If COVID-19 has not changed the way you live, then you must live on another planet. While not having to commute to work is an exciting prospect, working from home is not always as dreamy as it seems. For many of us, adjusting to the new realities of work-life has been a challenge in productivity.
A recent study by US accounting firm PWC has claimed that "remote work productivity is not just a fleeting crisis phenomenon." So if you've been finding it difficult to stay productive throughout the day, you're not alone.
Luckily, we can do something to make sure our productivity does not suffer from our work from home set up. As we settle into our home office, here are a few tips and tricks on how to boost your productivity while working remotely.
1 - Stick to A Work Schedule
Just because you're now in a home office does not mean that regular hours do not apply. As tempting as it is to spend that commute time sleeping, it's important to stick to and plan your day's schedule.
In fact, the International Labor Organization suggests, “set clear expectations of work hours and encourage and empower workers to set boundaries on his or her work schedule”. But don’t wait until your boss sets your schedule.
Take ownership of your hours. This means creating a morning routine similar to the one you had pre coronavirus outbreak. If you didn't have one, now is a great time to start.
This applies not only to your mornings but also to your evenings. As important as it is to set a morning routine, knowing when to log off can help you achieve a work-life balance.
2) Develop Strong Habits
Similar to sticking and creating a schedule routine, developing good work practices is essential when working from home. Do you tend to leave things until the last minute? Have you given up working out in favor of Netflix binging?
Discipline and routine are crucial in staying productive while working remotely. For example, procrastination is the enemy of productivity. Planning ahead of time will help save you overwhelming stress.
Another habit could include dressing up even when working from home. With no one around us, it's easy to just go straight from the bed to your desk in pajamas. However, you'd be amazed at how putting on a button-down or even jeans can help get you into work mode.
According to Psychology Today, there are a few tips to help you create and change habits:
- Try Small Specific and Easy Actions To Encourage Habits
- Involve Physical Movements For Muscle Memory
- Use Visual Cues to Maintain Habits
3) Stay Social
COVID-19 has left many of us unable to see family members and friends for a long time. Thankfully, technology has given us a lifehack - conference calls. With the ability to video call, we also have the opportunity to reconnect with our loved ones.
Whenever I start to get too much inside my head (which I know many of you can relate to!), I call my sister or a friend. Reconnecting and knowing that the anxieties and loneliness that are so prevalent during this time pick me up every time.
Staying social is equally, if not more, important when working from home as it was when we were in a traditional office. Reconnecting with loved ones over Zoom or Skype can help give you that boost of energy to making work from home bearable.
4) Remove Distractions
Without the formality of an office environment, it's easy to get caught up in other things in our home. Instead of focusing on our jobs, we might be tempted to clean up clutter or seek other more enjoyable activities.
A lifehack that has worked for some people is to invest in noise-canceling earphones. Removing these kinds of distractions has helped them get into work mode more easily.
Getting into a work mindset when working from home can also come from music - the right kind. Classical and instrumental music can make work from home a bit more fun and enjoyable. It can also help get you into the right mindset to achieve your goals for the day.
5) Dedicate A Designated Workspace
On the same note, having the right work environment can help remove any unnecessary distractions when working from home. This can range from having the right music as we've discussed to have a scented candle or plans to customize your work environment. Working from home is here to stay for a while, so make it your own.
It's also important to set aside a specific space in your house or apartment as your "office" A designated spot in your home - whether it be a desk or a mini home office, can quickly get you into work mode. Working from home can be challenging because it blurs the line between work and relaxing.
If you have the opportunity, having a home office can be invaluable to your productivity and mental health. People also ask:
What are the benefits of having a separate home office?
Having a separate home office helps you:
- Improve focus, particularly if you live in a busy house
- Have a better work-life balance as you can separate work and play
- Gain the freedom to customize space to cater to your needs
Whether you want a small space or a full-on work-from-home set-up, there are many options in the market. Dwellito has an amazing collection of backyard offices that can give you some ideas.
6) Get Some Fresh Air
Part of having a healthy work environment isn't limited to having a dedicated home office, it's also being able to get some Vitamin D and fresh air. When working from home, it's so easy to stay at home for long periods of time. Living in a high-rise building, it was easy for me to overlook the importance of being outdoors. When I began to dedicate a daily walk outside, I felt a lot lighter and better.
These breaks can also be as simple as a short meditation session - or having a quick walk around the block. You'd be surprised at the mental clarity, energy, and productivity a bit of fresh air can bring.
7) Stop multi-tasking
In a Forbes article, Lisa Quast has debunked the myth that multitasking improves productivity. With the security of our jobs more uncertain than ever, a lot of us have been feeling the pressure to over-perform. We have been trying to juggle a lot of stress and extra work unlike before.
Overworking can lead to stress and burnout, which can make performing our jobs even more difficult and be even worse for our productivity. This is an unprecedented time, and a year since the Covid 19 outset, a lot of us are still struggling to adjust to its legacies and consequences. So the next time you're feeling bad about not being productive - be kind to yourself.