The term ‘Work from Home’ has caught everyone’s attention during recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has compelled the majority of the world’s population to stay at home. The trend of working in the comfort of one’s own home has been existing since centuries.
But as everyone has their own preferences, the global workforce is divided into two groups – one that attends the workplace and another that performs job duties remotely. However, in response to the current situation, employees across industries and countries have adapted to the style of telecommuting.
While some may be experts at exhibiting efficiency in a work from home arrangement, others may find themselves coping with the challenge of completing tasks within a deadline. Well, contrary to popular belief, working from home is not a cakewalk.
Stay Productive While Working from Home with these Tips
Irrespective of their job role, company, or field, employees who work from home battle to stay productive most of the time. Along with the pros, such as saving of time spent in commuting, remote workers also have to encounter cons, such as a lack of communication.
So, you need to put some effort into figuring out the right practices for building a successful career. But don’t worry as you are not alone in this! We have prepared a list of clever tips that you can follow for achieving productivity while working from home.
[While we have written this article in consideration of the present scenario, the tips mentioned here are ever-green.]
- Decide a Space
Having a dedicated place for every activity is essential to develop a sense of responsibility and maintain consistency. Just like employees working in an office have separate cubicles or cabins, employees working from home should also have proper desks or workstations
Many remote workers build a study room or a home office where they keep their computer, stationery, and other items. But others switch between different places, for example, bed, sofa, kitchen countertop, and dining table. While teleworking implies working without restrictions, the absence of a dedicated space can affect your productivity badly.
You must find a space in your home for carrying out your job-related tasks. If you are comfortable working on a kitchen countertop or a dining table, you can make it your workplace. You can even opt to work in an outdoor entertainment area like a patio or a gazebo. A basement can also be converted into a home office.
Remember to steer clear of places, such as bed and sofa as they can make you feel lazy or sleepy. Using your bedroom as a workplace will ruin the quality of not only your work but also your sleep. If you have a spare room, you can use it as a home office.
However, if a bedroom or a sofa is the only option available to you for completing your work, you should keep separate bedsheets or sofa covers for day and night. Sitting at one place continually troubles many people. If you are one of them, pick two or more places for working in your home.
- Create an Environment
The fact that our surroundings have an impact on our behavior holds true in every situation. Even if you are feeling low or agitated on any day, visiting the office can change your mood to a great extent. You will get inspired by witnessing the enthusiasm of your colleagues for their job.
But, while working from your home, you cannot experience this pleasure. So, you need to create an environment that resembles the environment usually present in an office. You need to practice self-motivation for showing commitment and persistence toward your work.
Once you decide a space for performing your job duties, make appropriate changes for making it suitable and comfortable for you. Build an ambiance that can give off the vibes of a workplace so that you concentrate on your work easily.
Put items related to your job on your desk, for example, writers can keep dictionaries and magazines. Make sure that the lighting is perfect. Keep a water bottle and a thermal coffee carafe near you for avoiding inconvenience. You can decorate your workplace with flowerpots, table lamps, pen stands, and so on.
- Prepare Yourself
Remember this golden phrase ‘Ready, get set, go’ but exclude the word ‘go’ as you don’t need to step out of the house. Beginning to work immediately after waking up, while still being in your nightwear, can harm your efficiency and judgment.
Even though you are working for home, you need to keep a professional attitude, which is not possible without having a proper routine. Wake up and get ready in the same way you would have done if you were going to an office. Take a hot bath or a cold shower.
Wear formal clothes and drink a beverage of your choice before turning on your desktop or laptop. Sit in a posture that helps you stay focused and does not cause strain on any of your body parts. You can get a new chair, a seat cushion, a back cushion, and an armrest pad.
- Draw up a Schedule
Flexibility in terms of work timings and work hours is one of the biggest perks of telecommuting, but working without a schedule can lead to unintentional wastage of time. So, you must make a schedule every night for the next day or once in a week for the upcoming week. You can use a paper diary, a digital diary, or a mobile application.
Include the tasks related to your personal and professional life in your schedule. A well-structured schedule can give you a clear idea of all the tasks that you need to complete in a day or during a week. Keeping a detailed schedule and adhering to it will also help you in tracking the time spent on different activities.
You can also monitor your productivity and analyze your progress in achieving your goals. Having a schedule can enable you to prioritize your tasks and finish your to-do-list. You should inform your colleagues and supervisor about the hours you would be available so that no one disturbs you during non-working hours.
Leaving room for flexibility is a wise step, but it should not hamper your personal life or make you feel burdened with work. You can be flexible about the number of work hours when the situation demands, for example, when you have to deliver the project on an urgent basis.
- Maintain Focus
Telecommuters can tend to lose focus or take work less seriously due to not being under continuous supervision. You need to give focused attention to duties assigned to you and show sincerity toward your job for earning the respect of your colleagues and managers.
You should avoid all forms of distractions, namely, television, Netflix, YouTube, online games, and so on. You need to develop an appropriate mindset for behaving in an utmost professional manner even if you are not working on your employer’s premises.
As pointed out in the previous tip, i.e., making a schedule, set up a time for doing your household chores so that dirty windows or curtains don’t demand your attention. If you want to work in the kitchen or dining area, clean it properly before starting your work.
Getting distracted by your children playing around you or some guests who visit you without informing in advance is understandable. But you cannot use these reasons as an excuse for not completing your job on time. So, the key is to make your family and friends aware of your working from home arrangement.
- Take a Break
Working constantly can make you feel not only bored but also exhausted. Taking breaks at regular intervals is necessary for feeling refreshed. You will be able to feel a surge of motivation and creativity after returning from a break.
If your job requires you to come up with creative, original, or innovative ideas, then short breaks become highly important for you. Your breaks can last anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes that are used for relaxation or doing anything else other than work.
You should stay away from all tech devices and gadgets during breaks. You can spend your break time in your home or outside your home. You can choose to stand in your balcony or visit your nearby park for observing nature. Watering the plants, listening to music, reading a book, and taking a brisk walk are some of the activities that you can do during your break time.
Many telecommuters face the risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness resulting from not working with a team or a group. Staying or working alone for a long period of time can have adverse effects on your physical and mental health.
You should interact with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and others regularly for satisfying your urge to socialize. You can communicate with your team members by using chat or video call applications. Along with discussing work-related issues, exchange pleasantries with them.
If you want, you can make a surprise visit to your office once in a month or as your schedule permits, if it’s located in your city. You can utilize your breaks for talking to someone from your personal or professional circle to break the monotonous routine.
Working from home has both advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific job role & responsibilities, organization, and industry. So, you need to act prudently and strike a balance between personal and professional life. If you have never telecommuted before, you might feel nervous or confused. But you must seek the help of your supervisor or manager for making the transition as smooth as possible.