Posted: 25 Mar 2020 Contributor: Matthew J Fritschle
How People Can Manage To Work From Home Effectively and Happily
Over the past few years, due to rapid advancements in technology, the ability for people to work from home or remotely has become increasingly easy. Nowadays, the majority of people when looking for a job will want to see the prospective company offer some level of flexibility in regards to working and if you don’t, it will only make them think twice about joining your ranks. According to recent studies, 40% of all organizations offer some level of flexible working to their staff, something that is only set to rise in the coming years as more and more employees begin to demand it as a standard practice.
However, due to the current and immediate impact of the Coronavirus, the majority of offices and workplaces will be closing, as well as certain parts of the world being put on lockdown, working from home or remotely now has a very important role to play across the globe. Now, more than ever before, working from home effectively has a greater importance as the COVID-19 outbreak makes it increasingly dangerous for workers to both commute to work and be in close proximity to others in an office environment.
How New Technology Has Enabled Companies to Offer Employees Flexibility
New technology has enabled companies to offer employees this flexibility and that means that even in the midst of a global crisis, businesses can carry on productively with limited impact in a secure and collaborative way. These new technologies include improvements to video conferencing meaning meetings can take place seamlessly, WiFi being found in almost every part of the world so workers can do their job no matter where they are and new forms of instant messaging services allowing communications between employees can happen as quickly as if they were in the same room with one another.
With technology continually advancing and only set to improve in the coming years, there are no good reasons why companies should not be offering some level of flexible working schemes to their employees.
10 Tips for Working From Home Effectively
However, working from home does require a slightly different approach to being productive when compared to coming into the office every day. It can be a difficult thing to adjust to, especially if it is something that you're not used to doing regularly. With this in mind, here are 10 tips to follow if you want to stay productive while working from home in the future:
1. Keep a Regular Schedule
It can be easy to get distracted when working from home. Setting a schedule is a great way to combat this issue. It provides structure to your day and will also help you stay motivated. Treat it as if you were going into the office just like every other day, get up early, get dressed, and avoid online distractions once you sit down to work. Make a schedule and stick to it.
2. Set Boundaries
The lines between your working life and your home life can easily blur when working remotely. Keeping the two separate is paramount in order to be productive. One way to do that is to set aside a separate space in your home specifically for you to work. This doesn’t mean having to turn an entire room into a personal office, just one specific corner or desk can be designated as your work environment. When only used for these purposes, it makes it a whole lot easier to get into a working mindset.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Some people may feel the need to work at an increased pace compared to normal in order to prove that you are being productive at home. This is admirable but it can also be damaging and quickly lead to burnout. The brain is like any other muscle, it needs to rest. So schedule breaks into your day where you can decompress, stretch, get some exercise and come back energized to keep on working.
4. Be Connected
Staying connected and having clear channels of communication available to use are key to ensure you stay in the loop. This can be with messaging apps like Slack or just emailing one another, but staying in constant communication with your colleagues will mean that nothing slips through the cracks when working remotely. Don’t isolate yourself from the working world around you.
5. Work Clothes
It might be tempting to just stay in your PJs all day, but doing so can have a drastic impact on your overall productivity. By going through the regular routine of showering, brushing your teeth, grabbing breakfast and, yes, dressing for work the way you normally would can help engage your brain into getting ready to work as if everything was the same as usual. Staying in sweatpants all day may be more comfortable, but it can lead you to feeling sluggish, unmotivated and, ultimately, unproductive.
6. Keep Things Clean
Keeping your home office clean helps you stay focused, remain organized, and be productive. Even if you’re someone who isn’t bothered by a messy desk, keeping some semblance of order helps you work more effectively. As previously mentioned, being generally messy where you work can mean you’re more inclined to slack off or procrastinate for extended periods of time.
7. Use Time Management Apps
If you struggle with staying on task while working from home, then you may need to kick things up a notch and use a time management app. For example, some productivity apps will track the amount of time you spend on each task and even minimize distractions. Apps like Forest, Toggle or Harvest are all great ways to ensure productivity and avoid distractions.
8. Get a Good Pair of Headphones
You’ll want to invest in a quality pair of headphones with a good microphone and noise-cancelling capabilities. This can really help improve the clarity of your video calls which you will undoubtedly be having more of. Noise-cancelling will help you stay focused if there are distractions going on around you and good headphones will generally make flexible working a whole lot easier for everyone.
9. Take Advantage of the Situation
One advantage to working from home is that you can freely listen to what you want without the fear of annoying your coworkers. If you have a pump up playlist that motivates you, put it on. If you prefer soothing sounds or calming music to help you work, listen to it carefree. If you want an audiobook, podcast or motivational speeches to keep you going, go for it. If it helps you work better, do it.
10. Celebrate Your Wins
A smart and simple way to maintain momentum is to take a moment or two throughout the day to pause and take stock of what you have accomplished that day instead of focusing on what still needs to be done. These little reminders will help you stay positive and energized to come back tomorrow and do the same
Currently, we are living in unprecedented times. It’s important that we all take the time to ensure that we are able to keep working and living in a healthy and safe manner. Remember to check in with your colleagues and clients regularly, especially if they are in areas that are being badly affected by the Coronavirus. Be patient with people who may not have responded to your email or message immediately and make sure that everyone at your workplace is well aware of how to create as safe a space as possible so that we can all get through this together and come out from it stronger and more united than we were before. Stay safe out there and if you need extra help or support, don’t be afraid to ask for it.