How To Work From Home Productively & Efficiently
Due to the coronavirus outbreak a lot of us are working from home during quarantine. However this can be quite the challenge if this is the first time you do so. This is especially true to those that have a family and young children in their homes.
In this article of OneHOWTO we are going to give you tips so you can work form home efficiently and productively. Helping you separate work life and family life under the same roof.
Determine your working hours
Working form home can be very challenging as people tend to over-work. So, to stay focused it's best to determine your working schedule. This will allow you to focus when you need to work and relax when you can relax, all under the same roof. When determining this schedule, you may wish to leave your working hours the same as when you would commute to work, or perhaps you want to modify them. Nevertheless, make sure this schedule is sustainable with your lifestyle.
An important factor to determine when working form home is to include breaks into your schedule. It may sound silly but it's the only way you keep yourself on track and continue working productively. Humans work best with routine and when they push themselves a little outside of their comfort zone. So this will be a great opportunity for you to challenge your self-determination and self-discipline.
Once you've chosen your working hours with realistic breaks included. Write it into your agenda, calendar or bulletin board. The goal with writing it down somewhere important to you is making it official. This will make you want to respect it and incorporate it into your new routine.
Now that you have decided on your working hours, it's important to stick to your usual morning routine. This is very important so you are well prepared before starting to work and can respect your working hours.
The idea of productivity is not to work extra hours, but to work more efficiently when you are working. No distractions will help you dive into your workflow and be more creative and productive. Having your usual morning routine, waking up, taking a shower, having breakfast, etc.; will help you be prepared before starting to work. So that once you have begun working, you are not hungry, you are clean, satisfied, fully awaken and have no distractions.
Another piece of advice to include here would be to get fully changed, don't wear your pyjamas. A lot of people cannot get into their productive workflow in their pyjamas. This might simply be due to their habitual routine of getting fully changed for the office. Once they try to work remotely from home in their pyjamas, they realise that they are not as productive as they normally are. If this is the case for you, add getting fully changed into your morning routine. Some people even find wearing shoes inside help them stick to their working hours. Experiment and see what works best for you.
The next step is to assign a dedicated workspace. Ideally this would be a desk with all the tools you need to get your work done, perhaps with natural lighting and a comfortable chair. Having a designated work area will help your mind quickly adapt to work mode once you sit down to begin. Our brains are always associating our environment with the activities we do. This helps us adapt quickly, learn and survive. So why not take advantage of this quality by choosing a workspace to help us get into the correct mindset?
It's important to note that working from bed can cause insomnia for some people as their brain will begin to associate their bed with work. Therefore, try to stick to one or two areas maximum. You can then work when it's time to work and relax when it's time to unwind.
Create the correct atmosphere
These next tips are to create the correct atmosphere so that you can work efficiently.
1. Background noise
Each person works differently. This not only varies because of the work each of us does but also our personalities and habits. Therefore when it comes to creating the right working atmosphere, background noise is a key factor for our productivity. Some people will prefer some light background music to assist them through the work, other prefer complete silence. Whatever it may be, make sure to keep this into account and act accordingly. If you are the type of person that prefers background music, consider wearing earphone or play it wit speakers. Choose music that won't be too distracting as the idea is that the music helps you work, it should not act as a distraction. On the other hand, if you are someone who needs complete silence, you can turn all noises off. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood or if you have young children at home with you, you can consider using sound-proof headphones to block out the noise.
2. Turn off notifications
To get into a no-distractions workspace, turning off unnecessary notifications is very important. Clearly this does not apply to work emails and important chats with your colleagues. What should not interfere is Instagram notifications form your personal account, Whatsapp or Facebook messages from friends outside of work, etc. There are plenty of free apps that you can download that will even help you not to use your phone at all when working. However, if you work with social platforms it may not be ideal. Simply make sure you are not distracted with personal messages and notifications. You can get back to them once you've finished work.
3. Set boundaries
Now that you have set a work schedule and a workspace, it's time to let your family or flatmates know. The trickiest aspect about working from home as a parent is being interrupted by your children. It's not that you don't want to play with them or spend time with them, it's simply that you must finish work to provide for the family. Then, of course, you will spend the rest of your time with them, especially during quarantine.
However for this work and life balance to occur in the same household, you will need to set boundaries. Let your partner and your children know the hours you will need to be alone to work. Let them know that once you've finished you will spend time with them. Remember that balance is key.
4. Have the correct tools
Make sure to communicate with your team so that you will have all the necessary tools to work from home. This will include certain programs you use at the office, perhaps even the company laptop. You can also search for productivity, note-taking or online messaging tools online. There are plenty of useful and free applications and programs available. Write a list of the tools you will need, then do your research to acquire them.
Be in contact with your team
When working in a team, communication is an important factor. Make sure to organise well how you will communicate with your team during quarantine to be able to continue to achieve your company's goals and objectives. Here are some free applications, programs and websites you can consider:
- Google business hangouts
- Yahoo messenger
For video calls or meetings:
- Whatsapp or Telegram video calls
- Google hangouts
- Facebook messenger
Track your progress
Transitioning from working at an office to working at home can be difficult. It's only understandable to see a fall in productivity levels the first few days until you learn to adapt. To ensure yourself that you are back to your normal production rate, you can track your progress. Tracking your progress is useful in many ways, and there are also many ways of doing it. You can opt for the good old pen and paper, or better yet, an online document such as a google file. Having an online document will keep it safe and make it easy to find, share or keep private. You can start off by writing the day, what you've done, the link or document and any comments that may be useful in the future.
We encourage you to do this, not only when working at home but always. It's normal for us to have good days and bad days. The objective of keeping track of our work is not to punish ourselves when we don't live up to our own expectations but simply to keep know what and how we've been doing and to be able to reflect on it.
Socialise after work (quarantine edition)
There is a time and place for everything. By separating your workspace and creating a work schedule, you have started to assign a certain structure to your day to increase your concentration and productivity. However once you've finished the work you've had to do, it's pencils down for the day.
People who work remotely at home have the tendency to over-work and to mix their work and social life together. However this can become overwhelming at times. To maintain a healthy mindset, it's best to avoid over-working and allow everything to come at it's time. Although we are currently in quarantine, this doesn't mean we can't socialise. It only means we must do so in a different way.
Living with family
Once you've finished working you can unwind by spending time with your loved ones. Play board games with your children, learn a new recipe, watch a movie with your partner, play with your pet inside, etc. There are plenty of indoor activities you can do to socialise with your family.
Living with flatmates
When living with housemates, you can have the perfect balance of being alone in your work area and then spending time with them to relax and socialise. You can watch a new show, order food (through drive-thru) or cook together, play video games or boardgames, listen to music, etc. Being able to socialise during quarantine will help everyone be more relaxed and entertained.
Living alone during quarantine can be peaceful for introverts but very challenging for extroverts. If you're living alone and wish to socialise with your friends and family you can try to video call them. Perhaps play online video games or play indoor games with your pet if you have one. Socialising when living alone during quarantine can be difficult but try to find a balance using the available technology we have today.
Stay active (quarantine edition)
Another important factor when working from home is to stay active. This is because daily exercise is proven to help in mental and physical health. You will need to feel happy to be able to produce good-quality work and remain efficient when accomplishing your tasks.
Normally we would recommend being outdoors and taking in some fresh air. However nowadays with the coronavirus outbreak, it's for everyone's safety that you stay inside your home and only leave when truly necessary. Therefore, when it comes to keeping active, you'll have to do this at home too.
First, choose an activity that you truly enjoy. It can be yoga, crossfit, pilates, dance, etc. Then, find an area in your home that allows you to practise that activity. This can be in your living room or maybe even the garage. If you are experienced in the activity you have chosen, you can simply put on a playlist and start. In the case where you'd like to be guided through a workout or dance class, you can search online. There are endless amounts of videos online for you to enjoy. Find one that works for you and start.
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