If you are like many of us, you might be working from home for the first time. It is a strange feeling for some of us who are figuring out how to work from a place you are so used to, yet unfamiliar when it comes to full time work. This adjustment period may be unproductive, especially if remote working was never part of your lifestyle in the first place. We’ve put together a list of how you can maximise productivity while easing into the transition of working from home.
1. Declare War on Distracting Sites
One of the advantages of working from home is the lack of physical distractions in the form of superiors or coworkers checking in on you every few minutes or gossiping about the lady with the perm in marketing. Although remote working has only been made possible with the advancement of technology and is your only physical friend now, it can easily divert your attention away from your tasks. Without people sitting next to you, peering over your shoulder looking at what you are browsing, you might find yourself swept away by videos of goats screaming like humans instead of doing your actual work.
If you’ve just clicked on that link and I’ve lost you, you might want to consider using a website blocker like Mindful Browsing (Chrome) or StayFocusd (Chrome) to help you keep on track. The extensions can help you by blocking distracting websites or social media, breaking the habit and simply improving your relationship with technology.
If you want to incorporate an element of social responsibility while keeping those pesky websites at bay, Forest can help with that. Forest partners with real-tree-planting organization Trees for the Future to plant actual trees in several countries in Africa. You’d be surprised how a website or apps that encourages you to plant virtual trees could cultivate your personal pattern of time management, allowing you to fully concentrate on your work and finish your work effectively.
2. Take charge and recharge
When your work and personal life are now both under the same roof, you might face difficulty to switch off, which results in overworking. Do not let the guilt of working from the place you sleep in prevent you from taking five. Trick yourself to take breaks by setting a reminder to stretch or even to refill your water glass.
Take your break time seriously as if it’s an important appointment. If your work has extended into your break, reschedule it. Once you’re on a break, get up and move away from your desk. This will help to create a psychological distinction between the area that you’re supposed to be productive and other areas for rest and play. Use your break to get away from your workspace, spend time with others who might also be in the house, instead of scrolling through your phone at your work space, which can harm your productivity.
Another way to create clear time boundaries is with the Pomodoro technique developed by Francesco Cirillo. The idea is to break down a task to an allocation of 25 minutes, and once the time allocated is over, take a 5 minute break and start working again. This is repeated 4 times before a longer break of 15-30 minutes. By doing this, it allows for a more focused and productive work result, while managing your energy.
Marinara, a custom productivity timer using the Pomodoro Technique gives you a unique URL for each timer, so you can share it with your coworker. This could help your team to be productive together while managing collaborative tasks.
3. Get you and your workspace ready
Ditch your pyjamas and get dressed up like you are heading for work. When you get dressed, your brain sends a signal that it’s time to work. You might want to eliminate your usual business attire, but donning a pair of business casual sweatpants can help put you in the right headspace to be productive.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to create physical spaces dedicated for work. Even if you don’t have a home office, set up a corner in your living room solely dedicated for work and eliminate any unnecessary clutter. You might be working remotely from home, but using video conferencing tools like Zoom for virtual meetings can allow people to see you and your work environment. Thus, you and your working environment should appear professional.
Additionally, getting yourself and your workspace ready will help your family and peers living with you know that you are “at work”. Of course, this might be extra tricky when you have younger kids at home. Professor Robert Kelly’s home office is clearly an ideal workspace, but we all know what happened next.
If the aforementioned is not sufficient for an optimum working environment, you might want to establish some “rules” on your workspace territory that can help create a boundary within your home everyone will understand.
4. Keep the team’s spirits up
Humans are social animals. The government imposed movement restriction is pushing everyone into an extreme working from home situation which makes the engagement rate drop among us. We won’t have the chance of running into our coworkers around the workplace to engage in small talk, resulting in little-to-no sense of personal connection. We should adapt and improvise in whatever form, and make up for the lack of human contact where we can.
Encourage healthy digital socialization such as virtual tea time where people can dial in and gather virtually through a Zoom video call. You probably have never tried before and can be uncomfortable at first, but it could turn out to be a fun and good way to bond.
Maintaining social connections online can help fellow colleagues who live alone prone to feelings of isolation and depression. Keep the morale up in the team by being cheerleaders for each other while acknowledging the stress and difficulty through this time. Ensuring the team’s wellbeing will help maintain the levels of work productivity all around.
As we take things day by day, we hope you feel supported by what we have shared with you here, getting you remote(ivated) working from home. While there are many unanswered questions, it is crucial for us to channel our value of supporting our community that will carry us through this challenging time together.
Stay strong and take care!