5 Tips for Staying Productive When Working from Home : With the growing popularity of remote work, fuelled by the latest progress in technology as well as the COVID pandemic, the number of people working from home seems to be increasing on a daily basis.
The advantages of working remotely are obvious – you do not waste any time and money on the commute, you get to make money from the comfort of your own home, your schedule becomes more flexible, you can alternate between work and house chores, you waste less time on small talk, in some cases you don’t even need to change clothes.
However, as with all things in life, there is always a downside. Recent studies show that working from home brings a whole new set of challenges to the table. It is harder for employees to keep the same schedule and to synchronize their operations. The teamwork spirit seems to fade when people aren’t working side by side. The line between professional activity and household routine tends to get more blurred.
Attention deficit disorder has become more commonplace. In all, experts seem to agree that working from home is not the “cure-all elixir” we all hoped it would be, but rather an alternative to traditional office work, which needs to be explored and included in the process, albeit in a hybrid manner.
So how does one tackle the challenges related to working from home? How does one stay productive and efficient? Here are five useful tips to get you on the right track:
Create a work schedule
To a certain degree, work always interferes and sometimes even overlaps with your home and family routines, but even more so when you work at your own house. One of the biggest issues with work from home, is that there is no clarity of when it should begin and end. Your children, your partner and even your pet will seek your attention much more often than you were used to when working at a regular job. Even if you live alone, you will discover that you get distracted more easily when working at home – whether you start doing house chores or simply decide to pour yourself a glass of wine in the middle of the day.
Regardless of your exact situation, you need to set some temporal boundaries related to your work, for yourself as well as the other members of your household. Set up a daily work schedule and adhere to it religiously – you are not to be disturbed during these hours, except for emergencies, and you must commit to focus exclusively on your work tasks during this time. This needs to be done from the very beginning.
Define a workspace for yourself
Another issue that needs to be addressed early on, is designating a workspace. Much like time boundaries, you need space boundaries as well. One cannot stress enough just how important this is for your productivity.
Find a room (or a corner) in your house where you feel comfortable working. Ideally, this space needs to be separated from the rest of the house, if at all possible. Make sure that the space you choose gets sufficient natural light and that is has all the necessary equipment and amenities – desk, chair, power outlets, internet access etc. Communicate to other members of your household that this is your office at home and is not to be accessed by them during work hours.
Eliminate any distractions.
Once you have determined your designated workspace, clear it of any deterrents and distractions. This includes anything that might cause you to lose focus during work – pictures, posters, books, TVs, music, phones etc. No one knows you better than yourself, so you know exactly what may distract you from your activities. The general idea is to clear the space as much as possible and leave only work-related stuff, such as a laptop, printer, documents and whatever else you might need to perform your job properly.
Create to-do lists.
Most people who are working from home have discovered that it is generally harder to keep yourself organized and have a productive time management routine. Fortunately, there are many tricks and tools that can help you do just that.
The simplest, most basic way to go about it, is to keep to-do lists or task lists. This can be done in any way you like, from sticky notes, to journals, to your Notes app or some similar software. However, if you aim for increased efficiency, you need to assign priorities and deadlines to each separate task and centralize them all in a single, comprehensive system.
The best way to do this, is to use project management techniques and software. It need not be complicated – you can start with a simple Gantt chart in Excel, and then move on from there when you need to (or feel like it).
Invest in your devices and internet speed.
This one is almost self-explanatory. You cannot be efficient if your internet connection is lagging, or your device is not performing well. Investment in your work tools and instruments, which is exactly what they are, is always worthwhile. Set aside a budget for a high-performance laptop, phone, tablet, or whatever device you may need for your work. This includes a budget for professional software as well. Upgrade your internet subscription to the best package available – you will not regret this in the future.
All things considered, work from home certainly has its appeal, even with all the obstacles and complications that may rise along the way. If you manage to heed this advice and turn it into action, you will transform your remote work experience into something truly productive and make work from home successful. Good luck!
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