tools to help you stay connected with your team while you work remotely.
  • Avoid social media apps/pages, running errands or having social calls/catch-ups during your working hours. As there is no disapproving supervisor looking over our shoulders, we have to practice self-discipline. A well-planned timetable will have built-in breaks when you can do the above (in our current reality of social distancing, it goes without saying in-person meetings are discouraged).
The above helped me personally. I do acknowledge that I write as someone who has internet at home, a very flexible work schedule, relatively reliable electricity (with an 8-hour laptop battery for those times there is no electricity) and no kids. So my situation is not going to be the same as the rest of you in my network. If you have additional resources/tips you can share on working remotely in Nairobi, let me know. Keep well.
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