How To Stay Productive While Working From Home
Even as the pandemic winds down, many businesses have resolved to maintain the work from home formula, even if just for part of the work week. There have been many benefits realised from this mode of operation including a reduction in costs for the businesses in terms of maintaining office spaces, lower commute stress, improved work-life balance, and flexible work schedules.
While increased productivity is sometimes touted as one of the benefits, it is not easily achieved when you consider the more distractions, less supervision, and limited communication that comes from working from home. For those trying to gain more focus and be more efficient and effective at their jobs while working remotely, here are a few tips to get you started on the right path.
- Create a dedicated workspace
With the convenience of a laptop, it can be easy to just sit on the sofa or lie back propped up in bed and think you can get in some solid hours of work. However, when in these environments, our minds are accustomed to rest and will affect how much focus and energy we bring to our job.
It is better to create a dedicated workspace with a proper desk and chair as you would have in the office that you can report to and immediately feel you are at work. Preferably in an area of the home where you will be away from distractions like the television and outdoor noises so you can focus better.
- Have a set schedule
Just as you would wake up at a regular time to get ready for work and commute to your office, you need to maintain regular work hours while at home. While working from home does give you flexibility over your schedule, you can end up derailing yourself if you keep taking breaks and become easily tempted to start your day late or end it early.
Setting a schedule and being consistent with your work hours will help ensure you get your work done in good time and even allow your boss and colleagues to know when they are sure to be able to get in touch, enhancing communication. It also helps to communicate with your team and clients about your availability.
- Organize your workflow
Besides setting your work hours, you need to also plan on how to get your tasks done. Know when to check your email and other communication channels and allocate time for sending back responses. Also, plan to work on tasks of the highest priority when you have the most energy and alertness. Plan ahead for when you will take breaks and limit their number and duration.
If in a job role that requires supervision of multiple projects, tasks, teams, or functions, the use of project management software in the UK could be of great help. It provides a single platform on which to oversee all project activities in real-time and the ability to easily identify risks and opportunities. You can remotely monitor the progress of your teams and ensure everyone is on track to accomplishing their set goals.
- Keep off social media
Social media platforms are a time suck that can be difficult to break away from once you get going. Ensure that you do not access your social media apps from your work computer and keep your personal phone away. You can even use certain settings on your devices or apps to help limit how long you spend on social media and the time of day. This restriction will allow you to better focus on your work with fewer distractions.
- Set boundaries
This is especially important with family or friends that may assume that just because you work from home you are more available to socialise or help them with other tasks like babysitting. You need to firmly establish that even if you are working from home, you are still working and will not be available to them during work hours.
- Have downtime
Just because you can set your schedule does not mean you should entirely devote it to work. Overdoing it can lead to a decline in the quality of your work and burnout. You need to figure out a good work-life balance that lets you be as productive as possible while also taking enough rest to recharge and de-stress.
- Finding focus
The home environment is much different from the office one. Some people find it hard to adjust and find focus while at home after having grown accustomed to the noises of machinery, people talking, typing, footsteps, and other office common office noises.
Try different methods of focusing including working from the quietest area of the house, playing some soothing nature sounds in the background or even opening up the window to hear the birds chirping. Try to figure out what works best for you and will help engage your mind and focus.
- Get some exercise
Without the commute, most people have extra time that can be devoted to enjoying some physical exercise. Even working from home can lead to a sedentary lifestyle that is bad for both physical and mental health.
Allocate some time each day to get in some exercise, be it indoors or outdoors. You can also make it as simple as taking a walk or skipping jump rope. Not only will it improve your physical conditions, but it will also boost the level of endorphins in your system that promote higher energy levels and alertness. These are benefits that can improve your concentration and work performance.