Under lockdown, working from home has become the new normal for many people. And while some find they can adapt quickly to this way of working; others struggle to remain as productive as they were when they were at the office. Here we supply nine great tips for staying productive when working within the confines of your home.
1. Recognize your distractions
There is no doubt that one of the major challenges when working from home comes is minimizing distractions. Your home is where you relax and enjoy yourself – and so it is natural that it is filled with things that you would probably rather do than work. Whether it is spending time with family, watching TV, or reading there is an awful lot to take you away from productivity.
Of course, the home can also hold a number of less pleasant distractions such as noisy neighbors or chores that need doing. In any case, it is up to you to recognize what is causing distractions while you work, and find a way to overcome these issues. This allows you to take action and make changes that allow you to be more productive.
2. Make a home and work distinction
It is important to draw a distinction between your work time and your home time. If you are used to working in an office environment it can be difficult making this transition. There can be a tendency to simply sit in bed with your laptop and try to get on with work as if it is the same thing as casually browsing the internet or checking social media.
It is actually much better to set up a separate space where you carry out your work day. Ideally in a room where you can close the door, and be away from the things that distract you (as mentioned above).
3. Utilize collaboration tools
Working from home has become much easier in recent years thanks to the rise of high-quality collaboration tools. These tools include everything from simple and reliable video conferencing software to project management systems such as ClickUp and messaging apps. You might be surprised just how much you take interaction with colleagues for granted.
Using collaborative tools helps to maintain channels of communication with other members of staff and simplifies your working day.
4. Use a VPN
One of the major challenges when working from home for the first time is in getting access to the data and systems that you need to do your job. One of the best ways to overcome this is by using a VPN – or virtual private network.
A VPN allows you to connect remotely to your company’s network so that you can connect to the systems and data you need. Unsurprisingly, searches for VPN have spiked recently showing that this is a control that many remote workers are turning to at this time.
5. Take regular breaks
At work, there are often reminders that you should take breaks, but when working remotely these are not always in place. It can be common for people to think that in order to be productive they must spend all the hours of the day sitting at their computer trying to get their work done. In fact, regular breaks are essential for good productivity.
A recent study proclaimed the ideal working schedule would be periods of 52 minutes of work, followed by a 17-minute break.
6. Be social with your team
It is important that home workers should remain sociable with other members of their team. Once again, if you are used to working in an office, you will be used to a lot of social interaction while at work – even if you don’t realize it. Every time you chat with colleagues while making a round of teas and coffees, you are socializing.
Even team meetings can provide a lot of casual interaction – and this sort of rapport building can help create a strong bond and a lively working atmosphere. This is something that you should try to continue whilst working from home. Having ‘virtual lunches’ and just meeting up for a daily chat with the team can work wonders.
7. Plan your day
One of the issues of working from home is that days can feel like they lack structure. Home working allows you to have a more flexible approach to getting work done, and this can yield many positives, but it can also leave you wasting time unnecessarily.
To get around this you should ensure that your days are properly planned out. You don’t need to have an extremely strict schedule, but understand what you need to have accomplished by the end of the day. This can really help you to stay on top of things, especially if your working pattern is a little irregular.
8. Limit social media
Many of us love to spend time on social media – and for many, this can actually be a part of the working day. However, no matter who you are or what you do, you need to ensure that you limit your personal social media time while at work. Being connected all day every day can lead to losing hours of your time.
9. Incentivize yourself
You should expect yourself to be able to work constantly without a reward. So, when you work at home you should create little incentives for you to continue working at an optimal rate. This could be setting specific times for your breaks, or giving yourself that time to watch an episode of your favorite show in the middle of the day.
Productivity can be affected by many different issues. Some people find that working at home gives them the chance to prioritize work in their most productive hours. Others struggle to manage a work-life balance, which can throw out their productivity. It may be a process of trial and error – see what works best for you.