During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, several companies are suggesting – even requiring – that employees start working from home. Working at home isn’t easy, it’s full of distractions and loneliness. However, it doesn’t have to be. Many aren’t used to working from home, and this blog is very much geared towards their needs. Due to the lack of WFH experience, many don’t have an organized work station. After all, you’re in your personal space (the space you use to not think about work), not your professional environment. You might have a needy pet, or laundry that needs folding – your floors and dishes might be demanding some attention too. There may even be a series on Netflix you’ve been longing to binge. The distractions are piling up, and cabin fever is creeping in on you.
Working from home takes some getting used to, there are new challenges that need to be conquered. It’s important to have a schedule, and to follow it religiously. Avoid sleeping in, and make sure you’re on time for work. Think of it as your commute across town to the office. You wake up in the morning with enough time to get ready, and have breakfast. Although in this case, you’re walking to the next room – it’s important to have your morning “commute and getting-ready-period” timed and in motion. Everyone works differently. Some enjoy blasting music, some enjoy silence, some enjoy clutter and some joy tidiness. I personally prefer a clean space, and blasting some David Bowie. Regardless of your work style, here are some tips to help you increase your working from home productivity.
- Dedicate a certain area of your home for work. That way you don’t get the feeling that your work is intruding all portions of your home, and doesn’t start bothering those you might be living with. This means having a dedicated workstation, instead of spreading your work home to the couch, kitchen table, or bed. Make your dedicated workstation a stress-free zone where you can concentrate. If you don’t have a separate room, find a spaced out area or corner from the main area.
- Go to your same dedicated workstation on a regular basis so your mind doesn’t wander. Set tight physical boundaries around your workstation – this is your station, don’t allow anyone to intrude or travel through it. Treat it as if it’s a couple miles across town, and ask your housemates to consider it as such. If possible, only go to your dedicated workstation when you need to work.
- Try to hold back on personal intrusions. Your friends or family members don’t just stop by the office to chat, hang-out or interrupt your work. Sometimes these folks think working from home works differently. However, it’s important to make sure everyone acknowledges that during business hours you’re working, in the same manner that you would be if you were in the office. Interruptions and drop-ins can cause you to lose your focus, and start procrastination. All of which can really hinder your productivity and make reaching targets/ deadlines difficult.
- Avoid cabin fever. Now that you’re spending so much more time at home. Try to go outside as much as possible. Something along the lines of going for a jog or run are great excuses to get out of the house. Research shows that spending time within nature helps lower stress, helps you relax, and enables you to clear your mind easily. While you take foot outside, be sure to remember the rules of social distancing.
Sweat! Get moving! Being active is very important, because it enables you to produce endorphins, which is what increases your productivity. Whether you go for a jog, host a virtual fitness event for your team, or sign up for an on-demand membership, your options are there and ready!