Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people prefer to work from home. According to a Global Workplace Analytics report, over 4.7 million professionals now work part-time from the comfort of their homes. However, while working from home comes with more flexibility and fun, it can be challenging to remain focused and productive. Read on for 11 work-from-home tips to improve your remote performance, stay motivated, and boost productivity throughout the workday.
Maintain Regular Working Hours
Working in an office setup means adhering to a routine with a clearly defined start and end time. This is not the case when working remotely. Since there is little or no accountability, especially on the arrival and departure times, it can be challenging to remain on track, so you should consider creating a schedule tailored to your needs and stick to it.
Maintaining regular working hours does not only enable you to complete assigned tasks on time, manage your workload, and determine when to take on more jobs. It also helps you maintain a balance between your personal and work life. Be sure to discuss your working schedule with your employer and colleagues, so they know when you are available for meetings and questions. You could also invest in time-tracking software to help determine whether you are sticking to your schedule.
Prepare a To-do List
You should consider preparing a daily to-do list or planner while maintaining consistent working hours. A to-do list is an index of activities you want to complete that day, written based on priority. The most critical tasks should be at the top of your to-do list so you can work on the first during your most productive hours. Once you complete a specific job, you should check it off your list to enable you to track your progress. This improves focus, helps your work be more manageable, and keeps you motivated to accomplish more tasks.
Consider investing in to-do list applications that enable you to write notes, manage tasks, and collaborate with other employees. This helps you keep track of your projects, meetings, appointments, and deadlines, freeing your headspace from constantly recalling chores.
Work from Home Tips – Reduce Distractions
One of the most significant challenges about working from home is determining a strategy to reduce the distractions around you. You may find yourself handling house chores or switching on the television when you should be working. For this reason, you should consider allocating specific time when you should complete household chores and ascertain that your workstation is always tidy before you start working. Instead of switching on the television, consider listening to your favorite music for a few minutes. According to Harvard Medical School research, music enhances your cognitive performance and lowers stress levels, enabling you to overcome distractions and improve productivity.
Create Healthy Boundaries
Your family members, friends, and neighbors can forget that although you are always at home, you are working too. They often visit or engage you in conversations, preventing you from working and meeting your deadlines. Consider conversing with your loved ones and making them aware of your working hours to minimize distractions while maintaining healthy relationships.
If you have children who require constant attention, you could develop activities that keep them busy while you attend virtual meetings and work. Be sure to also invest in interactive toys and provide long-lasting chews to your furry friends to keep them engaged for a while. Keeping your workstation’s doors closed is also an effective way to control who can access your space and when.
Limit Your Social Media Use
As you spend more time on your laptop or phone as you work from home, it is easy to increase your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube use. Unlike a traditional office setup, there are no boundaries to minimize social media access. If you realize you are spending too much time on social media, remove the social media links from your computer’s browser to reduce the temptation to log into your accounts. You could also turn notifications off or log out of your social media accounts during working hours.
Establish an Official Workspace
An effective way to avoid falling asleep or getting distracted when working is by creating a workstation in a separate room in your house where you can retreat and work. If you have a small home, you could create a spot and position a desk in an area with minor traffic and distractions. Ensure that everyone in your home knows that the site is your workstation and should be off-limits, especially when you are working. By designating a specific workspace, you provide yourself with an office-esque setup, enabling you to stay oriented to your job.
Work from Home Tips – Schedule Breaks
Devoting all your time to work without breaks and recess compromises productivity. Failing to provide your body and mind breaks between working hours depletes the energy stores and leaves you feeling mentally and physically tired. An effective strategy to schedule breaks when working from home is applying the Pomodoro time management technique. This strategy advocates giving tasks your complete focus for two to three hours, then breaking for 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to step away from your computer and move around the house to boost blood circulation, prevent burn-out, and keep yourself refreshed before resuming work.
Socialize with Your Colleagues
Working from home, especially if you are an extrovert, can take a toll on you, and feelings of disconnect, isolation, and loneliness may crop up, making you vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and depression. For this reason, you should consider taking advantage of team messaging applications such as slack provided by your employers to interact with your colleagues and even schedule meetups, primarily if you reside in the same region. This helps you feel included and connected. With that being said, workplace messaging systems can be a constant source of distraction, so ensure that socializing does not get in the way of your work.
Take Part in Online Training
It is easy to miss out on in-person skill development and training courses offered by your employer when working remotely, or the managers may forget to include you in online programs. Keep yourself up-to-date with the current happenings and demand to be included in the company training programs to avoid missing out on the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills. You could also boost your productivity by enrolling in other online training and courses available on the web to advance in your profession.
Invest in a Separate Phone Number
Suppose you often receive calls from your employer or colleagues past working hours. In that case, you should consider keeping separate phone numbers, one solely for business and the other for personal use. This allows you to log off your working cell during your off-duty hours and maintain a work and personal life balance.
Do Not Hesitate to Request Help
Be sure to reach out to your colleagues or employer and ask for support when feeling frustrated or stuck. You could also negotiate a flexible arrangement with your team leader if you think your workload is overwhelming to keep you on track and productive.
Top Work from Home Tips – Endnote
Remote working saves you from the hassle of commuting every day to and from the office, ensures flexibility, and allows you to provide the best care to your loved ones. Maintain consistent working hours, prepare a to-do list, designate a workspace, schedule breaks, set healthy boundaries, limit your social media use, participate in online training, and ask for support to improve productivity when working from home.