In these current challenging times, working from home is no longer a luxury, it’s actually become a matter of safety. Working from home is great, but it can be problematic if it’s not well managed.
We understand that for many, this is unchartered territory and we have collated these helpful tips will help you maximise your productivity whilst working from home.
The right workspace & setup
The type of work that you do is key to determining the location of the workspace you need in order to be productive – your “home office” needs to be condusive to a productive work day. You must also carefully consider day-to-day living with the others in the house-hold.
If you have a family or live with others, you will want to consider the following to help achieve the best work-home balance;
- If possible, choose a separate room – that way you can keep work and home separate as much as possible.
- Pick a room/location where you can minimise distractions – far away from kitchen, laundry room & living room (as that is likely to be the rooms frequented by the kids/family).
- Your workspace should be spacious enough to comfortably undertake your ‘normal work activities’. Working across multiple areas is far less productive than working from one area.
- Use the right tools and technology to effectively carry out your duties whilst working from home.
Regardless of space or location, create an area of your home where you will work, and commit to working in this space every day.
Start your work day early
The earlier you get into it in the morning, the more productive your day will be and the quicker you will form a productive daily routine. Believe it or not, you work better and at a higher standard when you dive into your ‘to-do list’ as soon as you wake up. Otherwise, you run the risk of procrastination and/or letting other distractions take precedence which will wear away your motivation.
Set structured work hours
Once your home office is set up, it’s time to get down to business — literally. If you are going to make working from home, work, you will need to be disciplined and set specific work hours (as you would when working in an office environment).
A perk of working from home though is that you can be flexible in deciding what exactly your set working hours will be. So, if you are most productive in the morning -set your work hours from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. If you are a night owl and work best during the evening, a good idea can be to get through all the simple , quick tasks during the day and you can do your deep thinking and more strategic work when your mind is most productive (be sure to effectively manage your time and tasks especially if you work as part of a bigger team and your team members rely on your work in order to do theirs)
Implement a hard limit at the end of the day and work in your designated work hours and then distance yourself from work when you’re done.
Have a structured plan/schedule for each day
When working from home, you become your own manager and you will need to structure your day so that you get through your specified work each day. A good way to better manage your day and most importantly (to stay on track) is to try to structure your day like a normal day at the “office”.
Here’s how, segment WHAT tasks you will do and WHEN you will do these tasks over the course of the day. You can use a number of online tools to assist with task and time management, for example Asana, Monday.com and other similar platforms.
Don’t work in your pj’s
It might seem like a bit of a buzz kill to say no working in pj’s but there is a really good reason for it. The clothes you wear for work has a psychological effect on productivity, if you’re dressed for sleep, you then that’s likely what you’ll subconsciously feel like doing.
Apart from psychologically getting you in the right mindset for work, by not working in your pj’s you’ll be ready for any video meetings or impromptu video check-ins with a colleague. Simply put, making your home office environment as professional as possible is always the best way to work from home. You’ll be able to get work done, and you will be mentally and physically prepared for the day.
Try not to work in the living room
Your living room and the TV is a sure productivity killer, it drains your focus. Avoid the TV and other digital distractions so that you can focus on getting the job done. The more productive you are during the day, the more time you will have in the evenings or outside of your designated work hours. If you prefer not to work in a quiet setting, a good compromise is to have some music on in the background.
Learn your ‘most productive’ periods
Nobody deep focus work right from morning to evening, it’s natural for your motivation to ebb and flow throughout the day. When you’re working from home, it’s all the more important to know when those ebbs and flows occur and plan your work schedule around it.
To effectively use your most productive times, save your harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace to work on them.
One of the biggest distractions, whether at home or in the office is social media. Part of the reason is that social media is designed to make it easy for you to open and browse instantly. When trying to work from home this convenience can be the detriment of your productivity. To counteract this temptation during work hours, it’s a good idea to remove them from your browser shortcuts and log out of all accounts.
If you are home all day, every day, then family and pets might interrupt you without knowing better. In these situations, it would be best to set some clear boundaries with your family while you work. It will take some getting used to, but everyone will understand and adapt as needed (yes, even the kids). This also goes back to the first point of choosing an appropriate place to work so that these type of distractions are not frequent.
Confused? There’s actually a saying that explains that the busier you are, the more you’ll actually do. Basically meaning that busy people are constantly moving so they likely will have the momentum to complete anything that comes across their desk.
Unfortunately, it may hard to find things to help you reach that level of busyness when you’re at home so try to whilst working on a task, have another small task in the back of your mind to help you’ stay busy’ and maintain your work momentum. This additional task can be keeping an eye on your child or timing work with laundry cycles. How this works, well it’s simple, knowing that you have to get through your work and also keep your household functioning while at home, the pressure helps to keep you focussed and functioning at your best cognitive level.
The three key takeaways to successfully work from home are:
- Having the right tools
- Using the right systems & practices consistently
- Being disciplined and organised