How to work from home effectively
Working remotely is unusual for many people. However, the outbreak of the coronavirus has compelled many individuals to adjust to working from home whether conducive or not. The following are effective ways to be productive while performing your job responsibilities from home.
Have a schedule
It is key to set and maintain regular working hours. Have a time you start working and a time you end. This will enable you maintain a work-life balance while working remotely. Also, it is relevant to maintain flexibility and give room to either start earlier than planned or end later than expected. Such provisions are necessary due to likely online meetings that require accommodating or incorporating other people’s schedules from a separate time zone. In situations where you work over your scheduled time, ensure to make up for it with some extra sleep the following day. This helps to prevent stress and lethargy.
Have a time tracker
While working from home, it is efficient to track your working times to know when you take breaks and how long the breaks are. Likewise, paying substantial attention to the times you work will help you stick to a reasonable schedule. Moreover, it keeps you up to speed with the timings or periods that you are most productive. Some people work better in the evenings and others at dawn. Hence you can apportion work that involves more mental effort for the times you are most efficient and the less tedious tasks for other hours of the day.
Create an efficient workspace
Your environment is very important while working remotely. Typically, working from home gets difficult for many due to the setting. Hence, create a space either in your room or a portion of your house where you can sit to work. If you have a study, then you’re already on track to getting the results you want. Replicating an office space at home will allow you to get into work mode. Ensure you have a desk and a comfortable chair, as well as office stationery and an internet connection. So, although you’re home you would have created a place or space that becomes like your office at home.
Have an agreement with the people you share your space with
This is a very fundamental part of working from home. If you live with a spouse, your family, roommates etc., it’s important for the people you share your space with to know of your working arrangement. A formal discussion of your work times and need for space is key. If you have children, you can ensure you use their nap times as periods to do work which requires a lot of concentration or put them on a schedule to afford you time to do the things you need to do. What is most important is you incorporate the people you live with into your plan by communication first. Similarly, by creating ways for compromise and respect.
Reduce or avoid distractions
One major reason why a lot of people detest working from home is due to distractions. The home setting for a lot of people comes with distractions out of their control. For example, barking dogs, noisy activities outside or sometimes the weather. For the controllable distractions like the television or your bed, it is important to work in a space far from these things. This can also apply to uncontrollable situations like a neighbour’s barking dogs. Some people feel their homes are too hot due to the lack of air condition or too cold due to the lack of heaters. It’s key to invest in equipment that will make you the most productive. Most importantly, the best form of practicing avoidance from distractions is with your mind. Create your peace in the chaos.
For the things you can’t control, you would need to find ways to adjust to ensure you get the output you want. This usually starts with your mental framework. Once in work mode people can close off mentally from what is happening around them. This can be with music or simply ignoring or giving little attention to what is happening around you. The fundamental objective is you need to produce results at all costs. Once you give this challenge to your brain, be rest assured that with discipline it will step up to the plate.
Set a morning routine
Working at home is still like going to work, just this time in a different setting. Hence, have a proper routine which helps to get your mind into the usual work mode. It could be by showering first, getting dressed and having breakfast. The same routine you would have if you were going to work on a regular day. Once you can get yourself into a functional and organised routine, it would be easy to transition in the morning from the relaxed mentality of being at home into a more serious one for work.
It is easy to become lethargic or burned out while working remotely. This can come through monotony or little interaction as compared to when you’re in an office. Making time in your schedule to exercise is important to keep you mentally active. Studies by Harvard Medical School show that, exercising frequently helps to improve your memory skills. Furthermore, researchers from British Columbia discovered that consistent aerobic workout increases the size of the hippocampus. This is the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Hence, while working from home ensure you make time to incorporate exercise into your routine to help you be more effective. If exercising alone feels boring or unstimulating, find fun workout sessions online. This always creates the effect and discipline working out with other people does.
When working from home you may not have as much access to your boss or colleagues. It is for this reason that it’s pertinent to engage in as much communication as possible. If you have a team leader or boss you report to, do not hesitate to check in with them on grey areas in your work. With apps like zoom, slack, etc., working and communicating with colleagues and business partners is a lot easier. Take advantage of such platforms to have meetings and keep up with projects, targets or work schedules. Also, this can help reduce the boredom that working from home can sometimes create. Calling in to inquire from your boss or work colleagues about tasks can help boost your motivation to stay focused and complete tasks successfully while at home.
Working remotely is the future of work for many people in the world. Especially since the coronavirus pandemic it’s become more evident that this means of getting work done is not only possible but also cost effective. It is an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone of being in an organised work setting, to creating a place of productivity in your home. The main goal is to produce substantial results irrespective of where it is done.