Hello hello! Hope everyone is staying healthy, both physically and mentally. Today I wanted to discuss some tips for working from home, because right now, most of us are working from home!
A big concern about working from home is productivity levels, that’s no secret. A lot of factors contribute to this concern, such as distractions, difficulty communicating with coworkers, IT concerns, time management and lack of accountability.
Luckily, these are all things that can be fixed. (Disclaimer: I know there are some jobs that you just may not be able to do from home, each job is different.)
Due to the current state of the country, and world, right now, I wanted to offer some tips for working from home that can help you with your productivity levels and help you get through these next few months.
Wake Up The Same Time You Normally Would
Since you’re working from home, you’re not getting up to drive anywhere during rush hour, which will immediately make you think of the extra sleep you are going to get. However, it is a good practice to wake up and get out of bed the same time you would as if you were headed into the office. (Anyone who knows me personally who reads this is going to tell me to take my own advice, which I truly know that I should.)
You may be thinking, “well what am I supposed to do with all that extra time before I have to begin working?” Well, just think of all the things you’ve always wanted to have time to do in the morning that you don’t normally. Maybe you want to get a quick workout in before work, maybe you want to make yourself a big breakfast, maybe you want to do some meditating before work, or maybe you want to get your kids set up to get their schoolwork done before you begin to work to avoid later distractions. There are a lot of things that you can accomplish in that chunk of time before you begin to work.
Set Up A Workspace That Is Quiet & (Almost) Free Of Distraction
If you are lucky enough to have a home office, that is awesome and your problem is solved! However, I know that not everyone is that lucky, so sometimes finding a workspace at home can be a bit difficult.
First things first, try to avoid working from the couch, and most definitely avoid working from bed. The couch offers a lot of distractions, such as the tv, or maybe it’s so comfy you begin to doze off for a nap. These are things you want to avoid.
If you can, find the quietest room in your house and set up a small table that will give you enough space to work. If this isn’t possible, clear off your kitchen or dining room table and designate an area for your work. (Be sure to clean up any food crumbs or spills first). If you are set up at your kitchen table, try popping on a pair of head phones to help you block out the chaos that may surround you.
Don’t Wear The Same Clothes You Slept In
So before anyone thinks that I am telling you to do something as awful as putting on jeans to sit around in, I’m not! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing some loungewear while you work. However, you shouldn’t wear the clothes that you slept in. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel ten times more productive and more HUMAN when I get up, change into different clothes and run a brush through my hair.
I know doing this can be difficult in the current state of affairs, but it’s better for both your productivity AND your mental health.
Set Up A Form Of Fast Communication With Coworkers
Normally, when an email just isn’t fast enough, you can get up from your desk and walk over to your coworkers’ desk. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury right now being as we are all home. That is why it is a good idea to set up some form of quick communication with coworkers. This communication can come in the form of a group text message, or one of many apps that allow you to communicate in an instant-message form, such as Slack!
The app store has tons of apps that have this type of feature!
Put Together A Timely Schedule & Hold Yourself To It
Putting together a schedule for your day will not only help with your time management, but it will also help you keep yourself accountable throughout the day. It’s easy for us to get distracted or for our minds to wander off as we work from home, believe me, this is coming from the person who can stare out the window at a dog for a good 30 minutes.
By putting together a schedule you’re telling yourself what to get done and when it needs to be done by. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I set deadlines for myself I get things DONE. So give yourself certain increments of time to work on different projects, take care of your email inbox, or take on any tasks that may get handed down to you.
And don’t forget to set aside time for lunch! Which brings me to my next tip…
Don’t Keep Taking Trips To The Fridge Or Pantry
Yes, I know, it is SO hard to ignore all those snacks that are calling your name from the kitchen throughout the day. All those snacks that you suddenly have access to when you don’t normally have access to them at the office. This can be HARD to ignore.
There are a few ways to avoid stuffing your face with snacks throughout the day. First, take those go-to snacks that you tend to go for, and put them in a place that you find inconvenient and difficult to get to. This will prevent you from walking back and forth to a place that has easy access to those cravings.
Another thing you can do is to meal prep. You know how you pack a lunch or some snacks for work each day? Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to stop doing that. When you prep food and snacks for your work day, you’re putting a limit on what it is you are eating throughout the day. So make those snacks last the whole day, just as you would in the office!
Talk With Your Family/Roommates About Distractions
We all know that distractions are a big concern when it comes to working from home, but it doesn’t have to be! If you live in a home with a lot of people, especially children, this can be a bit difficult, but in a time like this it is all about communication.
If you know you’re going to be working from home, and especially if you know you are going to be busy, sit your family, significant other, roommate, whoever it is you live with down and talk to them about the quiet time you need to work.
Your family or roommates don’t know what the typical workday for you is like, so it’s not fair to hold it against them if they distract you while you’re working. That’s why it is important to have a discussion with them about your job and that it is important from them to respect your workspace and your time during the day while you work.
Set Boundaries To Keep Work And Life Separate
Lastly, it can be difficult to walk away from your computer screen when it is time to be done work. There’s always going to be “just one more email” to read or “one more task” to complete, but unless it is absolutely urgent, it can wait until tomorrow.
It is easy to fall into a habit of working well past ‘closing time’ and into the night. This isn’t good for your mental health, and often times it can leave you feeling burnt out. So when it is time to be done for the day, be done. This is a tough time for everyone, so it is important to spend time with family during this time, because lets face it, they need you!
I hope these tips for working from home help you, if even just in the slightest, during this difficult time. If there is any other tips for working from home that you think should be shared, feel free to leave a comment and share them with everyone!