Working from home due to Coronavirus pandemic?
I have spent many years working from home, or on travel, where ever I have an internet connection. At first, working from home is a novelty, you have all the freedom you desire, without having someone looking over your shoulder, or having to deal with office politics, but it is very easy to be distracted and lose focus on the task at hand. I have compiled my 10 top tips for ensuring that you get the most out of your work day if you have been forced to work from home due to the global pandemic of Coronavirus, which is effecting us all! I hope these tips help you be as productive as possible during this time.
1: Get dressed. Sounds silly, but get dressed, get ready for work as if you would any other day. Maybe not a power suit, but something smart. Just because you can do emails in your pants, doesn’t mean that you should. Being in the correct frame of mind starts with how you feel, being dressed correctly adds to that frame of mind
2: Work Space. Set up a dedicated work space. Sitting on the sofa won’t be as productive as sitting at a table, a desk in your bedroom or spare room. If others are at home with you, make them aware that just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean your not at work. Keep distractions to a minimum with somewhere where you can perhaps close a door and close yourself off. Try and work where that place is not associated with leisure time.
3: Focus. Because you are at home, you will be naturally more relaxed, which can lead to distractions, and lack of focus leading to mistakes and things will take much longer. Put some headphones in, listen to a motivational or uplifting play list. Put on the radio, have history channel playing in the back ground. This back ground noise will add to the back ground noise sometimes associated with the work environment. Log out of your social media accounts so you don’t get drawn into a Facebook debate or twitter spat on current issues, unless of course your business is social media lol! It’s far to easy to get drawn in to scrolling news, seeing what everyone else is doing, whose cat is led on there keyboard etc.
4: Time. Get up at the same time you would usually for your morning commute. Have your coffee and breakfast and then start work. Most commute times are 60 minutes or more. This gives you a head start on the day. Structure your day as you would in the office. You won’t have office politics, distractions and meetings that will over run, get your head down and crank the work out. If you hit a wall, take a break, walk round the block, have a coffee in the garden. Give yourself rewards for getting tasks completed quickly. If you have a colander, set timescales for task completion, Apple and google make this easy and also ensures you stay on task.
5: Work when you’re at your most productive. Nobody sprints through their work from morning to evening — your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day. When you’re working from home, however, it’s all the more important to know when those ebbs and flows will take place and plan your schedule around it.To capitalize on your most productive periods, save your harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier, logistical tasks that are also on your plate.
6: Save calls for the afternoon. Sometimes, I’m so tired in the morning, I don’t even want to hear my own voice — let alone talk to others with it. You shouldn’t have to give yourself too much time to become productive in the morning, but you can give yourself some extra time before working directly with others. If you’re struggling to come up with a reasonable work schedule for yourself as a telecommuter, start with the solitary tasks in the morning. Save phone calls, meetings, and other collaborative work for when you’ve officially “woken up.”
7: Use technology to stay connected. Working from home might help you focus on your work in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off the larger operation happening in the office. Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with coworkers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture
8: Use laundry as a work timer. You might have heard listening to just two or three songs in the shower can help you save water. And it’s true; hearing a few of your favorite songs start and end, one after another, can remind you how long you’ve been in the bathroom and shorten your wash time.Why bring this up? Because the same general principle can help you stay on task when working from home. But instead of three songs off your music playlist, run your laundry instead. Doing your laundry is a built-in timer for your home. So, use the time to start and finish something from your to-do list before changing the load. Committing to one assignment during the wash cycle and another during the dry cycle can train you to work smarter on tasks that you might technically have all day to tinker with.
9: Interact with other humans. Remember: You’re working from home, not the moon. Interacting with other people during the day is allowed, even if they’re not your coworkers. In fact, it’s a good idea to see another face during the day when most of your work day is solitary. Take this time to maybe speak to an elderly neighbour that may need something, and that woman on the couch…who is apparently your wife, have a conversation, you will be glad you did!
10: Pick a definitive finishing time each day. You might be under the impression that working from home establishes more work-life balance, but be careful with that assumption. Working from home can also feel like being at a casino — you can get so caught up in your activity, in a relaxing environment, that you lose complete track of time. In lieu of coworkers, whose packing up and leaving the office reminds you to do the same, set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your normal work day is coming to an end. You don’t have to stop at exactly that time, but knowing the work day is technically over can help you start the process of saving your work and calling it quits for the evening. Remember, if your starting earlier, then it’s easy to finish earlier too, as long as you have achieved all that you set out to achieve for that day.