If, like many other people around the world, you’ve suddenly found yourself working from home due to the outbreak, you might be finding it a little difficult to adjust. While it may have been something you might’ve jokingly wished for in the past, the reality isn’t always so glamorous.
For many, it’s difficult to get into that working mindset when you’re surrounded by home comforts. Others may struggle to be productive with the various distractions that come with being at home. It’s not always easy, but fortunately, there are many ways to help you increase productivity when working from home. Let’s take a look at our top 6 tips below!
Create a Workspace
Step number one for successfully working from home requires you to create a healthy workspace or home office. If you have the luxury of having a spare room, or even a dedicated office, that’s great, but if not, no worries. You can create a functional workspace in any number of nooks and crannies, from the kitchen table, to the garden shed.
It’s important that your workspace is comfortable, and if possible, detached from the rest of the goings-on in your home, especially if you have kids. Be sure to make it spacious and clutter free, allowing you to immerse yourself in work rather than distractions.
Dress for the Occasion
This tip might sound strange, but it can really help to dress for work as if you’re still going into the office. Of course, it’s extra important if you’re planning to carry out video calls and conferences, but even if not, it’s still a good idea. Doing so helps your mind subconsciously switch to work mode. If you remain in your most comfortable house clothes, you’re more likely to feel like relaxing all day rather than working.
Commute to Your Place of Work
Surely if you’re working in your home, there’s nowhere to commute to. However, just like dressing for work, taking a short walk before getting started helps get you into a working mentality. Obviously, during a lockdown it’s not ideal to go walking around the block without good reason. However, those with gardens can take a short walk around the yard. If you don’t have a yard, try some gentle exercise in the home to switch your brain from house mode, to active mode.
Set a Schedule and Stick to it
When working in your normal place of work, whether it’s an office, school, lab, or anywhere else, there’s a certain schedule that you’re required to follow. You must arrive at a set time, take relevant breaks, and leave when it’s time to go home. When working from home, it’s down to you to set that schedule and keep to it.
This can be easier said than done, as unlike at work, the home is filled with unexpected distractions, such as hungry pets or bored children. However, with a little self-discipline, you can schedule everything into your working day, including a few well-earned breaks. With a specified start and stop time, scheduled breaks, and realistic deadlines, you’ll find things far less chaotic.
Nip Procrastination in the Bud
One of the most difficult things about working from home is overcoming procrastination. Without any colleagues around you, it’s all too easy to spend a few hours watching YouTube videos or browsing Facebook. However, there are ways around this, and if the temptation is too strong, you can enforce a working environment.
There are a wealth of website blockers available which allow you to either block a website altogether, limit how much time you can spend on a particular site each day, or only allow access at certain hours. With the distractions blocked, it’s much easier to get started. And, if you still find yourself struggling to get going, the best thing to do is open up what you’re supposed to be working on, and just start. The rest will soon follow, but it’s often just starting that is the most difficult.
Remember to Relax
All work and no play isn’t good for anyone’s productivity, and it’s not a good idea to try to force yourself only to work. It’s only natural that you’ll want to take a break now and then, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Taking occasional breaks allows your mind to relax, and restart, enabling you to approach your work with a fresh head.
It’s also a good idea to keep in touch with colleagues now and then to discuss non-work matters. A phone call to see how they’re doing, or an end of day drink in your own virtual pub is a great way to unwind, while keeping up with everyone else in the team.