Working from home has turned into the new normal following the Coronavirus. This working environment is a necessary change to help control the spread of the pandemic. It helps minimize contact, keep employees safer, and allows workers to follow social distancing regulations—while allowing organizational processes to keep ticking.
Economy-disrupting viruses aside, working from home has its perks. If anything, it’s an inevitable modern adaptation to the traditional office-based working environment. It was only accelerated by the pandemic. According to a FlexJobs survey, 65% of 7,000 workers enjoyed increased productivity while working from home—citing reduced stress and fewer interruptions as some of the main contributing factors.
Challenges of Working from Home
But even with all it’s benefits, working from home is not as straightforward as you may assume at first sight. Being yanked from a commercial office setup to a home office feels both alien and familiar.
Without a proper structure, working from home can quickly turn into an exhausting and disorienting experience. Pups yearning for your attention, kids being kids, a partner on constant video conferences: maintaining your concentration and productivity can be an uphill struggle.
5 Tips to Working from Home
To bypass the drawbacks and optimize the potential opportunities, here are some tips on how to effectively work from home during the current times:
1. Designate a Working Space
A dedicated workspace facilitates increased motivation, improved concentration, and work-life balance. This can either be a full-fledged home office of an ad hoc workspace designed exclusively for work. The idea is to create a connection between a certain space and work mentality.
Find spots in your house that are exposed to as little distractions as possible. And be mindful of ergonomic needs by investing in furniture pieces that support a healthier lifestyle. PS: Check out these awesome stand-up-desk recommendations.
Along these lines, don’t skimp on the dressing either. Throwing on a pair of sweats may seem like less hassle but dressing like you’re going to an actual office helps get you in the right frame of mind.
2. Set Realistic Boundaries
Distractions are inevitable at home. From frequent interruptions by family, a nagging household chore, to the temptation of catching up on your social media; there are tons of things competing for your time. To get work done effectively, you need to set boundaries—especially since you basically forego the parameters that you were accustomed to in the office.
Mute your social media accounts during your working hours, ask your family members to help you maintain your boundaries, and log out of work-related activities when the workday is over. It may not be easy at first—but the more you work towards creating a clear-cut work-life balance, the easier it’ll get.
3. Plot a Personalized Schedule
Create a detailed schedule that incorporates the expectations of your manager and household obligations. This includes a to-do list of your workload—complete with a clear set of business goals. A work schedule gives you a sense of progress to help curb interruptions or procrastination. And don’t forget to incorporate breaks to keep you motivated.
Regarding household obligations, consider collaborating with your partner to determine who will be in charge of what and when. Google calendar or any other collaboration tool is a great way to manage house duties seamlessly.
4. Maintain Open and Frequent Channels of Communication
Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or you only recently explored the idea after the pandemic, communication is integral to effectively work from home. But not just any type of communication: it should be rich, open, and frequent.
Clear communication ensures you’re well aware of what is expected of you and others (i.e., your manager and family members) have a good idea of what you’re realistically capable of delivering. This also keeps you engaged to curb loneliness – i.e., working from home can be isolating.
A 2019 study by Buffer found that an average of 1 in every 5 remote workers report loneliness as one of their main challenges—leading to less motivation and productivity. So don’t forget to socialize safely.
5. Give Productivity Apps a Shot
Did you know that it takes an average of 23 minutes 15 seconds to get back on track after an interruption to your workflow (according to a University of California report)? With the near-endless number of distractions lurking around at home, you must find a reliable way to maintain focus.
You can take advantage of productivity apps that are designed to keep you organized. These software solutions typically leverage proven practices such as note-taking, reminders, Pomodoro timers, and Gantt charts, among other technique to get the most out of your work hours.
They keep track of project progress and alert you when it’s time to get to work or take a break. This translates to increased productivity and a better work-life balance