In these uncertain times, you may be wondering how to stay productive while working at home. With distractions abound (especially from the fridge somehow) you’ll need to equip yourself with some strategies to make work from home a breeze. If you’re already part of the work from home club – feel free to leave your best work from home strategies in the comments below. Below we’ve highlighted 6 of our favourite work from home strategies here at Not The Boss.
Shift your focus:
If you’re like me, someone who really enjoys the social interaction that comes from working in a team, and find yourself now having to rely on chat channels to convey messages and relay feedback you need to get your head in the game. Shift your focus. To try and get a sense of normalcy back to your everyday grind, make time to foster these interactions when you’re at home. A Skype call with your work-family may be just what you need or try “texting” via your company channels to check in how everyone is doing. An adjusted mindset can do wonders for your productivity.
- While you’re in self-isolation, it’s obviously not a great idea to meet up with friends or grab a coffee with co-workers. You can, however, create a similar experience through FaceTime, Whatsapp Video Calls or Skype and stay connected.
Try and keep to your usual routine:
It’s easy to fall into the trap of changing your way of working when you are working from home. Try and stick to your routine. If you usually do a certain task at a certain time, try and keep that flow going. My day usually starts with checking my emails after which I have a cup of tea and a catch up with other department heads. Having to work from home, we’ve replaced this with virtual check-ins where I can still plan out my day according to what is needed.
The same goes for taking breaks or lunch. My lunch routine is quite sporadic depending on what project I’m busy with, so I like to add it to my day when I do my task list for the day. This way I don’t get lost in my work and give myself a chance to grab something to eat and put my feet up.
- Set your alarm for when your workday should end. Often working in the same space as where you live can lead to excessive work or neverending workdays. Unless it’s super urgent, you should try and get some rest too.
- Plan tasks for the day. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of ticking things off your to-do list.
Don’t freak out when things go south:
Without your usual support at work, it may be hard to not freak out when something goes wrong (and let’s face it, it’s part of work-life). Remain calm and think about who you can talk to, to amend or tackle the problem. Often what seems to be a large issue can be an easy fix.
- Keep calm and carry on
Don’t work in your pj’s:
(I’m totally guilty of this one!)
While working in your pyjamas is extremely comfortable, it can create a sense of idleness as pyjamas give you a subconscious connection to sleep and relaxation. Think about it, when you want to feel confident you usually dress in something that makes you feel confident. No need to dress to the nines by any means, but try and at least wear something you’d feel comfortable being seen in.
Science has actually penned a term for how the clothes we wear can affect our behaviour, attitude, personality, mood and even how we interact with others. It’s called Enclothed Cognition. If you want to learn more about this fascinating topic, watch this video by YouAreNotSoSmart (don’t you just love this name) here.
- Get up, get dressed and get going.
Set up a workspace at home:
An organised workspace can boost your productivity as it puts you in the right mental state to work. This doesn’t mean you now need to equip your home with a fully functional office workspace but consider finding a quiet space from which to work from.
- Create a distraction-free zone in your home. This will help you focus on what you need to achieve throughout your day.
Communicate (and then some):
Communication is key when working from home. When you think you’ve communicated enough, communicate some more. Working remotely relies heavily on clear, direct communication. As conversations are mostly via calls it can be hard to gauge whether or not you are clearly conveying crucial messages.
- Have your team echo back to you what you have said. For example, when briefing a new project, have them relay back the next steps to you so you can ensure that they are fully aware of what is required.
Working from home can be challenging but also super rewarding. No need to waste time during your daily commute which means more time to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation. You may also find you get more done without the water-cooler talk and meetings-that-could-have-been-emails.
What are your work from home strategies to stay productive?