Sure, most of us are probably working in our sweatpants and taking conference calls from the kitchen table. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be productive. While the idea of working from home might be a dream come true for some, it could be a nightmare for others. Maintaining productivity can be difficult when your daily routine is tossed out the window. It certainly doesn’t make things easier now that we are living and working with the stress and uncertainty of everything going on in the world around us. But working from home doesn’t have to be so challenging.
We’ve compiled some tips and tricks for staying productive – and sane – while working from home in these difficult times.
1. Keep to a schedule
Rewind back to when you used to get dressed and head into the office five days a week, every week. It seems like a far-away concept now and nobody knows when we’ll be able to return to that routine, but you can try to bring back some of that daily routine into your work from home lifestyle. If your daily routine involved waking up, taking a shower, making a coffee, and then working for 3 or 4 hours before taking a lunch break, then keep at it. Even the simple act of putting on pants could kick-start your brain into work mode – but we’ll leave that decision up to you. The main take-away here is that consistent habits will help you maintain your focus and productivity.
2. Find a dedicated workspace
You might be shocked to hear that your surroundings have a strong effect on your mental state and your ability to stay focused. But just because you’re not working in an office right now doesn’t mean you can’t have an office. Instead of drifting from your bed to your couch to your kitchen table, dedicate a specific space within your house for work. Set up your area with everything you would typically have at your office desk – a glass of water, notebook, snacks etc. If you have some flexibility, try finding a spot in your home that boasts lots of natural light. Numerous studies have found that individuals are happier, healthier and more productive when exposed to nature and natural light. It may also help boost immune function and decrease stress – perfect bonuses given our current situation.
3. Stay connected with your team
Being away from the office and your team might have you feeling disconnected and cut off from larger team projects and workplace objectives taking place. Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with coworkers and synchronize projects and plans so that everyone stays on track. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype have become widely popular in the last few weeks for staying connected with both colleagues and friends.
4. Take breaks
Let’s be honest. Offices are full of distractions. Whether we’re stopping by a friend’s desk for a “quick” chat or going on our 3rd coffee run, we all need to stretch our legs and take our eyes off our screens for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to change just because you’re at home. Get up and do a quick stretch or meditation. Call a friend. Make yourself a snack. Take a 10-minute walk. These activities will help clear your mind, boost your mood, and ultimately, keep you productive when it’s time to get back in front of that computer.
5. Use the right tools
It doesn’t matter how productive you’ve been or how much work you got done if, at the end of the day, your computer crashes and you lose all your files. Make sure you’re complimenting your newfound productivity with the right tools to ensure your data is always safe and secure. This is also a crucial aspect in promoting successful virtual teamwork by storing and sharing files that can easily be accessed by the entire team. Some common platforms include Dropbox, Google Drive and SharePoint.
We understand that working from home can be tough. And it certainly doesn’t make things easier if you have kids screaming in the background of every conference call. But hopefully these quick tips will help you maintain some sense of productivity and connectivity while working from home. Just remember to stay positive and more importantly, stay safe. Besides, we’ll all be complaining about those frustrating commutes of ours in no time.