Working from home has become the new normal for many people, and while there are plenty of perks to a more flexible working day, there are also downsides to consider. Being at home often means we find it harder to stay focused on tasks, and the line between work and home begins to blur until it is difficult to tell the difference.
One of the biggest potential issues is a drop in productivity due to the increased distractions and lack of structure, but there are some steps you can take to stay on track. This guide includes some handy hints and tips to help you stay productive when working from home.
Have a dedicated workstation
While working with a laptop on the sofa or in bed could be fun for a few days, it is not conducive to a long-term set-up. It is unlikely to inspire you to do your best work and will also lead to aches and pains. Instead, you should set up an area in the home which is only for work and has everything you need within arm’s reach. If you do not have a spare room you can turn into an office, work at a desk and chair in a quiet area of the home.
If you are struggling to get the professional space you need at home, e.g. on days when the family are home or you have a particularly important meeting, you might also want to consider booking a desk or office at a Clockwise co-working space.
Get out of the house
At least once a day, get out of the house. Spending all day and night in your home will have a detrimental impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Even if you only have 20-30 minutes to spare, take a walk around the block, breathe in some fresh air, and reset your brain.
Block out time for “shifts”
The flexibility of working from home is a great attraction, but it can also bring a lot of interruptions and distractions. Rather than setting yourself a single 8-hour shift which is bound to be interrupted, consider breaking the time down into shifts. This may make it easier to stay focused and will give you regular breaks to help you recharge.
Write a daily task list
To keep you on track and prevent procrastination, write a list of all the tasks you will complete each day. Attack one task at a time and tell yourself that your working day is not complete until all the tasks are checked off. Try not to fall into the trap of missing one or two tasks out and thinking “I’ll do that tomorrow”, as you will only end up in a never-ending cycle of incomplete work.
Cut out distractions
Working on a computer can be a source of many distractions, whether it is sorting out those non-essential bits of personal admin, shopping, social media, or checking the news/weather for the fourteenth time. When you are at work, close all tabs and turn off notifications which are not related to work. Tell your friends and family which hours you are working and discourage them from contacting you during those times unless it is an emergency.
Look after yourself
It can be tempting to nip off to the kitchen for regular snacks when you are working from home, so have a substantial breakfast in the morning to minimise hunger pangs. Have a shower, brush your teeth, and put some clothes on which are comfortable (but not loungewear). It is also important to stay connected with colleagues and friends, so consider planning lunch dates or virtual meetings to maintain social connections as this is important to your mental health.