Most of us are working from home right now, there’s no denying that, but how productive are we? The COVID-19 lockdowns have forced most non-essential workers to change their daily routines, with corporations and businesses adopting work from home practices wherever they can.
We don’t know when things will be back to normal, and we certainly don’t know if the new normal will include corporations and businesses changing their operations to allow more work from home scenarios. What we do know is that it remains more important than ever to be productive while working from home!
Given our experience working from home, both in an office-type of environment as well as a home music studio, we know a thing or two about being productive from a home office environment and now, more than ever, we feel we should be sharing this information with our readers.
Feeling plugged in if you aren’t at the office can be tricky. Managers worry they don’t have a good enough sense of what their direct reports are working on—conversely, direct reports worry their manager can’t see all the work they’re doing. The truth is, we all need more visibility into our work.
Whether the flexibility of working from anywhere has always been appealing or you’re trying to figure out how to navigate a remote work schedule as a way for your team to stay healthy, remote work can seem challenging at first.
The best way to succeed as a remote worker is to make sure you have all the tools and information you need to do the job well.
Having a collaborative central source of truth like Asana helps everyone gain clarity across an organization, so you know who’s doing what, by when, even when your team is remote. Using company-wide communication tools, such as Slack, is also beneficial and helps streamline communication lines in a central, interactive and easy-to-navigate platform that keeps workers accountable. These are but just two examples of why it’s important to make sure the basis are covered when working remotely, whether from home or anywhere for that matter!
Every job is different and the amount you’re able to achieve will vary between career types, employers, and internal policies, but there are some key strategies to working from home when it comes to getting your tasks done efficiently (not to mention, staying sane and healthy while doing so!).
Here are the best tips to working from home according to people who have successfully worked remotely for years, including ourselves!
This is the key and most important piece of advice I can give when it comes to working from home, and when I refer to routine I don’t just mean a work routine but I am talking about your entire day’s routine!
Just because you’re not commuting and going into an office doesn’t mean you should skip your weekday morning preparations. Wake up at your normal time, shower, and get dressed in real clothes (not pijamas!). If you usually work out before work, try to get your work out (at home) in the morning before you open your work laptop and start working. It may sound banal, but this helps you mentally prepare for the day ahead and get into the “I’m going to work” mindset.
It’s also helpful to keep a set schedule. If you typical work nine-to-five hours, keep doing it at home. It’s easy to lose track of time and if you can’t stick to a typical work-life balance, you may find yourself getting easily burnt out. Once you get into a routine and into a flow, you will find you are more productive and get more done!
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a work-space that benefits your work-flow. Whether you’re working from home one day a week or are reading this article because you’re working from home for the upcoming months, you’re best off setting up a work station with everything you need to get your work done.
Although it’s tempting to stay in bed or head to your sofa, those who successfully work from home for longer periods of time agree that you’re best off setting up a station. That is not to say that you cannot head to the couch for the last hour of the day, or while something specific is running on TV that you want to watch, but to be truly productive while working from home I strongly suggest a having a defined work station to operate fro.
Alright, we have suggested you set up and use a work station, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever move from it! You’re now working from home, have cut a possible long commute from your schedule and have some extra time on your hands.
You can also invest in a standing desk if you prefer to work on your feet, but otherwise make sure to stand up regularly to stretch or move around. If you can, you can even have two work stations at home such as one in an office and another in the living room, giving you flexibility and the ability to move around.
If you’ve gained an extra hour or two from not commuting, it’s a good opportunity to exercise a little extra. On top of working out from home, try to get some cardio in inside the apartment, or in the neighborhood if you’re able to. Of course please follow all social distancing and lockdown directions from local health and government officials if you’re working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic currently plaguing much of the world at the time of writing this article.
Whether you’re heading to the backyard, front porch, balcony or simply opening a window, we strongly recommend getting some fresh air every day! Open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible, and take short walks if you live in an unpopulated area — and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return home.
Working from home may make you feel isolated, so be sure to go the extra length to stay connected with your co-workers, clients, suppliers and, of course, friends and family. If you work on a team, make sure to check in regularly just like you would in the office. Create to-do lists to keep yourself organized and focused, and share the status of your lists with your supervisor so they know you’re on top of your work. Besides email and messaging programs like Slack, it’s a good idea to set up regular check-ins via phone or video conferencing like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom.
Working from home shouldn’t mean doing less work or losing your focus, and this is key! While it may seem convenient to catch up on chores around the house, once you start multitasking it can be easy to get distracted and lose track of your work projects, deadlines and, as a result, you can fall behind on your work and risk getting in trouble or putting your job in jeopardy.
Remember, the whole point is to remain productive while working from home! If you meal prep or pack snacks ahead of time for the office, do the same at home so you don’t get preoccupied in the kitchen. If you devote 30 mins to lunch at the office, do the same at home. It’s likely you don’t watch your favorite TV show at the office, so try not to do the same at home either!
You Gotta Account For Children In The House
If you have kids in the house you will be dealing with an added element of distraction that you simply have to manage. Goodhousekeeping writes:
“It’s difficult enough to get work done if you have children at home, but even harder with younger kids like babies and toddlers. Still, it’s not impossible if you have plan ahead and have some flexibility. Here are tips from real parents who are mastering the work-from-home challenge:
Adopt the above advice into your daily routine and you will be much more productive while working form home!