The outbreak of Covid-19 has definitely changed the way we work. Whether we liked it or not, many of us were forced to work from home for a period of time. In the ‘new normal’, working from home has become an essential practice.
Although working from home is nothing new, the surge in number of those having to work in this new environment calls for a fresh set of guidance and tips.
These tips come from those who have been working from home even before the pandemic. Entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote employees and the like share their secrets of being productive, despite having to live and work in the same space:
1) Have a dedicated work space – This will help you to minimize distractions and focus better. Pick a workspace that’s quiet and away from the rest of the residents of the house.
2) Set and stick to a schedule – If you’ve been working in an office, chances are your body clock will wake up at a set time each day. Keep that momentum, and wake up at a set time each day. Start and end your work days at set times too and take lunch breaks at the same time each day.
3) Set ground rules for your family or housemates – You have to make it clear that you shouldn’t be disturbed during your working hours. Explain that just because you’re home, it doesn’t mean you’re on a holiday.
4) Request support if you face problems – Remember that even though you’re working at home, your colleagues and the different departments are still there to help you. For example, contact an admin assistant if you need help with some paperwork.
5) Maintain your morning routine –Keep your morning routine to stay active and alert for the rest of the day, such as taking a shower, drinking coffee or eating breakfast.
7) Put your phone on silent after office hours – Mute work-related calls after you get off work. Maintaining a work life balance is important.
8) Get some fresh air – Go outdoors or to the balcony for a whiff of fresh air during your breaks. It’s important to get some sunshine during the day. Leave home briefly to run errands if you need to.
9) Don’t work near your bed – Be as far as possible from areas of rest and relaxation, such as beds and sofas.
10) Keep track of your tasks – Be independent and keep records of all the things you have to do, and their deadlines. You may need an app for this, or a traditional notebook.
11) Be mindful where you go online – Despite it being your own home and not within a working environment, avoid surfing Not-Safe-For-Work (NSFW) websites as these may show up, especially if you have to share screens for a meeting.
12) Be punctual for meetings– Prepare at least 15 minutes ahead and be present in front of your screens at least 15 minutes before.
13) Keep communications open – No matter what platform you’re using to communicate with your colleagues, keep checking them throughout the work day.
14) Set productivity goals daily – This way, you’ll be able to accomplish what you need to do.
15) Learn to use online work apps – You company may be using workflow or organizational platforms like Trello, Basecamp,Evernote or Asana for remote work. It’s best to get used to it as soon as possible.
16) If possible, get separate gadgets – If you can afford it, use different computers for work and for leisure. This allows you more privacy, as well as improves your work life balance.
17) Stock your home pantry – If you have a habit of munching on (hopefully healthy) snacks and making beverages while you work, stock your home with those familiar snacks.
18) Play soothing music– Research has actually shown that soothing music actually increases your concentration.
19) Don’t work in your pajamas– Help your mind get ready for work by changing out of your pajamas. You don’t necessarily have to dress formally, but dressing up in non-sleepwear helps your brain get into work mode.
20) Check-in regularly with colleagues – You can do this by replying e-mails, messages and the like, or just dropping a ‘How are you?’ message.
21) Keep record of your achievements – Keep a personal log of what you’ve done for the day. It will motivate you to keep up your pace.
22) Take time to stretch– Long hours at the work desk may take its toll on your back, neck and limbs. During your break, perform stretches.
23) Don’t over-pressure yourself – Working from home does have its limitations, and some of it will take time to resolve. Be patient and don’t beat yourself up over it. You may even want to consider outsourcing some of your work.
24) Socialize with your colleagues – Out of working hours, spend time sharing and socializing with them, even if you have to do so online.
25) Get enough sleep – Separation of work and rest is important. Don’t let your work invade into your private time, and get enough rest. Fight the urge to work even if your work station is just a few steps away.
Hopefully these tips will help you be more productive as you work from home. Whether you work for a startup, small and medium sized enterprise or a big multinational company, both your physical and mental health should be a priority.
What are personal strategies for being productive while working at home? Let us know in the comments below, and consider signing up for our Remote Employee team too!