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More and more workers are gaining the privilege (and challenge) of working from home, which is usually recognised as a dream job. Companies are increasingly providing remote work options for a variety of reasons, including greater employee retention, fewer costs, and the extra security of social separation.
A virtual office is set to be the workplace of the future, given the benefits for employers and employees alike, and the shifting requirements and motivations of the younger labour force.
While studies have shown that employees are more productive when working from home, evidence suggests that these benefits fade over time. You’re probably aware that working from home poses its own set of problems in terms of completing everyday tasks. Here are some helpful hints for increasing your productivity.
Bending over your laptop on a sofa or at the kitchen counter may appear to be convenient at first, but your stressed back and shoulders will soon become a hindrance to your work.
Having a functional and comfortable set-up is essential, whether you’re recycling existing furniture or investing in a new home office desk.
Just because you’re working from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to ergonomics.
If necessary, use blocks to raise your desk or hunt for an adjustable chair that will help you improve your posture.
You can’t control all of the distractions at home, such as your neighbour’s lawn mowing or a particularly raucous bird outside your window. Look for things you have control over, such as setting your telephone or mobile to voicemail to prevent receiving calls from friends and family who just want to chat.
Remove any clutter from your desk, including bills, song lyrics you’re working on with a friend, and anything else that can distract you from your work.
The same goes for your browser tabs and any apps that you’re not currently using to complete a task. If that bird outside the window starts bothering you, try earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out the background noise.
One of the most important advantages of project management software is that it keeps remote workers informed about all current projects of the company. Asana and Basecamp are examples of good software to manage your projects if you work alone.
Project management software could also help you if you work in a remote team and need to delegate tasks.
Technology can help you keep track of tasks and progress on projects, and it’s great to help you engage your employees when working together becomes a challenge.
If your organisation doesn’t already have its own software, do some research and present your findings to your supervisor. It’s a straightforward method to combine two crucial workplace tools for productivity and efficiency, clear communication and responsibility.
It can be tough to get work done when you have other duties at home that keep you busy.
Make a to-do list that prioritises both your professional and personal obligations for the day, such as laundry or collecting the kids from school.
Allocate appropriate time slots for these activities and remember: balance is key! End your day by jotting down the big tasks you need to accomplish the next day so that you can start your day fresh & organised.
It’s not always easy to keep your job and personal life balanced when you live with relatives or flatmates (or homeschooled kids!). This is why it’s a good idea to put your workstation in a different room since it creates a physical barrier that shows you’re at work.
You might also need to establish some ground rules with your housemates/family to ensure that there aren’t any unnecessary interruptions during your core working hours.
Make whatever agreements or time constraints are required for your scenario, but remember that working from home successfully demands everyone’s cooperation.
You should develop a schedule that capitalises on your most productive hours, whether you’re an early riser, a night owl, or somewhere in between.
Lindsay Kolowich (Marketing Manager at HubSpot), for example, takes advantage of the time saved not having to commute by getting straight to work once she wakes up.
If you just work from home for a portion of the week, you might find it helpful to match your home schedule to the days you go into the office.
When you sleep until noon instead of nine a.m., your routine can be thrown off, and you may find it challenging to complete the same amount of work at an equal (or better) level of quality.
When working remotely, 32% of employees said they couldn’t switch off in their own time,’ according to a poll by the human resources association CIPD. Being in “work mode” all of the time during your waking hours, including accepting calls and replying to emails, can, of course, increase your productivity — at least at first.
Burnout occurs when there isn’t enough time to rest or communicate with family and friends.
You may believe that keeping a healthy work-life balance is simpler when you’re at home, but setting time restrictions on when you’re available to clients, co-workers, and managers is still critical.
Francesco Cirillo, an entrepreneur, developed the Pomodoro technique in the 1980s to boost productivity. He recommended splitting the day into 25-minute chunks, with five-minute pauses in between and a two-hour respite.
According to current research, dividing time into 52-minute work sessions with 17-minute breaks is best.
Regardless of how you slice your day, the general consensus is that you need frequent breaks to keep your brain and motivation fresh.
It’s vital to keep in mind that during these intervals, you should be completely removed from your work. It’s not beneficial to continue checking your email or social media when you’re supposed to rest.
Get up from your desk, make a coffee, and have a quick conversation with a friend, neighbour, or family member. Even better, play some fetch or go for a quick jog with your dog to do something active.
Because you’re at home and not wasting your time in a long commute to an office, you also have some extra time in the mornings to complete small tasks at home that you usually put off until late in the evenings — start a load of laundry, manage your bills and finances, or even think about creating new sources of income (check out this list of passive income ideas for inspiration!). After that, get back to work.
We’ve provided some work-from-home tips to help you get the most out of your time. Try them out, and you might find that working from home is just as productive, or more so, as working in an office. By setting the right boundaries in place, you may find that you’re enjoying your work more than ever before!
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