The last year has been a tough time for many, with Covid-19 resulting in a huge increase of remote work, with working from home being encouraged wherever possible. There are many positives to working from home, such as not having to commute, financial savings, an improved work-life balance and flexible working hours. Although working from home can improve employee productivity, it can also be challenging for a team to adjust to. This is because of the sudden change in the work environment, and greater access to distractions that were not available in the office prior to the pandemic. We are here to give you our top tips on how to stay productive while working from home.
Stick to a Schedule
One of our top tips for increased productivity while home working is to organise your time efficiently with a schedule. Creating and sticking to a schedule is the best way to get work done and will help you feel less inclined to stray from important tasks. Create a daily schedule that includes starting and finishing at the same time each day. To help you get into a routine outside of the office, you can use a planner to summarise how you want each day to look; this should be set out and personalised for you. Find out what works best for your work schedule and stick to it.
Create To-Do Lists
As part of your schedule, it is a great idea to create a to-do list for the next working day. This will mean that when you wake up you know immediately what you have to work on, rather than wasting time trying to figure out what needs to be done. Creating a to-do list helps to outline each task you need to finish within a certain time and will ensure that your projects are finished by their required deadline. You can form a to-do list in your notebook, or download apps on to your computer to help with keeping track of tasks and projects. Applications like Microsoft To-Do and Google Tasks, as well as websites such as Trello, will guarantee a boost in your productivity. There are also many applications that allow you to share your to-do lists and calendar with your employer and the rest of your team.
Another way to stay as productive as possible while working from home is to prioritise tasks once you have formed your to-do list. Figure out which tasks are more important or have approaching deadlines so that you can carry those out first. The best way to do this is by completing the most important tasks in the mornings while you are in your most productive state. Having tasks set out and organised means that they are fresh on your mind when you wake up in the morning. It is common for people to become tired and less focused after lunch so make sure your most important tasks are prioritised and completed in the mornings.
Stay Connected with Co-Workers
Working from the office means that you are constantly socialising and know what your co-workers are doing so that you can all collaborate and communicate efficiently. You are not able to socialise as much while you work from home unless you have frequent meetings and video calls. If you do not have regular zoom or Microsoft team meetings then it is a good idea to video call other workers in your office to stay in the loop and feel part of the team. Socialising with people from your office will also help with your well-being, as home working can feel lonely and disconnected at times. Other employees may feel the same as you so why not approach colleagues and find out if they want to keep regular contact too?
Focus on Your Well-being
As well as socialising with other employees outside of the office, it is key to make sure you take time for yourself and focus on your own well-being while working remotely. You should make sure you stop working at a certain time each day so that you keep a good work-life balance and don’t risk burning out. Another great way to improve your well-being while working from home is to get out on your lunch break for a walk, work occasionally from a coffee shop, or meet friends and family outdoors face to face, if the law allows it. Fresh air is amazing for our health and will help to boost your productivity. Home workouts have also risen in popularity this year and are a great way to remain healthy and fit, both physically and mentally, while working from home.
Communicate With Your Manager
It is essential to communicate your thoughts and feelings. If you feel like you are struggling or have too much work from home to handle then speaking to your manager can be a great solution. Your employer may be able to suggest some tips to better manage the work you are given or they may give you less work so that you can truly focus on your tasks without having to rush through them. Communicating with someone in charge can help manage expectations so that you feel less stressed and anxious. If you find it difficult to speak to someone in charge then why not discuss how you are feeling with a colleague? They may also be able to suggest some helpful tips to handle your work more efficiently.
Allocate a Specific Work Space
Allocating a specific workspace in your home is vital so that you can properly focus and also switch off when you need to, at the end of the day. If you work from different places in your home then it can be hard to switch off and relax outside of work, which is extremely important to regain your energy and improve your well-being. Find a specific work environment that you know will be comfortable and will allow you to work efficiently. This could be in your own home office space, a kitchen table, the living room or anywhere that allows you peace and quiet to work. You should also ensure that your work area is clean and tidy so that you can focus on your tasks without being surrounded by clutter, which can add unnecessary stress. Working in a specific space will also stop you from getting distracted by household chores and other things that need doing in your personal time. Find a clean and peaceful space to work every day to remain productive while working.
Get Dressed Properly Each Day
We know it can be so tempting to roll out of bed in your pyjamas and start working as soon as you wake up, but this is not a good way to stay productive! To help with staying productive, and in turn, help your mental health, you should make sure you get ready properly and dress as if you were going out to work. Your mind will notice the change in the outfit and go into work mode. Getting dressed properly when you are working remotely also helps you to wind down at the end of the day when you should change into something more casual to relax and rejuvenate.
Get Rid of Distractions
Another challenging aspect of working from home is having a range of distractions available to you throughout the day. This includes your TV, games console, and social media. In order to stay productive, you should try to eliminate anything that distracts you so that you can work on tasks without becoming preoccupied. A good way to do this is to turn off all devices but allocate time in your day, such as breaks or lunch to allow yourself a short amount of time on a device or activity. This will give you something to look forward to and keep you feeling positive. There are also a number of applications you can download on your browser or computer that will block certain websites for chosen hours. These applications are a great way to stop you from getting distracted as you know that you will not be able to access things such as social media anyway. You can then fully switch into work mode and look forward to the breaks ahead.
Drink Water and Eat Well
The best way to remain focused and productive while working remotely is to ensure you are eating well and drinking water regularly. You should try to eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast each morning to get your brain started; breakfast is scientifically proven to increase your focus so it is the perfect solution to boosting productivity at home. Make sure you also eat a healthy and filling lunch so that you do not find yourself reaching for the snack cupboard every hour, which will interrupt your work cycle. Drinking enough water will also stop you from getting headaches or feeling dehydrated; it will make you feel healthy and happy so that you can work efficiently on your tasks for the day.
Listen to the Right Kind of Music
Depending on the person, many people like to listen to music while they are working in the office as it can help block out any other distractions and keep you focused. However, many genres of music can actually deter you from being productive which is why you should make sure that you are listening to the right type of music. Classical music is one of the best genres to listen to while working as it can help you to concentrate and can invoke better memory, focus and relieve anxiety. Music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music also offer specific playlists for focus or concentration, which are ideal for home working.
Reach Out for Help Externally If You Need It
Remember that it is extremely important to take care of yourself during these difficult times, and it is completely normal to feel isolated and down while working from home sometimes. The added pressure of big projects or approaching deadlines can make you feel that your mental health is deteriorating and can sometimes affect your levels of anxiety in personal life. If you suffer from these feelings then make sure you speak to your doctor or a mental health consultant for advice outside of your work life. A professional will be able to give you their opinions and may provide you with career advice. Being open about what is on your mind can really help you to feel better and less anxious.
Working from home may become the new normal for some, but workplaces will ultimately have to decide whether home working has improved or decreased productivity for the firm. There are so many different ways to be productive and keep your mental well-being at a good level, so it is great to get started straight away with our tips. We hope that you are all coping well and take care of yourselves.