Many of us are working from home right now. But if you’re used to working in an office, it can be a challenge to concentrate and stay focused. You can easily be distracted by phone alerts, TV noise, and family members around. But here are five working from home tips that’ll help you to stay productive.
1. Set a schedule
When working from home, you can end up missing deadlines because of the extra free time at your disposal. To avoid this, it’s important to set a schedule and plan your day exactly as you would in the office. Don’t forget that you still have a job to do, even if you’re working remotely. There are plenty of articles online that break down common myths about remote work; you can out check popular questions about remote working and find advice about productivity, too.
Set your alarm for at least half an hour before the beginning of your work day. That will give you some time to wake up and complete your morning ritual. Then you can start your day just as you do in the office. If you’re used to drinking tea or coffee while you’re working – do it at home, too. It’s also a good idea to set some rules – for example, turn off your phone notifications and stop checking your email every 10 minutes.
Don’t forget to take short breaks. Do some exercises, play with your pet, or just rest on the couch.
2. Prepare for work
There are stereotypes that say working from home means you can be sitting around in underwear or pajamas and listening to music while you’re working. But it doesn’t work like that: you need to concentrate. Some people recommend working in office clothes so you can get in the right mindset. It also helps to declutter: clean up your table, put your clothes away. It’s better to prepare everything you need – laptop, notebook, pens and pencils, and stickers – before you start work. Another useful tip is to write down a task list so you have a plan to follow and can track your own productivity.
3. Organize a workspace
When you start working from home, it’s important to set up a workspace based on your needs. Some people can be productive with the TV or music on in the background, but others prefer a quiet environment. If you need to fully concentrate by yourself, – set up your workspace in a separate room and your family not to disturb you. Try to avoid distractions such as chatting with friends, watching funny videos on YouTube, or playing with pets.
It’s important to find a convenient workspace in your home. Different ways to work from home work for different people. You may feel comfortable on the sofa with your laptop on your knees or on a computer chair by a desk in front of the window. The main point is to feel comfortable.
4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
While working at home, it’s essential to keep in touch with your colleagues. That’s why it’s important to choose the right tools for remote meetings. A key to success is having multiple apps available, as different meetings with different teams and discussions may require different types of tools. The best way to inform the participants about a meeting is set a date, time, and duration for the meeting and send invitations. Don’t forget a description, so people can prepare appropriately. If your company uses certain tools on a day-to-day basis – for example, Google Hangouts – you can also send a link for future meetings and attach a short guide on how to join. You can also manage your schedule in Google Calendar. You can see all your meetings and make sure a particular meeting time works for you. It can be hard to find an appropriate time for employees in different time zones, so to avoid awkward and stressful situations, use an app like World Time Buddy.
An advantage of online meetings is that you can record them from the screen and rewatch them later. Tools like this for remote work are gaining in popularity now; we recommend starting with screen recording software, like:
5. Set boundaries
A crucial aspect of a healthy working mindset is setting boundaries. A common mistake is staying at the office after the end of the working day even though you can finish your tasks the next day. Some people also tend to solve working problems from home or discuss the current workflow in messengers, – although they don’t have to. As the boundaries between personal life and work erode, work takes over more space in your life, tiring you out. Result: reduced productivity.
To avoid this slippery slope, you should always leave your work behind after office hours. Log off from your email, turn notifications off, and stop reading group chats with your colleagues. If you have a sudden idea, just write it down and leave it until tomorrow. Your tasks, emails, and messages can wait. Don’t let your work interfere while playing with kids, watching Netflix with your loved ones, walking in the park, or catching up with friends.