(22 March 2020) Making “Work from Home” work (for startups)

Question from a startup — how do we make “Work for Home” effective? Here are my suggestions from our experiments —

Useful components: Plan the following —

  • WFH Coordinator/ Gate keeper ¬†(ensuring the process is taken seriously and discipline is maintained)
  • Mechanism for employees to list daily WFH Plan (in consultation with Reporting Officers)
  • Mechanism for employees to send daily WFH Report


  • Senior managers need to take out time to think about what can be accomplished, organise them into sets of smaller self-contained tasks, identify who can do it amongst the staff and assign it.
  • This does require greater time commitment of Senior Managers. But this is unavoidable. If Senior Managers do not take the lead in planning workforce juniors, WFH may not work (unless the junior is self-motivated and has awareness of the bigger picture already).
  • If the Senior Managers are careless or lazy in reading the Plan and Reports or in giving suggestions or seeking clearer/better goals, then the process will quickly fall apart.

Ideas for what all can be done  under WFH:

  • Preparing presentations; carrying to related desk research
  • Writing reports
  • Planning and detailing proposals
  • Planning and ¬†developing marketing collaterals (posters, flyers, data sheets etc)
  • Planning, creating and updating websites
  • Planning and executing social media campaigns
  • Plan and build databases; Client databases
  • Add useful capabilities/ qualifications via Online Learning Courses ( I will write a separate blog on this)
  • Software development
  • Patent (and other IP) related searches, analysis
  • Search scientific literature; Build technical literature compilation
  • Write publications and articles
  • Prepare SOPs, regulatory documents
  • Update well-wishers of your company vis email, phone, blog posts etc
  • Prepare pitch decks, financial simulations, plan a fund raising campaign
  • Contact potential investors; research and build a database of potential investors
  • Codify and standardise your company processes; explore software resources to increase efficiency
  • Planning internal training on Zoom (or equivalent) where all employees sign in and participate
  • Compile, organise and structure data; Data analytics
  • Put together concept ideas for problem definitions collected; Invent (at least the concept)
  • Modelling, simulation, design, visualisation
  • Lot of routine office work can be done online if you have an ERP or equivalent or have some operations systematized on Google Sheets etc.
  • Follow-up on pending payments, paperwork etc
  • Develop lecture materials, new teaching resources, upgrade/ update teaching slides.