Many of us are now into our second or third week of working from home, and numerous more of the world’s population begin to join the remote working environment because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Working from home may sound simple enough, but maintaining our health, productivity and work-life balance is key to being able to focus on tasks as the days and weeks roll by.
With many of our TASK team already working from home, here are our 12 top tips to make working from home easier and more productive.
photo credit writix.co.uk
1. HAVE A CONSISTENT MORNING ROUTINE
We are used to having a routine.
Five days a week, we wake up at the same time, and go through our daily routine. Having a morning routine sets you up for your day, and is essential, no matter what your current working arrangements are.
Set your alarm for the same time each day and stick to it, act as if you are going to work –wake up, clean your teeth, get dressed, eat a quick brekkie and drink your morning brew. But, instead of leaving the house, enter your work zone (see number 4).
2. STRUCTURE YOUR DAY
Learning how to structure your day isn’t the most difficult of tasks, in fact, there’s your first task of today right now.
Some of us make ‘to-do’ lists at work, but life needs structure too, and now work, exercise and (un)socialising are all part of our new ‘working from home’ lifestyle – it’s time you start writing your to-do list better than ever.
Each morning marks the start of a new day and writing down your daily tasks is a great way to stay on-track. Creating a list provides our day with structure and milestones.
3. SET REMINDERS
Stop scrolling that feed; it’s time to use your phone for something extremely useful, and simple…
The convenience of working from home can create many bad habits, from extra snacking to un-tracked screen time. Combating these bad habits is crucial to stay healthy and productive when working from home.
Setting reminders or alarms on your phone can help prevent you from becoming buried and lost in your work. Use them to start a new task, take a break from your screen, stand up or go for a walk, and even to remind you to cook something healthy for lunch.
Utilising reminders when working from home is a brilliant way of helping to give your day structure, holding yourself accountable for not only your work tasks but your life tasks too.
4. HAVE A DESIGNATED WORK-SPACE
It’s time to add a little organisation to your day. Whether you’re one of the lucky ones with a home office or your kitchen table is the only suitable area to seat your laptop – creating a designated work area solely for the purpose of completing work-related tasks is critical for increasing productivity and reducing distractions.
Choose an area in your home that you feel most comfortable working at. Set up your computer, notepads and other work essentials.
Keep your mobile phone out of arm’s length, turn off the TV and don’t eat in your work-zone!
Use breaks as an opportunity to leave your designated work-zone, complete life-related tasks and refresh your mind.
5. SET YOURSELF GOALS
None of us know how long this global situation will go on for, but one thing is for sure – we need some realistic medium-term goals to stay motivated and keep our daily tasks in check.
Whatever your goals, having something in the distance you’re working towards will help develop your daily tasks too, providing that sense of challenge and accomplishment we so crave.
6. MAKE USE OF VIDEO-CALLING
As we work from home, isolated from colleagues and redundant in social interaction – genuine face-to-face interaction will no doubt take the back-seat.
The importance of a good old fashioned conversation will never be defeated, which is why when we’re working from home, taking advantage of technology revives the face-to-face conversations that may otherwise be neglected.
Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype and many more are all great communication tools between clients and your team.
7. GET SOME FRESH AIR
Enjoying a little fresh air does wonders for your mind, taking a walk around the block or around the garden will help loosen up any muscle’s rigid from your home office chair.
8. FIND YOUR PEAK
It’s no secret that we all have certain times in the day when we find it easier to be productive. With all the distractions accompanied with working from home, it’s even more important you take advantage of your best performing hours.
Factor this into your daily structure and ensure you are distraction free during your key working times. It may even be worth rearranging meeting calls to other periods throughout the day, allowing you to concentrate on your own work.
For example; if you work best in the morning, schedule your meetings and screen breaks more towards the afternoon, when you know productivity levels stoop and you require more frequent breaks from work.
9. FIND YOUR INNER ZEN
Sometimes we just need to switch off and focus on ourselves.
Research has shown health benefits linked to the practice of mindfulness and meditation, with two significant studies showing reduced stress and anxiety when regularly performing meditation.
So, whether you’re after the health benefits, or simply want some quiet time away from your work/home life, meditation and/or yoga may be the answer.
10. LETS SAVE SOME MONEY
We’re on lockdown.
Most, if not all methods of social gatherings and shopping has been put on hold. Leaving the house for bare necessities and a little exercise equates to 100% of our outdoor life right now.
So if you’re working from home, or receiving help from the government – now is one of the best times you’ll have to reduce your outgoings and become more self-sufficient.
And this isn’t just about saving money in the short term, but more about developing new skills and improving living-efficiency, meaning you’ll come out the other side of this pandemic with money in the bank and a new-found level of financial appreciation and independence.
11. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Turn on some music in the background and those annoying distractions will soon begin to drown out. Road noise, neighbours and even the miserable drone from the fridge will soon become non-existent in your working from home environment.
Find a chill playlist on Spotify, or dust off your vinyl player and enjoy a blast from the past. Whatever decade of music player you choose, it will help you focus on the task at hand and reduce distractions.
12. SIGN OUT & SWITCH OFF
Out of our 12 tips, the last is no-doubt the most important when working from home.
On your breaks, during lunch and at the end of your working day, it is crucial to sign out and remove yourself from the working world.
Replying to messages or emails during breaks or after hours will continue to mentally drain you – making it impossible to ‘switch off’ from work.
Your life outside of work is so important for your physical, mental and family's.