Working From Home? Here’s What You Need to Know
Working from home is a new reality for many of us and establishing a routine that works is more important than ever. Here are some essential tips to make working from home a productive and enjoyable experience for you and those around you.
Build a Fresh Workspace Set Up
For starters, it’s essential to set up your workplace in an environment that benefits you. If you set yourself up in a sloppy area, odds are your work will come out sloppy because of distractions. Setting yourself up in a messy area will clutter your mind (and nobody wants sloppy work!) We want to get our work completed to the best of our abilities, and if you set yourself up in a fresh and clean area, it will impact your work positively. Be sure to set up in a quiet space so you can focus on the upcoming tasks coming your way.
You can set up in an empty or spare bedroom that you can convert to a home office. However, if you are pressed for space, you can set up a desk for your computer and office supplies in a corner or off to the side in a quiet area. The most important thing is to establish the area of your home where you will work. Since you are committing to working in this space every day, make sure you set it up right the first time – it will only benefit you in the long run.
Make your Workspace YOU
It’s the little things that count in life, and the little things you add to your desk area may make a more significant impact on your work and your work ethic then you realize. We all have different working styles and preferences. So, if you’re someone who likes to have little trinkets and gadgets hanging around, consider setting your desk up to meet your style, whether it be adding a diffuser, pictures of things that make you happy, or a small plant to spruce things up. Or on the other side of the spectrum, you could be someone who likes next to nothing on your desk, fuelling that minimalistic lifestyle. These little personal touches can significantly impact your overall mood, resulting in quality work. Remember, the point is that you will be working in this space every day- happiness is critical!
Set those Work Hours in Stone
Your office set-up is well underway, or completed, so it’s time to get down to business. It’s a huge commitment to be working from home every day, and this could be a massive adjustment if it’s something you’re not used to. An easy way to avoid falling off the tracks is to set specific business or work hours. This way, you keep yourself accountable, and there’s no room for slacking.
The remarkable thing about working from home is there can be a tad more flexibility when it comes to setting your work hours (this is subject to certain businesses and operations. So, we apologize if you need to stick to the 9-5). For those who have the luxury of choosing when you can work, pick your hours around times that you’re most productive. For example, if you are most productive in the afternoon after you’ve had a couple of coffees and a healthy breakfast, adjust your hours to fit that timeline. Use deep focus to zoom through your tasks and enforce a hard limit at the end of the day to avoid working non-stop.
Regardless of your schedule, be sure to establish those set work hours to hold yourself accountable to each day. Communicate your work schedule to co-workers, team members, and your boss so you can all be on the same page and communication is smooth.
To-Do Lists = Life Savers
Since you are working from home, you may not necessarily have the accountability you would if you were working in the office. Depending on who you are, it can be challenging to keep track of what you have to do throughout your day. It’s easy to lose sight of what tasks are at hand and what takes priority. A healthy way to start your workday is to get your many to-dos in sight. Review your priorities for the day, and when you create your tasks list, stick to it. Do whatever you need to do to stick to it. Set reminders in your phone, write sticky notes, set alarms. It’s unfortunately tempting to dive right into your email (this can be a great way to get your mind distracted and lose focus of what needs to get done), but with a little extra attention, you can cross those items off your list fast while working from home.
A great practice to stay accountable is to set goals and time limits for each task. After completing each task, cross it off the list, then do a little “go-me” celebration! This simple task is motivating, fulfilling, and useful.
DON’T Work in Your PJs
Although this is a common temptation when working from home, don’t cave and work in your pjs as it can kill productivity. Getting ready for work psychologically gets you in the right mindset to produce work. You’ll also be prepared to handle any kind of video check-in with team members. You will be mentally and physically ready for the day and, overall, way more productive. Let’s leave the loungewear for relaxing!
Take Short Breaks
Research has shown that taking shorter breaks can increase your productivity and creativity levels. It is essential to set aside a few 5-minute breaks throughout the day to maximize overall productivity. Some think that working from home provides the opportunity to get more done because there will be fewer distractions. However, that’s not the case. Over-working and over-committing actually kills productivity. You can easily avoid this by working short, 5-minute breaks into your schedule. If you don’t establish a healthy work-life balance, you will burn out.
Fresh Air – A MUST
Many of us forget there’s an outside world out there! Although you are spending more time indoors, ensure you set the time aside to get some fresh air before or after work hours. Open windows let the sun in and take some time throughout the day to enjoy what mother nature has to offer! Vitamin D boosts creativity and productivity, so it will work out in your favour if you take those few minutes each day to step outside.
Time Management Apps
Some of us struggle to stay on task while working from home. The many distractions that our homes have to offer can often be challenging to avoid. You may need to keep yourself accountable and step it up a notch with a time management app. They can be great tools, and there are many to choose from. Here is an excellent blog by Hubspot.com on the 16 Time Management Apps That Will Make You More Productive.
It takes time to settle into a new routine, but working from home can be as, or even more productive, as working from the office. Follow these tips and you’re well on your way to managing your professional life inside your personal home.