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In the recent Remote Work Report by Zapier, 95% of U.S. knowledge workers reported wanting to work remotely. The lure of lie ins and pyjamas is understandable, but many of us struggle when we’re taken out of our usual working environment. Whether it’s space, time management or just not being able to resist the cookie jar, when you’re not prepared, working from home can be a lot less efficient than you thought.
If you’re suddenly working from home and finding it tough, don’t worry. Here’s seven working from home tips that will help you get your work done, (and maybe even more effectively than usual!)
Stick to a routine
While the prospect of crawling out of bed in your pyjamas to your desk at 8.55am is appealing, don’t do it! Humans are creatures of habit. Allowing disruptions to your routine so early on can throw the rest of your day out of whack. A lie in is a perk of working from home, but still get up, showered and dressed for a day of work. Sounds small, but psychologically you’re reminding yourself that this is a work day, and not a pyjama day.
Designate a working space
Again, this is about creating healthy habits. Some people can successfully work from bed, or their sofa, but it’s not the vast majority of us. Your bed and sofa are areas your brain and body associate with relaxation. It takes a strong will to ignore the habits you’ve made there. (So yes, no naps or Netflix!)
Instead of scrambling to find a quiet space at 9am, give it some thought and set yourself up the night before. Once you have designated this area for your ‘home office’, it’ll help you behave more diligently when you’re in it.
Scrub up your time management skills
Working from home means how you structure your day is suddenly largely in your own hands. If you aren’t strict with yourself, you’ll inevitably waste time. This is a shame, as working from home can be a period of increased productivity if done right!
Set out your day. Whether you block off time periods in your calendar for certain tasks, write to-do lists or choose to focus on high-value activities – whatever way you manage your time, just be sure to actually do it. Another important tip here – don’t forget to factor in breaks and adhere to your working hours.
Here are some of our favourite time management techniques to check out:
Connect with co-workers
It’s easy to feel a little isolated when you’re working from home. But with more people than ever before working from home, we’re all in the same boat. Set up short stand-ups with your team first thing in the morning. These can be done over Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts. A quick chat with your teammates is great for accountability and communication, but also morale. Meetings can still happen digitally, or over the phone. Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re alone.
Limit interactions with friends and family
We know this is easier said than done if you’re at home with small children. But as far as possible, try to limit conversations with loved ones, children, flatmates and family. Of course, this is all within reason but it’s helpful to try to set some boundaries with other people in the house with you. Being treated as if you are in the office will help you stay in the headspace to get your work done.
Is it time for an early lunch? Maybe you could have another cup of coffee? Does the bathroom need cleaning? Look, we get it. There’s a very strong chance your home will never be cleaner, or that you’ll put on an extra half stone when you’re working from home – and it’s all thanks to procrastination. A particularly difficult habit to crack, but organisation is the antithesis of procrastination. Set goals and deadlines throughout your day. Remove distractions from your work area and assign break and lunch time in advance.
With your day mapped out in front of you, a reward at the end of it is a good way to incentivise yourself to get through it. Your commute time has been given back to you, so how can you make best use of this new time? Perhaps you can cook a fancier meal or check out a series you’ve been meaning to watch. Take some time to self improve. Read that book you’ve been meaning to, or catch up with some e-learning on SocialTalent. Decide what treat awaits you in the evening and consider it a reward for working through your day.