Coronavirus has redressed the world of employment and has likely changed how and where we work forever. As home-working becomes more the norm and less the exception, employees are having to find ways to maintain productivity without the strict discipline of an office environment. So in regard to that, here are eight ways to improve your productivity while working from home.
1. Structure your day and define work hours
When we work in an office, we have structure. In a home-office environment, by definition, there is no structure. You are your own boss – and that takes discipline. Adding a plan and structure to your day can be a great way to keep your mind focused.
2. Pretend like you’re going to the office – and, yes, get dressed!
The formalities of getting washed, dressed, and ready for work are good for getting your mind in tune for the day ahead. Working from home should be no different. If you’re going to perform at your best, you need to be alert.
3. Define a workspace – and make it comfortable
Having a defined workspace is essential if you’re to make a success of working from home. You need to be able to draw physical divisions between what’s considered ‘home’ space and ‘work’ space. Ideally, set up a desk in a different, quiet part of the house where you’re least likely to get distracted.
4. Use technology to stay connected and work on team tasks
The vast majority of jobs involve at least some integration with other staff members or departments – particularly when you’re working as a team on tasks. Your employer should have already invested in technologies to make this possible but, if they haven’t, talk to them about installing a Zero Trust network to allow you to work productively in the cloud.
5. Take regular breaks
Breaks are good for you – both physically and mentally. Indeed, if you sit at a desk, you should take a one-minute break per hour to stand and stretch. Check your clock frequently and take regular breaks. Also, make sure you stop for lunch – and take 15 minutes to yourself every couple of hours.
6. Minimize distractions
Social media, TV, errant websites, etc. – they’re all such easy distractions. Before you know it, boom, three hours of your day have gone already. Be aware of how much time you spend on websites and social media and limit it accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it in the office, you probably shouldn’t be doing it at home either.
7. Work during your most productive hours
People are all different. Some of us wake, bright as a button but tire as the day goes on. Others find their productivity levels soar at night. The point is, look at your work patterns and identify the hours of the day that work best for you.
8. Use a stopwatch
In any project, it’s easy to get overly-obsessed with details or spend too long making things ‘just right’. This is especially a problem working from home where you don’t have a boss over your shoulder – or other workers directly expecting things from you. The discipline of a stopwatch will prevent you agonizing over things and keep you focused on getting the job done.