Because of the pandemic, more people than ever are working from home. It has been the situation for many of us for almost a year now. Though you may have gotten used to working from home, you probably also know that it comes with difficulties and distractions. It can be a challenge to stay productive. Others in you family may be working from home too. Schools may be closed so you have to care for your kids while working at the same time. We all face unique challenges because we have different personalities, various lifestyles and different jobs. But many of the core of working from home are the same.
Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life. I have worked from home myself for over a year now. And I want to share seven tips on how to stay productive while working from home.
1. Stay Productive With A Morning Routine
Some people think that working from home means sitting around in pajamas with the television on in the background. But in reality, the best way to stay productive while working from home is to treat you work space as if it were the office. You have to set yourself up for success when working from home.
Developing a morning routine can help you to a good start of the day and be productive. So shower and get dressed, no loungewear. Sure, casual days can be okay. But overdoing it will impact the quality of your work. Have your breakfast and coffee and do whatever else you would do before you go to the office. A short workout is usually a great way to get energised for the day. It will help you get in the right mindset. A proper morning routine that you repeat each day has positive effects on your work life and mindset. Whatever system you had in place before, try to stick to it.
2. Create Your Own Workspace
Being in you regular office means being at work. Now that you are at home, you need something similar, a designated workspace. Having a specific workspace is important to help you focus. So create a spot in your home where you go to work and be productive. Of course, it is easier if you have an actual office in your home. But every home is different so you have to make the best of your available space. If there is no room for an office, try a kitchen counter and sit in the same spot whenever you work. Or try your dining room table or a living room desk.
If you can, avoid working in your bedroom. Your body and mind associate that room with sleep. Working in a bedroom rarely makes you stay productive. Don’t try to sleep and work in the same space.
Make it Into an Office
Whichever room you work in, apply the same principles that exist in your actual office. Have a clean desk policy. This is really important! If there’s stuff around that reminds you of non-work related tasks or household chores, your eyes will go there and it will distract you. So when you work from home, clear out your space and create a clutter-free zone. This will help you stay focused on your workload and keep an office experience.
3. Stay Productive By Taking Breaks
Taking a break seems to be more difficult at home than it is at the office. Some people even feel guilty when taking a break at home. Though it would be normal for them to grab a coffee with a colleague for a few minutes if they were in the office. But taking breaks is more than having a coffee and a chat. It is not a luxury but an actual necessity. Humans cannot stay productive for hours on end. Short breaks between tasks every now and then increase mental clarity and overall productivity.
If you can, go outside for a few minutes. Sit in your garden or on your balcony or take a short walk. If going outside isn’t an option, at least go to another room. Leave your home office space. And do not have lunch at your computer.
You can also take ten minutes to do some exerise. Sitting at your laptop all day long is not good for your posture and muscles. Just ten minutes is enough to get in some exercise or stretching. If you don’t know how to exercise at home, you can click right here for some home workout tips.
4. Make Your Workspace Green
This tip will sound weird to some but here you have it anyway. Put some plants in your office. A huge number of studies has shown that having plants in the office has a significant impact on your well-being and productivity. It is not a coincidence that most modern offices have quite a few plants in them.
A study at the University of Technology in Sydney showed a considerable reduction in stress from having green plants in the office. The color green has a relaxing and calming effect. So the plants must be visible to you. Having green plants in your workspace increases your level of productivity and improves memory retention. If stress is of particular concern to you, plants alone may not do the trick though. Click here for three more easy ways to reduce your stress.
5. Listen to Music
Background music turns out to help the mind stay focused, be more happy and be more productive. Of course, that is only true if the type of music doesn’t distract you. But you can use music to your advantage and for enjoyment while working at home. If you share you space with family or others, make sure you keep their needs in mind too.
6. Stick to Your Office Hours
Just like a morning routine will help you stay productive, so will a regular work schedule. So stick to your calender. Coninue to have regular calls with your team. The more you stick to a daily schedule, the easier it will be for you to stay productive while working from home. If you used to go to the gym before work, keep exercising before starting your work. Did you have a set time for lunch? Stick to it at home. This does not mean you cannot be flexible. But the key is to find a routine that works well and helps you stay focused.
Sticking to a work schedule also means minimizing personal distractions. At home, it may be easier to get distracted by personal text messages, social media, funny memes that your friends have forwarded to you and a million other things. Make it your goal to not let that happen! If you have both a personal and work phone, use your personal phone only during breaks. Do not check your personal email during work and don’t fall for clickbates. You are “at the office”, after all.
7. Stay Productive by Socialising
Socializing is an integral part of working with colleagues in an office. Working from home can change your enviroment a lot. But it does not reduce the need to connect to others. In fact, judging from some of the studies into the effects of corona lockdowns, socialising may be even more important while working from home than in a regular office. Feeling isolated, disconnected and lonely does not benefit anyone. So use Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or whatever software you have to communicate face to face. Do not turn off your camera to have audio-only meetings. You got up and showered and are not sitting in your PJs anyway, right? Seeing each other face to face makes all the difference. We are all in this together after all.
If the pandemic has forced you to work from home, being productive will help you feel focused, connected and valuable. After all, we all want to achieve something in life. Without goals or purpose, you can end up feeling lost and frustrated. But how can you set goals you can really achieve? The trick is to be smart about it. Click here to find out how to set goals and actually achieve them.