The number one perk that every job hunter looks for in a new role is home working. Now many of us are having to work remotely due to the coronavirus. No doubt, many are probably wondering how to be productive when you work from home?
We’ve all had days in the office where our workload seems so overwhelming that we wish we could lock ourselves in a box, free from distractions, so that we can catch up.
By all means, it’s great to have the option to work in our little cocoon, without the constant demands of calls, meetings and queries from team members. But once you’re all caught up… then what? When our ‘business as usual’ is no longer BAU, how are we supposed to manage our workload?
At the time of writing this blog post, most of the world is in lockdown. Consequently, many of us are beginning to find out the harsh truth about working from home: It is hard to stay productive while managing to achieve some degree of work-life balance and without experiencing burnout or going crazy!
We’ve prepared this guide for the benefit of our employees, clients, candidates and anyone else who is self-isolating. Here is our list of the top 15 challenges faced by remote workers and tips on how to be productive when you work from home.
15 Tips On How To Be Productive When You Work From Home
Figure Out When You Feel Most Productive
Some of us are morning people, while others are night owls. One of the benefits of working from home is the freedom to choose our working hours. Learning when you feel most alert can help you maximise your productivity.
Night owls may choose to make the most of the opportunity to have a lie-in while working from home every day. Early birds, on the other hand, may prefer to wake up as the sun rises, be done by 3 pm and be free for the rest of the day.
Plan A Schedule To Maximise Productivity
Working in isolation, without the usual ebbs and flows that our business as usual tasks create, our workflow becomes harder to manage. Additionally, in such strange circumstances as we’re experiencing now, we’re probably all spending a lot more time than usual scrolling through our social media feeds.
Planning a schedule for the day helps us focus on the more important tasks we should be working on.
Eat The Ugly Frog First
Plan your morning routine so that you begin with completing the task you’re least looking forward to first. By doing so, you will start your workday with a sense of accomplishment and the rest of the day’s tasks will feel like a breeze in comparison.
From personal experience, I know that in my mind, working from home means WORKING ‘from home’. However, others view the same situation as ‘working’ FROM HOME. See the difference?
When we stop for social breaks, we feel like we’re still doing something. Although socialising doesn’t contribute at all to chipping away at our workload. Consequently, all we end up doing is working until later in the evening. For this reason, it is therefore imperative to set boundaries with friends and family.
Create A Designated Work Space
Not everyone has the luxury of a home office. Nevertheless, having a dedicated workspace makes it easier to separate work time from personal time. Just like when our day at the office is over, we go home. It’s essential to be still able to ‘leave work’ even though we’re still within the same four walls.
Having your laptop poised on the edge of the sofa makes it all too tempting to check on your emails. So if you can’t close the door on your workspace, at least try and make it somewhere you can walk away.
Having a clear desk helps you start the day with a clear mind. Therefore, creating a clutter-free workspace will help you to stay focused.
Take Care of Your Posture
Being comfortable is also vital for concentration. As anyone who suffers with back problems will tell you, when you’re in pain, it’s hard to concentrate on much else. With that in mind, it makes sense to invest in a good office chair with decent back support.
Schedule Break Times
Our minds are most productive when we schedule break periods of between 5 – 15 minutes every hour. Fitness trackers are a fantastic way of reminding ourselves to do this. Most have a setting which makes them vibrate at ten minutes before the hour to tell us to move. Which brings us nicely onto our next point.
Keep Activity Levels Up
Exercise contributes to mental wellbeing and a healthy immune system in addition to being good for your overall health. It is therefore probably more relevant right now than it has ever been to stay active. Think it’s impossible to manage the recommended 10,000 steps a day while in isolation? What about that French waiter who ran a marathon on his balcony?
OK so running up and down the same seven-metre strip might be pretty dull but there are many other creative ways to stay active. For example, one of our directors, Nick, has been following Joe Wicks on YouTube for a daily workout with his kids.
Proper hydration is the key to good circulation, mental and physical performance. The recommended amount we should consume is 1.6 litres of water for women and two litres for men. An easy way to achieve this is by filling up a drinks bottle with the required amount in the morning and drink it throughout the day.
Keep in Touch
While we’re practising social distancing, any actual socialising is entirely off-limits. Despite that, we must stay connected with family, friends and teammates. Whether by picking up the phone, having a Facetime conversation or a Zoom meeting, social interaction is vital for mental wellbeing.
Have An Accountability Buddy
When we’re at work, colleagues often prompt us to complete particular tasks at certain times. For example, Ryan, one of our consultants is a creature of habit. His regular brew making schedule serves as a reminder to me to catch up on Twitter engagement. When we’re not working together as a team, those subtle reminders are gone.
An accountability buddy could be a colleague, a partner or a housemate. Anyone you talk to regularly can give you a gentle nudge to remind you to complete those tasks you might otherwise put off.
Wear Shoes To Work
How many of us go barefoot or wear slippers around the house? From a health and safety perspective, wearing shoes is a no brainer! You’ll only stub your toes on the desk a couple of times before vowing always to wear shoes when working from home!
That aside, putting shoes on is more about a state of mind you get into when you put them on. It doesn’t have to be shoes either. For some people, shoes are the trigger, or for others, it could be wearing makeup.
Everyone has that one thing that gets them mentally prepared for work. Find your ‘thing’ and get into the routine of doing it every day.
Of course, we all need to limit the amount of contact we have with others right now, but when working remotely, it’s essential to get out at least once a day. Many ways are going outside benefits us mentally, including improving memory and concentration levels and relieving stress. Besides, when the sun is being as kind as it is to us right now, there’s no better way to top up your vitamin D levels!
Don’t let your life become all about work, watching the latest coronavirus updates and drinking wine. Find ways to experience pleasure in life outside work times.
Learning how to be productive when you work from home is just like mastering any new skill. Of course, it won’t be easy at first but it will become more natural with practice. We hope that after reading this article, you will be more productive. If you have any top tips to add, please share them in the comments below!
If you know anyone who’s struggling to adapt to home working, please share this helpful guide with them on social media – they will be sure to thank you for it!