Tips for a Productive Work from Home Experience
In recent weeks a lot of jobs have gone remote and many workers find themselves working from home for an extended period of time. While having a day or two a week to work from home is nice, being full-time remote is a different experience and people are feeling the struggle. From working around kids and pets, to endless snack breaks in the kitchen and the ever-tempting television, people everywhere are asking how to work from home and actually get things done.
Here are some work from home tips to help keep you productive:
1. Have a Designated Home Office Space
There is a strong temptation to work from bed or on the couch, but in terms of work productivity it’s a bad idea. Your brain thinks of those spaces as places to relax and unwind, making it hard to focus when you’re using them to do work. You need a dedicated space in your home where you can come and do your work. Ideally, this would be a separate room like a home office space, but any place where you can shut a door and keep distractions like the kitchen and the T.V. outside will do.
2. Have a Routine
Even though you aren’t heading to the office, it’s still important for you to have a routine and stick to it. As much as we all like sleeping in, try to wake up around the same time that you normally would. Use the time you’d normally have for a commute to make yourself a delicious breakfast, enjoy an extra cup of coffee, or do some morning yoga. And while sweatpants are comfortable, it’s good practice to still get dressed. This task helps to tell your brain that it’s time to focus and get ready to work.
3. Check Your Background Before Video Calls
Advances in video conferencing mean people are able to take meetings and clients from the comfort of home, but keep in mind these are still professional meetings. Before jumping on a call make sure your background is clean of clutter and distractions (for example don’t have the T.V. running behind you or piles of laundry on the floor). While this may not be distracting to you, it might be for your coworkers; plus this is still a professional meeting and it is important to make a good impression.
4. No Pets
Your four-legged friends are loving the extra time they get to spend with you, but there is a limit to how many petting breaks you can take. If your pet is busy trying to get you to play a game of fetch, constantly interrupting your work, or laying on top of your laptop, you may need to lock them out for an hour or two. This is especially important if you take video calls, as sudden barking or things being knocked to the ground can detract from the meeting. If they whine or scratch at the door when locked out, try giving them a special toy or treat to keep them busy while you work, just make sure it’s safe.
5. Make Time for Breaks
While some people get easily distracted when working from home, other people move in the opposite direction and become too focused, forgetting to eat lunch or take breaks to move around. Studies show that breaks, in moderation, actually increase productivity and can help jump start your brain with new ideas and solutions. It’s also important for your overall health that you get up and move around. Health specialists recommend that you get up and move around for at least 5 minutes every hour.
6. Be Clear in Your Communication
If there is a misunderstanding in an email or an instant message, normally you can pop over to your colleague’s desk and clear it up within minutes. However, working from home doesn’t offer that convenience, so it is critical that you clearly communicate with your coworkers on what you all need. Don’t be afraid to ask for some extra clarification while you’re away from the office. If email or messaging isn’t cutting it, try a quick phone call or screen share to try and solve the problem. Remember, your coworkers are in the same situation as you.
7. Use a Time Management App
Need a little help to stay organized and on task? There’s an app for that. Time management apps are a great way to manage productivity and stay on task. With plenty of options out there you can easily find one that suits your needs. Wonder how much time you actually spend checking email? Apps like RescueTime give you a snapshot of your day by tracking the time you spend on tasks like pulling reports, meetings, or endlessly scrolling through Facebook. Find yourself picking up your phone a little too often? The Forest app turns leaving your phone alone into a game by growing virtual plants. The longer you leave your phone alone, the bigger they’ll get. If you give into temptation, the plants will wither and die.
Whether you are enjoying working from home or struggling a bit, these tips will help you get on track to a productive workday from the comfort of your own home.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Cory Olesen
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