Be More Productive When Working from Home with These Tips
Do you find yourself working from home as part of the global movement to #FlattenTheCurve?
The trend of self-isolation, in some way or form, is here to stay and the “home office” will become the routine for many of us as part of adhering to the advisory from the World Health Organisation. This might be the first time you are faced with the opportunity to work from home full time.
The biggest contrast between working from home and working in an office is that you are accountable for your surroundings. You have to be responsible and accountable to your company, but also balance your work and personal life.
It may be hard to find the balance between work life and staying focused in your home environment, that is why we have put together some thoughts on how to increase your level of productivity. Below, we look at all aspects involved in working from home such as setting up a productive workspace to communicating with your team at home.
Dress Up for Work from Home
Do not underestimate the act of changing your clothes. Changing your clothes will help change your focus from home to work time.
This may sound like a simple tip, but it is a crucial one. While you work from home, it can get tempting to sit in your pajamas all day, but it can slow down your productivity and make you less successful overall.
You don’t have to dress as professionally as you would for work, but the simple change of clothes acts as a signal that it’s time to get up and get things done.
While you are at it, why not also brush your teeth and take a shower. If you normally wear makeup and perfume, why not apply some too? Waking up and dealing with your appearance will go far to maintain structure and your routine.
In addition, because you work from home doesn’t mean that you will go unseen. Make sure you are prepared for that last-minute video call meeting!
Create a Dedicated Workspace
You may find it difficult to keep your work and home life separate while working from home. While it may appear to be convenient to move from your work area to the couch, to the bed, and let your laptop creep into your leisure space, “working from home” makes it harder to keep your work separate from your home life. This may be especially tempting if you’re used to leaving the house every day to “go to work”. Unless, you are able to completely detach from work while working from home, your work productivity will go down and your personal life can suffer too.
We recommend creating a dedicated physical workspace at home. Your workspace doesn’t need to be in its own room, but it should feel isolated from the rest of your home. Attempt to make your workspace comfortable with a seat on which you can sit and focus for long periods at a time. Why not brighten it up with some of your favorite photos or quotes? Look for an area where there is good lighting throughout the day.
Entering your “office” at the start of the day will help you turn “on” and get down to work quicker. On the flipside, leaving your workspace will likewise enable you to turn “off” toward the end of the day.
Set your Working Hours
If you stick to dedicated working hours, you can focus on getting your best work done and easily transit from home life to work life and vice versa. In addition, if your job is collaborative, being on a similar working hour pattern as your colleagues will simplify things when you need to reach each other or are working together on a project.
Distinguishing work and personal time is much more important if you live with other individuals. Agree with these individuals on work time and personal time limits so you may eliminate interruptions during the workday—and once the work day is done you can then give the individuals you care about your complete consideration.
When working from home, everything that you normally care about after work is within reach. It’s human to get distracted. Be careful about the amount of distractions you allow. You will most likely take a couple of breaks during the day while at office, and that is fine to do at home, as well. Utilizing that time to toss a heap of clothes in the washing machine is OK, but make an effort to not use the opportunity to work from home as an excuse to actually clean your closet or do something else that you would normally reserve for weekends or after hours.
Perhaps the greatest interruption at the moment is the news. It’s acceptable to remain educated about the coronavirus outbreak, but at the same time it’s important not to go down a rabbit hole following the news.
We recommend creating structure by setting alerts and alarms for breaks. Switching off your device’s notifications could also help you from being distracted.
Communication — especially with your boss and direct reports – is the key to steering through these uncertain times.
It is an entirely new situation that we find ourselves in as a global community, colleagues and individuals. Make a point of hovering back and checking in with colleagues throughout the working day and do not hesitate to reach out to the same people you would normally turn to for assistance, regardless of whether or not you’re in the same building as them.
Alternate between text based communication, phone calls and video calls to check in with your manager and colleagues. This will eliminate miscommunication and break the social isolation that comes from working from home and COVID-19 precautions.
Don’t forget to Socialize (Digitally):
Don’t underestimate the informal social communication with colleagues you’re accustomed to during a normal work day. This kind of social interaction makes you feel less alone and breaks up the monotony of the daily grind. When working from home we miss these spontaneous connections that brighten a mundane work day.
Remain connected through Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype, calls or Zoom to name a few. If you like talking about how you spent your weekend, keep up with that. If you like to debate or talk on specific topics, connect on that. These little interactions can go far to keep you fresh.
Do not hesitate to connect with an associate just to ask how they’re doing.
Not all of this relates only to the working day and the people you work with. You may not be able to meet friends after work for dinner, but you can still contact a group of friends to discuss or talk about the current situation, how they are coping or a television show.
At the point when the world is in crisis mode, it is more important than ever that we reach out, communicate and lookout for each other. Hope you’re staying safe, staying at home, and staying productive!