Remote working where you work from home is now the new normal as more employers embrace this future of work.
Employees no longer have to commute to office with this work arrangement. Instead, they simply work in the comfort of their homes.
There are pros and cons such as flexible schedule, more time with your family, difficulty in collaborating with your team and staying motivated.
Today, we’ll look at some tips on how to stay productive while working from home.
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Self-discipline is crucial for remote working. You need to ensure that you’re actually working.
There won’t be anyone watching you or checking that you’re doing your work. You need to be diligent and stay focused on your tasks. This workplace discipline might come naturally for some people. But it might take effort and practice for others.
This could mean setting an alarm to wake up early and making sure that you really get out of bed, taking a shower in the morning to feel energized and refreshed, having a work schedule or prioritizing tasks.
Routine is key as shown in the examples. However, since no one will be imposing a routine for you, you’ll need to set a routine yourself. A routine that you’re comfortable with. A routine that will get the job done.
Have A Dedicated Workspace
Since home is a cozy and comfortable place, the environment will naturally make you want to rest and relax.
Having a dedicated workspace will get you in the mood of working. This home office will mark a separate space that you can associate with work and dissociate from the rest of your home.
In addition to helping you mentally separate work from home, sitting at your desk can act as a habit cue that triggers you to shift into work mode and thus, building a good work habit. And this begins with the simple step of working here every day.
Here are some home office essentials and ideas
- Comfortable chair: You’ll be working for hours so ensure that your chair is comfortable and supports your back. You can even consider getting an ergonomic chair.
- Organized System or Storage: A file cabinet, desk drawer, bookshelf or even cloud storage will ensure that you don’t misplace important documents.
- Calendar: Note down your meetings and deadlines with a physical or digital calendar.
- Notepad & Pens: Jot down your thoughts and tasks quickly so you don’t miss a thing.
- Lighting: Ensure that your workspace has adequate lighting or sit near a window to let natural light in.
- Plant: Give your eyes a break! Plants can help reduce computer eye strain, purify the air and make your workspace more peaceful. Greenery has calming effects on your mood and stress levels.
- Inspiring or Calming Decoration: Add a vision board of your favorite quote to motivate you. Or hang a painting on the wall to soothe you.
- Strong Internet Connection: This is the key to working from home successfully where you can download files and load pages faster.
- Clutter-Free, Minimalist & Functional: Keep your workspace clean and organized so you can easily find what you need and focus on your tasks. Prioritize for necessities first. Your workspace should also be practical and encourages productivity.
Get Dressed For Work
Getting dressed mentally prepares you for work.
If you work in your pajamas, it’ll make you feel sleepy. On the other hand, getting dressed will help you feel refreshed. This also prepares you for a day of productive work.
Wearing work clothes will ensure that you’re presentable and ready to meet clients, teammates or even friends whom you’re lunching with. In today’s digital world, it’s likely that there are ad hoc meetings where you may be requested to join video conferences. Being properly dressed will save you the hassle of rushing to get ready during such last-minute video calls or impromptu meetings.
Comfort is key when choosing what clothes to wear. If you’re comfortable and happy at work, you’ll be more productive.
Working from home can be challenging due to the numerous distractions
- Friends & Family (especially if you have children)
- Household Chores
- Social Media
- Internet Surfing
You can consider setting guidelines for yourself and your cohabitants. Think of a way to let people know that you can’t be interrupted. For example, I close my door during meetings and let my family know that I can’t be disturbed. Or you could wear headphones to signal to your roommates that you’re unavailable.
Most importantly, try to get your family to respect your space during work hours.
Another solution is simply getting rid of these distractions. If phone notifications are distracting you from your tasks, you can put it on vibrate or silent mode.
Communicate Effectively With Remote Teams
Remote working is different from face-to-face interaction. You can’t walk over to your colleagues and ask them something or discuss face-to-face about a certain project.
However, you can use digital tools to replicate the in-person office experience. Precisely because you’re working from home, there is a greater need to overcommunicate so the team knows what’s going on.
In addition to emails, chats and project management software like Asana, you can have video conferences with Zoom or Google Meet. This will allow you to pick up visual cues such as facial expressions and vocal tones that are necessary to determine if everyone is on the right page.
Try to have more than one channel for communication. Also, ensure that your technology and infrastructure support remote working. For instance, I had to download Zoom on my work laptop and create an account.
Adhere To Your Working Hours
Remote working has blurred the boundaries between personal and professional life where people are working from home indefinitely.
This work-life blur which extends work beyond office hours has led to burnout and exhaustion. This negatively affects your employees’ health, productivity and happiness at work.
I’ve experienced this firsthand where I worked until 2am. The client had an urgent event and there were quite a lot of tasks to be done. After raising this to my team, we decided to delegate some tasks to other colleagues. I’m really happy to have teammates whom I can trust.
Besides raising the issue and solving this together with your team, you’ll also need to learn to let go. Initially, my mindset was to complete tasks as soon as possible. I didn’t like to keep others waiting and I wanted to clear my to-do list before more work comes in. But now, I learned to pace myself. As long as I finish the task before the deadline, it’s okay.
Therefore, it’s vital that you’re clear about your working hours and stick to them. Flag out to your team if you’re feeling burned out and stop it before it overtakes your life.
Bonus Tip: Achieve Work-Life Balance
Working from home gives you flexibility and freedom, especially if you’re an entrepreneur who sets your own working hours. If you’re working for your company remotely, you’ll have to abide by the company’s rules and policies.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or employee, you need to work and play equally hard. You shouldn’t be leaning to one side.
On top of the remote work schedule with clear start and end time, another way to maintain work-life balance is by scheduling breaks. Sometimes, people move from task to task when they work from home and forget to take breaks. Imagine that you have non-stop meetings for hours. In such a scenario, you won’t be able to digest the information for all these meetings.
Give yourself a little space for your brain to work optimally. For instance, a ten-minute break after a meeting will give you time to reflect and digest the information. These breaks are thus essential to increase productivity.
Do make sure that you take a lunch break. Block out that hour if you need to. You could consider stepping out for lunch or at least, head to the dining room (rather than eating at your desk).
Also, remember to shut down your laptop. This will mark the end of the day and help switch off work mode.
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you implemented any of these tactics? Did it work? How was your experience?
Do you have any other tips to stay productive while working from home?