COVID-19 has temporarily forced us to completely change the way we socialize and work.
Chances are, you’re probably reading this while working from home, and you’ve probably been working in that environment for a while now.
It can be tough, right? It isn’t all ‘get up when you want, wear what you like and be ‘ultra-productive’. Working from home is challenging – particularly when the world around you is so different and confusing.
The good news? You can make it work. We can make this work. Whether you’re at a point now where you’re working from home for the foreseeable future, or you’re in ‘hybrid’ mode, splitting your working hours between the office and home, there are some challenges that come with remaining productive at home.
The challenges of working from home
Some common challenges that working from home could bring up are:
- the distractions;
- the dangers of working for long stretches of time that go well beyond what most people would consider healthy;
- the dangers of not working enough;
- others in the household;
- pets; and
- the lack of separation between home and work life.
However, there are solutions for all of the above. While everyone ultimately will find their own winning formula, here are some tips that will help you create the productive working environment you’ve been trying to cultivate.
1. Create a separate working area
If you’ve recently begun working from home and you’ve made a makeshift workstation on your kitchen or dining room table, that could put you in a tough spot. Why? When you’ve finished your work for the day, you’re still in the kitchen.
This can make it incredibly difficult to switch off. If you have a separate working area, whether it’s a spare room, or just a quiet corner in your living room, you could physically ‘shut’ work away for the day when you’re done. This way, you could move away from your work station, as you would if you were at the office.
Granted, it could be difficult to completely separate your working area at home, but even if it’s just a drape or large piece of furniture, that may be enough.
2. Get dressed
Sure, you can sit in your sweats all day while working from home, but this could be detrimental to your state of mind.
Many people who have been working from home for a long time have discovered they’re far more productive if they approach it like a normal working day. That means ensuring you’re showered, dressed and ready to hit your to-do list.
3. Retain some order for your working hours and set goals
One of the best things about working from home is that you don’t have to be tied to specific working hours (unless your work, clients or boss require you to do so).
However, it’s important to retain some structure. And you can do this by:
- continuing to work set hours (either those set by your boss, or during which you’re most productive); and
- setting goals.
Those goals can be lofty or simple. For instance, by the time you reach lunch, promise yourself you’ll finish that accounting or sales report. By the end of the week, you’re absolutely going to finish that customer proposal.
Structure and goals are vital to retain high productivity levels at home.
4. Remove distractions (even if it involves deleting that Facebook app)
It’s true that there are just as many distractions in a ‘normal’ office as there are at home – if not more.
The difference is that the distractions at home can easily take you far from your working mindset. The TV, kids, your dog and that book you can’t put down are all vying for your attention.
The solution? Remove yourself from those distractions. If you’ve got a designated, separate working area, make sure there’s no TV in there, and kindly ask your family to respect your working time (put a sign on the door if need be!).
Social media is a great tool, but it can destroy work-from-home productivity levels. So, even if you need to delete your Facebook app from your phone, keep those feeds out of sight when you need to get stuff done.
This one is simple.
Make sure you take at least half an hour each day to exercise. Whether it’s walking the dog, a run around the block or a short yoga set, it’ll keep your body healthy and your mind fit (they both benefit equally when it comes to exercise).
If you’re an avid gym goer, but can’t make it for whatever reason, you can still find a half hour somewhere in the day to get the heart pumping. It makes such a difference.
As you work from home more regularly, you may find some additional things that help your productivity. Everyone ultimately finds their own ideal routine for remaining productive at home, but these should be a good start.
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