Undeniably, the pandemic revolutionized the corporate working environment. With traditional offices forced out of action, remote working became the new normal for most people. The work-from-home revolution has brought many benefits. Its flexibility allows you to set your own working conditions – your office environment, your start time, even the location that you work in!
However, this flexibility comes with its own challenges. Without a solid structure in place, working from home can really limit your motivation to work. It’s difficult to stay focused on your work as you sit face-to-face with the ever-piling household chores which need to be done. Equally, it’s tricky to get through the long hours of a working day in full knowledge that your bed is just a few steps away from your laptop…
Everybody faces unique struggles when working remotely. With this in mind, here are five tips to help you be more productive as you work from home:
Separate Your Workspace From The Home
While no remote worker misses the daily commute to the office, no one can deny it provides you with a clear transition between the beginning and ending of your day. When working in the comfort of your own home, it is easy for boundaries to blur. “Just one more email…” can quickly spiral into hours of overtime before you know it!
A great way to combat this is to create a distinct workspace in your home. Try and set up an office of your own – if you have the luxury of space in your home – or designate a particular corner of your house (whether it’s the desk in your bedroom or a corner of the dining room table) solely to your working life. If you have the money, you can also build a backyard studio in your garden.
Only enter this area during your working hours. Walking into this specific area at the beginning of every morning and leaving at the end of each working day will subconsciously create a real start and endpoint to your day – leaving you time to disconnect. Your mental health will benefit greatly from this distinction between work and play – and your commute will be the shortest it’s ever been!
Make The Most Of Your Mornings
Now that the time you used to spend commuting has been eliminated from your daily routine, you’ll find yourself with lots more free time! It’s tempting to spend that extra hour or two in bed, only rising at the very last minute – leaving just enough time to look vaguely respectable for the first of the morning’s Zoom Calls. Yet, when most of your day is spent working inside the walls of your own home, taking that hour for yourself would be far more beneficial.
Devote the time before work to bettering yourself. Whether you want to indulge in a luxurious business, want to start or make some progress on your side hustle or have always wanted to embark on a fitness journey but have just never had the time – this is the perfect opportunity. Take this extra time in the morning to focus on yourself and I guarantee that you’ll find it easier to focus on your tasks during the day!
Create A Plan For The Day
Without the structure of the office, it can be difficult to organize all your different tasks. Between endless Zoom Meetings and Teams Calls, it’s almost impossible to juggle all the different tasks you’re supposed to be working on.
At the start of every day, grab a pen and paper – a post-it note, a notebook or even a daily diary, if you’re more organizationally inclined – and note down three non-negotiable tasks. These are your three most important tasks of the day that must be finished by the close of play. Non-negotiables provide you with an arbitrary deadline, allowing you to focus your sole attention on them and get the job done!
Take Purposeful Breaks
The office is an environment rife with unintentional breaks. Catching-up with colleagues over the water cooler, slow strolls to the coffee refill station and clear-cut lunch breaks are all part and parcel of corporate life. Don’t forget to incorporate them into life working from home!
Breaks are essential to maintaining productive focus. If you feel like your focus is waning throughout the day, plan a short, twenty-minute break doing something that truly rejuvenates you. Mark yourself ‘busy’ on your platform, close down your emails and silence your phone. Whether it’s a quick stroll around the block, doing some light exercise or spending some uninterrupted time with your family, you’re guaranteed to feel more energized in the long run after taking a well-deserved break.
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Prioritize Work-Life Balance
At the end of the day, it can be hard to switch off from work. If you don’t have set working hours, it can be tempting to stay logged into your emails all evening, jumping into action as soon as you hear the chime of that dreaded notification bell.
Trying to stay on the job 24/7 is beneficial to no one. Without a clear separation between your work/life balance, you expect yourself to be partially focused on work at all times – this is not a healthy approach. Your focus is at its strongest in short, purposeful bursts, allowing you to truly set your mind to a task. Once you have created a distinct “office environment” in your home, as stated in the first tip, make sure you exit it at the end of each working day and leave the stresses of the corporate world firmly behind you. Commit to a consistent finish time each day if your job allows. Disconnect by leaving your home; whether it’s a short walk or a social catch-up with friends and family over dinner, leaving your work firmly behind you at the end of each day is a sure-fire way to ensure you are your most productive, focused self tomorrow.
As well as the tips above, make sure that you are working in a comfortable environment and getting a good ergonomic chair or stand up desk can be very beneficial. Challenging as it is, working from home provides a great flexibility – one that you should truly exploit in order to prioritise yourself, allowing you to be the most productive employee you can be!