Working from home sounds simple enough at first - it’s convenient, you don’t need to commute and you get to work from the comfort of your sofa - but after a few days, you may realise just how easy it is to get distracted. However, by putting a little thought into keeping motivated and disciplined, you can increase your productivity levels and may even work more efficiently than ever before.
Thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, some companies are finding themselves suddenly having to adapt to working from home. It’s realistic to say that a “home office” will become the new norm for many of us over the next few months, with coronavirus reaching pandemic status, but this isn’t to say that it is easy to adjust to.
Going from a normal daily routine, where you chat with coworkers, take calls, head to the shops and have meetings, you may suddenly find yourself sat at home on your own, or juggling keeping children entertained and self-isolating with partners. Being unable to get out for fresh air and a lack of social interaction can have huge effects on your ability to work, so we all need to be taking steps to ensure that we are working as efficiently as we can during these times. With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can work from home more efficiently whilst you are self-isolating.
Create the right environment
Having clear to-do lists and deadlines are just as important when you are working from home. In order to make remote work as efficient as office-based work, you need to be sure that you are working in the right environment. You should have access to a suitable digital infrastructure, where you can find important files, emails and work tools and your employer is responsible for ensuring that you have access to the necessary hardware and software you need to do your job.
As well as this, you should have your own workspace, where you can work in peace at home. Although it is easier said than done, you need to make sure that your work and home life are separate in order for you to concentrate. Ideally, you should work somewhere where you can close the door so that you can block out noise and distractions, but if you live in a smaller home where this is unachievable, having an area which is designated for your office space can work too.
Out of sight certainly doesn’t mean out of mind. It is so important that you stay connected with your coworkers via chat, phone, email and voicemail during this time, both so that your are all communicating in regards to work, but also so that you keep a sense of normality.
It’s better to be overcommunicative, rather than under so don’t be afraid to be too specific or overexplain things. Video conferencing is a great way to to feel close to your colleagues again, and don’t be afraid to spend a few minutes discussing personal matters - this is a very unusual time afterall!
Be sure to set specific times aside to take breaks, and stick to them if the nature of your work allows you to do so. When your workday is finished, step away from your home office space and switch off your laptop and work phone, if your job doesn’t require you to be on call throughout the evening. It is important now more than ever to have clear boundaries between work and home, especially as you can’t get out of the house and you should avoid doing an extra hour here and there to give yourself a break.
It’s hard to avoid snacking when you work from home, but as we are now unable to be as active as we would like due to self-isoaltion, it is important to stick to main meals and healthy snacks during the day. Many people snack out of boredom, so you should try to prepare your meals ahead of time so that you can just grab and go when you get hungry. You should also stick to a designated “dinner time” and try to have it at the same time every day to create a routine.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help you to feel better too, and keep you focused. Now might be a good time to start taking vitamins and supplements, such as multivitamins, zinc and magnesium tablets so that your health and immune system is in better shape, should you contract the virus.
Working from home everyday means that you are much more likely to stay sat in your chair or on your sofa all day, so it is important to exercise regularly, or at least get up and walk around the house every hour or so, even if you just take a call walking around. If you are lucky enough to have a garden or live near to a park, then going for a walk during the day will help you to reset your mind and focus - just remember to keep your distance from other people, or you could even try home workouts before or after work.