Even before the onset of the current global pandemic, more and more companies started offering its employees the option to work from home. The growth of remote work is nothing new, but the urgency brought on by the COVID-19 coronavirus means many of us suddenly needed to work from home, for the first time, with a lack of formal policies or training. If you’re suddenly navigating this new work from home normal, this session will cover some tips and resources to help with the transition.
Many people struggle with working remotely. Being efficient and productive while working from home can be a challenge. There are tons of distractions, less accountability, and less communication than when you’re working in the office. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Let’s look at 6 effective tips that can help you stay productive while working from home:
1) Stick to your office working hours: While working from home, it’s tempting to give yourself total flexibility as to when you start your day, take breaks, and call it a day. But you need to maintain some form of consistency. Setting consistent hours for yourself keeps you accountable to yourself as well as your boss. It also increases the probability of completing all your tasks.
This doesn’t mean that you need to work 9-5 every day. You should work at the time of day when you’re most productive, when you won’t be disturbed by family members, when it might be important for you to check your emails, etc.
Keep in mind: Tasks including communication with co-workers or clients and the time of day when you are most productive are important while setting your work hours. Don’t forget to communicate those hours of availability to anyone that might need to get in touch with you.
2) Maintain a designated workspace: It might be tempting to work from your couch or even from your bed, but this can hamper your productivity. While it is tempting to work from the couch/bed, these locations signal relaxation to your mind. A work space should be a desk or a table with a comfortable chair.
Try to always work from a consistent room, desk, or chair, to tell your brain that it’s time for work. This will make you feel more alert, more confident, and more organized.
Tip: Set yourself up with a comfortable, supportive chair, a spacious desk, and consistent workplace tools. If you want to, enhance your work space with optimal lighting, a window, a candle, or music playing softly in the background. Ensure your space is tidy and as free from distractions as possible.
3) Plan your day: Before you even start working, make sure you know what your priorities are for the day, how long you think it will take you to get everything done, and what you will work on if you have extra time.
Keep in mind the following points:
Complete the highest priority tasks first: Decide what tasks are most important and assign them to yourself at the beginning of the day, that way you ensure they are completed.
Do the toughest tasks when you have the most energy: Save more mundane and less urgent tasks for the afternoon, when your energy begins to wane.
Be sure to designate break times.
Tip: You might find it helpful to take a few minutes before you go to bed, to plan for the next day. Alternatively, if you find that planning before bed is not for you, try making a plan for the day while you eat breakfast before starting work.
4) Dress up: Even if you won’t be interacting with another person all day, it’s important to dress somewhat like you’re going to work. This includes showering and brushing your teeth! This will tell your brain that its work time, not time for relaxing. Sweatpants might be more comfortable, but you may also feel sluggish, sleepy, or unmotivated. You need not wear a formal shirt and trousers, but do wear something that you wouldn’t wear to sleep/lounge around in.
5) Take a break: Breaks are an important part of the workday. This may sound counter-intuitive, but part of working hard is knowing when it’s time to step away momentarily. And you still need to take breaks while working from home. Taking work breaks leaves us feeling mentally and physically refreshed, helping to avoid potential burnout.
If you are unsure of how to maintain your level of productivity while still taking breaks, you can find multiple productivity methods online. For example, the Pomodoro Technique features both long and short breaks built into the schedule. This will allow you to maintain or boost your productivity while still taking breaks.
6) Say ‘No’ to distractions: While breaks are necessary, too much distraction can ruin productivity. In an office setting, you are less likely to browse websites unrelated to your work because there are others around to witness your actions. At home, that is not the case. Social media can be a huge productivity killer. Working from your home presents other distractions as well. Being in your home, it’s easy to want to do laundry, play with pets and do other activities. Resist the urge. Those activities can wait until you’re “off the clock.”
Remember to: Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” so that only certain people can reach you. Logging out of all social media is an added measure that makes it harder to aimlessly scroll and waste time.
Working from home is an adjustment for everybody, one that takes time. Having our work space and our home space suddenly become one and the same can be a difficult transition and affect our productivity levels. With that being said, adopting and practising these 7 techniques will ensure you remain on the right track.
PALLAB BOSE is a Career Coach, Motivational Speaker, Soft Skills Trainer, professional Show Director, Show Anchor & English Voice Over Artist. He regularly writes articles and blogs on Soft skills, Motivation, Careers, Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle, Movies, Celebrity Profiles, Travel, Tourism, Culture etc.