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Last week, Manu Kumar Jain, vice-president of Xiaomi and managing director of Xiaomi India, posted a photograph of himself on LinkedIn with the caption: “Working remotely! This week, all of us at Xiaomi India have been working from home. I’ve also set up a temporary workspace at my home." The picture shows Jain seated at a sparse desk, with a whiteboard behind him. The tidiness of the set-up immediately catches the eye.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, companies in the private and public sector are encouraging work from home for most of their employees. Since the idea is largely novel for those unused to the gig economy and unorganized sector, many challenges abound. Is it counterproductive to work in your pyjamas?

How can you resist the lure of streaming a show on your laptop while working on a boring spreadsheet? Can meetings be as effective on Zoom or Google Hangouts as they are in physical boardrooms and conference halls?

While keeping the workplace tidy seems like an obvious starting point to be more productive, most employees find it the hardest to follow—especially outside the structured cubicle-oriented spaces of offices. But fret not, for Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidiness expert, is coming up with a new book, Joy At Work, in April that promises to transform your working life radically. Published by Bluebird, it will be distributed by Pan Macmillan India.

Written in collaboration with Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice University in the US, the book is a handy guide to improving your productivity, whether you work from an office or home.

The key is to follow the ‘Spark Joy’ philosophy that Kondo is famous for. If you can ensure that your work environment and routine bring you joy and satisfaction, even the most tedious jobs can seem meaningful.

Kondo and Sonenshein offer a two-pronged approach to decluttering your workspace. The first is the physical cleaning up of papers, documents, files, stationery and miscellaneous articles (komono in Kondo’s jargon) that are stashed away in drawers or underneath your desk.

The second, which is becoming increasingly crucial, involves clearing up non-physical clutter, by which the authors mean your digital organizers, emails, computer desktop, various passwords, meeting schedules, and people management skills.

While the ‘spark joy’ philosophy isn’t always possible to follow since a part of almost any job involves tedium and drudgery, there are modifications that can be made to ensure that your working life is a little more bearable. Most of the practical advice—for instance, to tidy up by category, quickly and completely, all in one go—make sense. Others, such as Sonenshein’s advice to excuse yourself from meetings you don’t have much to contribute to but are required to attend, are not as feasible to execute in real life.

The most useful section for managers pertains to people management: how to keep the morale of a team up by having shorter and tidier meetings with more precise agenda; ways to deal with ‘decision fatigue’; decluttering your ever-expanding online network and cultivating only a few beneficial ones; and what you can do to lead a team by example, even when you may not be the leader.

You may not agree with Kondo and Sonenshein entirely, but it’s worth trying out some of their ideas, especially when you are struggling to manage teams and meeting deadlines from home.

Headline: Covid-19: How to spark joy from your work-from-home office

Dek: Marie Kondo, the world’s leading tidiness expert, is coming up with a book to help you KonMari your workplace

By Somak Ghoshal

Last week, Manu Kumar Jain, vice president of Xiaomi and managing director of Xiaomi India, posted a photograph of himself on LinkedIn with the caption: “Working remotely! This week, all of us at Xiaomi India have been working from home. I’ve also set up a temporary workspace at my home." The picture shows Jain seated at a sparse desk, with a whiteboard behind him. The tidiness of the set-up immediately catches the eye.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, companies in the private and public sector are encouraging work from home for most of their employees. Since the idea is largely novel for those unused to the gig economy and unorganized sector, many challenges abound. Is it counterproductive to work in your pyjamas? How can you resist the lure of streaming a show on your laptop while working on a boring spreadsheet? Can meetings be as effective on Zoom or Google Hangouts as they are in physical boardrooms and conference halls?

While keeping the workplace tidy seems like an obvious starting point to be more productive, most employees find it the hardest to follow—especially outside the structured cubicle-oriented spaces of offices. But fret not, for Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidiness expert, is coming up with a new book, Joy At Work, in April that promises to transform your working life radically. Published by Bluebird, it will be distributed by Pan Macmillan India.

Written in collaboration with Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice University in the US, the book is a handy guide to improving your productivity, whether you work from an office or home. The key is to follow the ‘Spark Joy’ philosophy that Kondo is famous for. If you can ensure that your work environment and routine bring you joy and satisfaction, even the most tedious jobs can seem meaningful.

Kondo and Sonenshein offer a two-pronged approach to decluttering your workspace. The first is the physical cleaning up of papers, documents, files, stationery and miscellaneous articles (komono in Kondo’s jargon) that are stashed away in drawers or underneath your desk. The second, which is becoming increasingly crucial, involves clearing up non-physical clutter, by which the authors mean your digital organizers, emails, computer desktop, various passwords, meeting schedules, and people management skills.

While the ‘spark joy’ philosophy isn’t always possible to follow since a part of almost any job involves tedium and drudgery, there are modifications that can be made to ensure that your working life is a little more bearable. Most of the practical advice – for instance, to tidy up by category, quickly and completely, all in one go – make sense. Others, such as Sonenshein’s advice to excuse yourself from meetings you don’t have much to contribute to but are required to attend, are not as feasible to execute in real life.

The most useful section for managers pertains to people management: how to keep the morale of a team up by having shorter and tidier meetings with more precise agenda; ways to deal with ‘decision fatigue’; decluttering your ever-expanding online network and cultivating only a few beneficial ones; and what you can do to lead a team by example, even when you may not be the leader.

You may not agree with Kondo and Sonenshein entirely, but it’s worth trying out some of their ideas, especially when you are struggling to manage teams and meeting deadlines from home.

Headline: Covid-19: How to spark joy from your work-from-home office

Dek: Marie Kondo, the world’s leading tidiness expert, is coming up with a book to help you KonMari your workplace

By Somak Ghoshal

Last week, Manu Kumar Jain, vice president of Xiaomi and managing director of Xiaomi India, posted a photograph of himself on LinkedIn with the caption: “Working remotely! This week, all of us at Xiaomi India have been working from home. I’ve also set up a temporary workspace at my home." The picture shows Jain seated at a sparse desk, with a whiteboard behind him. The tidiness of the set-up immediately catches the eye.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, companies in the private and public sector are encouraging work from home for most of their employees. Since the idea is largely novel for those unused to the gig economy and unorganized sector, many challenges abound. Is it counterproductive to work in your pyjamas? How can you resist the lure of streaming a show on your laptop while working on a boring spreadsheet? Can meetings be as effective on Zoom or Google Hangouts as they are in physical boardrooms and conference halls?

While keeping the workplace tidy seems like an obvious starting point to be more productive, most employees find it the hardest to follow—especially outside the structured cubicle-oriented spaces of offices. But fret not, for Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidiness expert, is coming up with a new book, Joy At Work, in April that promises to transform your working life radically. Published by Bluebird, it will be distributed by Pan Macmillan India.

Written in collaboration with Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice University in the US, the book is a handy guide to improving your productivity, whether you work from an office or home. The key is to follow the ‘Spark Joy’ philosophy that Kondo is famous for. If you can ensure that your work environment and routine bring you joy and satisfaction, even the most tedious jobs can seem meaningful.

Kondo and Sonenshein offer a two-pronged approach to decluttering your workspace. The first is the physical cleaning up of papers, documents, files, stationery and miscellaneous articles (komono in Kondo’s jargon) that are stashed away in drawers or underneath your desk. The second, which is becoming increasingly crucial, involves clearing up non-physical clutter, by which the authors mean your digital organizers, emails, computer desktop, various passwords, meeting schedules, and people management skills.

While the ‘spark joy’ philosophy isn’t always possible to follow since a part of almost any job involves tedium and drudgery, there are modifications that can be made to ensure that your working life is a little more bearable. Most of the practical advice – for instance, to tidy up by category, quickly and completely, all in one go – make sense. Others, such as Sonenshein’s advice to excuse yourself from meetings you don’t have much to contribute to but are required to attend, are not as feasible to execute in real life.

The most useful section for managers pertains to people management: how to keep the morale of a team up by having shorter and tidier meetings with more precise agenda; ways to deal with ‘decision fatigue’; decluttering your ever-expanding online network and cultivating only a few beneficial ones; and what you can do to lead a team by example, even when you may not be the leader.

You may not agree with Kondo and Sonenshein entirely, but it’s worth trying out some of their ideas, especially when you are struggling to manage teams and meeting deadlines from home.

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