5 Simple Steps To Maintain Productivity While Working From Home
COVID-19 has mandated all non-essential employers to have employees work from home. While this new workspace has its perks, it can be challenging to stay focused and feel productive throughout the day. Making small changes in the way you work from home, can help prevent distractions and promote productivity.
Step 1: Establish a Designated Workspace
Staying in places within your home that are associated with leisure time can make it difficult to get into a work mentality. Instead of setting up an office on the couch or in your bedroom, try setting up a workstation that is similar to your everyday office. Not everyone has access to a permanent office within their home, but simply setting up a workstation on your dining room table can help increase productivity.
Step 2: Create a Schedule
When working from home, you’re responsible for keeping track of where your time is spent. It’s important to have a set schedule while working from home to ensure that you’re being productive and not getting burnt out. With schools currently operating from an e-Learning platform, having a work schedule for yourself and a “school” schedule for your children can help cut down on the chaos and ensure that your day flows smoothly.
To stay motivated, write down what you plan on accomplishing during the day and when you will do it. Try using online calendars, such as Google Calendars or Outlook to notify you when it’s time to shift into a different project. Save doing housework for after you have completed the work for your job. I know that it can be tempting to start organizing (and reorganizing) various rooms throughout the house, but that “quick clean-up” can easily turn into a cumbersome project that lasts longer than planned. If you have other obligations to complete throughout the day, such as homeschooling your children, make sure to plan beforehand when you want to complete that task.
Working from home offers the flexibility to determine how your day will flow. These times are hectic and planning your day is vital in ensuring that you can get everything done. Planning allows you to see what your day has in store for you so that you won’t be teaching your son math when you had a conference call planned.
Step 3: Try Starting Early
One benefit of working from home is that you have the ability to determine when you begin working. Although it can be tempting to sleep in since there is no commute time, beginning earlier holds a multitude of benefits. By beginning your workday earlier, you have the opportunity to work on projects without worrying about disruptions from family members or coworkers that have questions.
Waking up earlier can also give you the flexibility to start homeschooling your children before your workday officially begins. This extra time can be used to plan what subjects they are going to work on and when. If your children are “early risers” then use this time before the workday gets busy to start them on their schoolwork, so that once your calls begin there will be fewer chances of interruptions.
Step 4: Take Clear Breaks
While taking breaks during the workday, make sure they’re clearly defined. It can be tempting to shift from working on a project to clicking on Youtube videos or taking a quick scroll through your social media feed, but by continuing to sit at your workstation it can be difficult for your brain to truly “power down” for a few minutes.
When you feel the need to take a break, try stepping outside to get some fresh air. Practicing social distancing is important with the current state of COVID-19, but stepping out onto your back patio or backyard can help set your mind at ease and get you some fresh air. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a great post on how to safely enjoy the outdoors while social distancing.
With no commute, there is an additional one to two hours in your day to either relax or get things done. This extra time can be used to spend with your family or do things to clear your mind. After I’ve reached a stopping point for the day, I’ve been using this extra time to go on a daily 4-5 mile walk with my dogs.
Step 5: Use Technology to Stay Connected
It’s important to use technology to stay connected with your coworkers throughout the day. Using tools such as Skype for Business or Zoom can help supplement the need for meeting in person. Utilizing the instant messaging and video call features on these applications will help make communication quicker and seamless.
After you complete your work for the day, it’s important to find ways to stay connected with your family and friends. Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t be social. Setting up video “coffee chats” or happy hours will allow you to catch up with friends while minimizing your risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Although it’s important to be productive while working, your health is more important. We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. If there is any way that we can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to reach to contact us.