Working from home is now becoming commonplace as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, after the pandemic was declared in 2020, a whopping 88% of organisations worldwide either required their employees to work from home or encouraged it. And now that companies are realising they can stay productive with a remote workforce while keeping employees happy and saving money on office space, it’s likely that remote work is here to stay.
So how can you be most effective while working from home? Take a look at these five tips that can help you optimise your work from home experience.
1. Create a workspace for yourself
One of the benefits of an in-person office is that virtually everything there is work related. When you step into a dedicated office space, greet your fellow coworkers, and sit down at your desk, you know it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
When you work from home, on the other hand, you don’t really have the same experience — instead, you’re alone and surrounded by potential distractions, which can make it tempting to slack off at work. Creating a dedicated workspace in your home can help to minimize distractions and keep you on track throughout the day.
Setting up a home office is ideal, but perhaps you don’t have an extra room to spare or any excess space in your home. In that case, all you have to do is make a desk into your dedicated workspace. Keep your work laptop and other work-related materials at your desk so that when you sit down, you can focus entirely on staying productive.
A dedicated workspace could come in handy for when you need to focus on other chores as well, such as paying your rent, sorting through bills, and managing other personal finance tasks.
2. Start the day off right
If you want to be productive throughout the day, it’s key that you start your mornings on a good note. Establish a regular morning routine that gets you ready for the day. For example, you might start the workday off by taking a shower, making a pot of coffee, and eating something that will give you a morning energy boost, such as a banana or some eggs.
In order to have an effective morning routine, it’s a good idea to get up well before your workday actually begins. It’s important to have the time you need to complete your morning routine and prepare for the day. Plus, if you roll out of bed and get right to work, you’ll likely still feel groggy and slow, which can get in the way of your productivity.
You could also consider making an effort to practice self-care each morning by exercising, meditating, or doing deep breathing exercises. Doing any of these things can lower your stress levels and help put you in a calm, positive mindset that allows you to stay focused during the day.
3. Stick to a daily schedule
Creating and sticking to a daily schedule can provide your day with a sense of structure. Knowing the specific tasks you’ll be doing each day, and when you’ll be doing each one of them, can help you stay on top of your work and meet important deadlines. And a schedule doesn’t just benefit your professional life, it can also help you maintain a fulfilling personal life.
Consistently adhering to a schedule is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Dividing your time up into working hours and non-working hours motivates you to meet deadlines and prevents work from bleeding into your personal life.
So treat working from home the same as you would going into an office. Clock in at a certain time every day and stay focused on your work until it’s time to clock out. Then, once you clock out, leave work behind to the extent that that’s possible for you — leave answering emails and other work-related tasks for the next day.
4. Take regular breaks
While most people are comfortable taking breaks in the office, it might feel a bit odd to take breaks when working from home. Part of the reason for that may stem from the fact that many employees feel the need to prove to their employers that they can be productive working from home. Thus, they try to work through the day without taking any breaks.
However, taking regular breaks can actually help you to be more productive. That’s because taking a break at work gives our brain an opportunity to rest and recharge. In addition to that, breaks help us avoid feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
With this in mind, schedule regular breaks into your day. Try working for an hour and then stopping and taking fifteen minutes or so for yourself. And always be sure to take a lunch break somewhere around midday so that you can eat in peace.
5. Stay connected with coworkers
For a lot of people, one of the major downsides of working from home is the lack of socialisation. It’s common for remote workers to feel isolated and crave more face-to-face interaction with other people. But just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to be completely isolated from your coworkers.
Stay connected through communication tools such as Slack and Zoom. Participate in fun online social activities, such as virtual happy hours or holiday parties. Although it may not be quite the same as genuine face-to-face interaction, it can still definitely make you feel like you’re part of a larger, interconnected team.
Keeping up with your coworkers serves more than just a social purpose, though. It’s also important to stay in touch to make sure you’re on the same page with work projects. While in an office setting you would be able to walk to your coworker’s desk to talk about challenges you encounter, this can be a little more difficult when working remotely.
Try to keep a line of communication open with your coworkers where you can ask questions and discuss problems. Steady communication will help to minimize mistakes, and ensure that the job gets done right the first time around.
Compared to an in-person office, working from home has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. It provides you with a greater sense of flexibility and can save you a lengthy commute to the office. But at the same time, it’s easy to get distracted and fall behind when working from home. Additionally, while many people report an improved work-life balance as a result of working from home, others struggle to separate work from their personal life.
To overcome these challenges, all it takes is a little effort. Implementing the above tips can lead to a more productive, satisfying work from home experience.