More and more people are now making the switch to working from home and for some, it may be overwhelming. You are not alone. How do I stay productive? How will I correspond with coworkers? How do I separate work life from home life?
Like working in an office, working remotely has its pros and cons. It’s easy to focus on the cons, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Whether you’re new to working from home or have been doing it for a while now, it never hurts to get tips and new ideas to be productive and stay level headed.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication is important in any relationship, especially work relationships. Even though you may be physically distanced from your coworkers talking to them is just as important when you’re working from home as it is working in an office. The first step is finding a communication service that works for you and your workers. Some services that are already being used for those working remotely are Slack, Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts/Drive. These services are exceptional for business and companies due to the ease of file sharing, instant messaging, and conference/video calls available.
Social interactions and chats with your coworkers are also highly recommended, especially if this is something you’re already used to. It’s not an excuse to procrastinate on your work, but it can be beneficial to incorporate “water cooler” time into your work day.
2. Have Reliable Tech
It may not be the first thing you think of when working from home, but having reliable technology is the most important concern when working from home. If you don’t have a desktop computer at home, a laptop or tablet can be simple substitutes. It’s also important to have a reliable wireless network (WiFi), so if you have issues contact your wireless provider as soon as possible. It might also be helpful to have a keyboard, a mouse, good speakers, a second screen, or a quality webcam available.
3. Create a Work Space
Working from home can make it difficult to stay productive. That is why you should create a workspace in your house, separate from the relaxation spaces in your home. This means your workspace shouldn’t be in your bed, on your couch, or anywhere else you may lounge around. Not only will this help you be more productive, but it will also help separate your work life from your home life while they may be in the same place.
Separating the two will also help you to relax in your off time. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your relaxation and recreational time.
4. Make a Daily Schedule
Working from home you can easily cause you to fall into a slump. To fight this you can create a structured daily schedule, make a to-do for your work day that is S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound), communicate to those you live with when your “do not disturb” time is and stick to it. Leaving your phone in another room can also help you stay on schedule.
5. Don’t Wear Pajamas
It may seem like a good idea at first, but working in your pajamas will most likely make you less productive throughout the day. Pajamas and other loungewear puts your brain in “relaxation mode” instead of “work mode.” Some find it helpful to get ready in the morning as they would for a job outside of the house because it also helps your brain shift to “work mode” easier. Getting ready can also put your mind at ease if you find yourself having frequent video calls throughout the week.
This does not mean that you have to get all dressed up every day to work from your home, let’s be honest nobody has time for that. However, creating a morning routine will help you to function better during work.
6. Play a “Productivity” Playlist
Some people can’t work with sound or other distractions, but those that can look up “productive playlists” on Apple Music or Spotify. These playlists on major platforms were created specifically for individuals that need a calm work environment. Now’s the perfect time to take advantage of them!
7. Take Breaks
If you’re able to take breaks throughout your day, do it. It’s just as important for breaks in the office as they are at home. Whether it’s walking around the house for 5 minutes or around the block or do a load of laundry. Find something small to break up your workday because they can give your brain a chance to recharge. It may help you be more productive during the time that you are working, as long as you stick to that work time. Make no mistake, it is not normal or good to look at a computer screen for 8-9 hours straight.