5 Tips for Effectively Working From Home (Be Your Own Manager!)
With the recent call for social distancing as a result of the global spread of COVID-19, more employers are requiring people to work from home. Chances are you have already started working from home. This is new territory for some as many people are beginning to explore the option of remote work as a way to substitute for lost income.
Staying focused on work when in the comfort of your home takes a little extra effort. Whether it’s the pile of laundry staring at you, or the suddenly attractive snacks in your fridge, other things begin to seem more important than the work that needs to be done.
Identifying that you need a plan is a step in the right direction to effectively working from home.
Here are five tips that will help you effectively work from home.
Get up, dressed, and ready for the day.
Though getting out of bed and starting work right away seems exciting, it’s not a good idea. Showering and putting on some clean clothes psychologically prepares you for work. Getting dressed reminds you that you’re working. It sets the tone for the day and gives a burst of energy for the day.
Keep your morning routine
Do you remember how you woke up at 6 am when you had to transit to work? That’s the same time you should get up now that you’re working from home. Our bodies function optimally when we have a routine, so keeping or mimicking as closely as possible your usual routine will aid your body to function at its best.
It leaves the consciousness that it’s still a workday, even if the location is your home, and it helps you get started each day. It’s important to keep your morning routine because the way you start your day can determine your mood, which affects your focus and productivity throughout the day.
Create a daily schedule, with scheduled breaks
Make a schedule and adhere to it. Identify your work hours and make certain to stick to it… as much as you can, making adjustments where necessary. If you have kids, you may want to take advantage of their sleep times or engage them in time-consuming activities.
Have pockets of time assigned to different tasks and make sure not to exceed the time allocated for each task. This way you’re able to track what you get done, and nothing Is left undone.
Although it may seem tempting to work twice as hard to prove to your team that you’re productive, taking breaks is important when working from home. It helps improve your motivation and productivity. Thinking about it, when in your office, you could pop out to get a cup of coffee, or check in on a colleague. So working from home, you should incorporate breaks, move around, destress, or make a call to a loved one or friend, to check in on them.
A good idea is to add a 10 mins break after completing major tasks, or around the time you would usually take one before you started working from home.
It is also important to let your team know when you are going on a break, in case you need a colleague to cover. Offering to cover a colleague who needs a break is also a way of lending support. We all could use some at this time.
Keep a dedicated workspace
Setting out a designated space that you can associate to work helps condition your mind that it’s work time. It helps you set boundaries for yourself, and the people around you, it means you can tell family not to encroach on that location.
Your work area should be comfortable and tidy. This should not be your couch or your bed, where you can easily snooze off, as the body associates these areas to sleep. A comfortable table and chair should do the trick, in a strategic area in your home. You want to be far from any distractions.
Connect with coworkers/other business owners
Working alone can sometimes be hard, especially if you like having people around you, or are used to physical social interactions on the daily. Staying in touch with coworkers or other business owners on messaging channels, online networking sites, or via team calls regularly will help remove the feelings of loneliness.
Harvard business review suggests having some time at the beginning of your team calls for non-work items. If that is not in place in your organization, you will need to put in an extra effort to stay connected. Check-in with colleagues or other business owners daily. It helps keeps you motivated, and it helps boost your productivity.
A few things that can help:
- Make schedules the night before, and prioritize tasks; revise the schedules if need be
- Include flex time in case something comes up
- Make use of time-tracking apps that allow you to check if you’re sticking with your schedule
Being effective when working from home is a conscious effort to remain disciplined. If you find yourself drifting from work and attending to personal things, remind yourself that it’s work time, then get back to work. Don’t overthink it, everyone lets their attention drift sometimes.
Ultimately, knowing what best works for you is key to effectiveness while working from home. Sometimes, you may need to tweak things to suit your style for optimum productivity.
Please stay safe out there remember to wash your hands often. Keep them away from your face, and limit close human interaction. Stay up to date with the latest news so you can stay healthy.