With COVID-19 on everybody’s minds, many people are thinking about the practicalities of working from home to minimise the spread. Whether you’re self-isolating or just trying to stay healthy, working remotely can be a great solution. However, one question remains: how to stay productive from home? When we’re not in the office, it can be tough to settle into a new routine and block out distractions.
Stay productive and make the best of your situation with our top tips for working from home:
Set Up Where You’ll Be Working
Not all of us have a dedicated home office – especially if we don’t work from home regularly. But even if you don’t have a home office, it’s still important to define your workspace. Having a separate area to work is always ideal; it lets you switch from home time to focus time.
If you can, find a room away from the main bustle of the house. Otherwise, find a corner in the room that’s as far away from the TV or door as possible, as both could be tempting distractions. If possible, set up in an area with natural light to avoid eye strain.
Keeping things tidy may also help with productivity; as the saying goes, a tidy home = a tidy mind. Pack away the clutter before you get stuck in and use this chance to hide away anything else that may be distracting (gadgets, toys, etc.).
Try Time Management Techniques
Distractions are the number one downside of working from home. Sometimes these things are unavoidable, but by using time management techniques, we can schedule in our breaks. The Pomodoro Technique is a great one to try. Work steadily for 25 minutes, take a short break, and repeat. The idea is to keep yourself accountable for your time – and if you get distracted, you stop the clock. As you go, you can increase the time you work.
Keep in mind that the potential closures of schools and childcare facilities could mean that you’ll have children at home, so a degree of flexibility may be necessary. If possible, try to find a schedule that will allow you to both fulfil your personal commitments and deliver on your deadlines.
Also, consider taking personal notes, working from a ‘to do’ list or regularly sharing a list of priorities with your team. This will make it easier to organise tasks, know who is working on what and maintain an easy reference of what’s completed. Where appropriate, you could also try tracking tasks using project management tools such as Asana, Trello, Teamwork or Pivotal.
Keep Open Lines of Communication
Working from home can sometimes feel lonely, but it doesn’t have to be – it simply means you need to change the way you communicate with your team. For example, instead of being able to walk over to a colleague’s desk, you’ll have to find other ways to keep in touch and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Use your phone, teamworking apps and other tools such as video calls and live chat to stay in the loop with project news and what others are doing, rather than relying solely on email, which can be easily overwhelmed even when you’re working in the office. Apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Workplace by Facebook can help you communicate more effectively while you’re working remotely. Don’t forget to share your status and progress reports often; this transparency builds a sense of trust with your team.
Maintain a Workday Structure
Many of us rely on a certain structure in our workdays. We go to work, have our breaks, keep working and go home. So, it can throw a spanner in the works when we’re already home all day.
Put in healthy boundaries to replicate your usual workday. As we touched on, this includes managing your time, but it’s also about knowing when it’s time to switch off for the day. It’s important to define your working hours so you’re not tempted to work late just because you’re home, and ensure everyone knows how and when to reach you. When you’re done with your hours, pack away the laptop, put away the pens and paper, and recharge until tomorrow.
Look After Yourself
At the end of the day, many are working from home for reasons directly or indirectly related to COVID-19. That’s why self-care is the best way to stay productive. If you’re using the Pomodoro time management technique recommended above, use your little breaks throughout the day to keep yourself healthy: drink plenty of water, eat nutritional and energy-rich foods, and go for a walk around the house if you need to stretch your legs.
Coronavirus is set to change the way we do business – at least in the short term – and alternative arrangements such as remote working could become the norm. These productivity tips will help you to adapt and ensure you’re able to make the most of your time when working from home.
For more advice on how to make working from home work for you, or help with finding your next Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing and Infrastructure role, get in touch with RobLawMax.