How to stay productive while working from home
While it was impossible to foresee how quickly and how drastically we would all have to change the way we live and work given the current crisis, adapting to new […]
While it was impossible to foresee how quickly and how drastically we would all have to change the way we live and work given the current crisis, adapting to new situations is an important aspect of any business, so this week we’re here to provide some tips on how to maintain your usual levels of productivity as much as possible.
Challenges of home working
For many of you, working from home will be a huge shock to the system, and might be fairly daunting. And importantly, not everyone’s experiences will be the same, so we can’t necessarily provide one-size-fits-all guidance.
You will all, undoubtedly, be in a different environment – depending on where you are, who is at home with you during this time, your level of connectivity to the outside world, and indeed what other pressures you may under. But there are certain practices and attitudes we can all adopt to try and continue with ‘business as normal’.
Use your colleagues
Remote doesn’t mean alone. If you’re working by yourself at home all day, it can get very lonely, so make sure you check in with colleagues, clients, or even friends throughout the day.
Share when things are going well and get support when it’s not. If you’re normally quite a chatty person in the office, check in with your colleagues – either on the phone or via message – especially if there’s someone you think might not be coping particularly well.
Scheduled catch-ups are also a good way to break up the day, and give you something to work towards.
Have a schedule
Speaking of which, giving yourself a schedule is easily the best way to make yourself productive. Many of you may find yourselves with less work than normal, but being organised about it can mean you complete things efficiently, and boost your overall morale.
Set yourself a specific start time (which can be whatever works for your natural body clock), and allocate yourself tasks (or parts of tasks) dependent on your attention span. Hour blocks are normally quite good, with a short break in between.
Organise your day around meetings that you have in the diary – and make sure you prepare for them accordingly. Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you can skip the prep work you would normally do!
If you don’t have any online meetings or calls book something in – a catch-up with a colleague or a summary email to send at a specific time, so you have a goal.
Keep a routine and act as though you’re going to work. This helps to keep weekends sacred too.
As part of your routine, set your own start and finish times – ideally the same every day if that’s what you would normally do.
Preserve lunch times, or adjust your hours around your other responsibilities. If children or others you care for disrupt your plans, don’t worry about it. Take everything a day at a time and change your plans if necessary. Everyone understands that things might not go as smoothly as normal at this time.
Bring your whole self to work
If you’re not getting out and about much, you might feel like you’re just a body lurching from one room to the other. But keeping your energy up is very important to being productive, and exercise can definitely help with that.
Try not to sit down for too long – get up and have a pace around at least every hour – it’s easy to get stuck staring at the screen. Walk and talk too! Several people are proponents of standing up meetings, so why not do this at home? If you don’t need to be typing or referring to lots of documents during an online meeting, then try doing it on the move.
At the end of the day…
It’s hard to switch off from work at the best of times – but this is even more important when it’s in your living space. Make sure you properly ‘Turn off’ at the end of the day – and that means mobile devices as well! Keeping that separation between work time and personal time is very important, especially for your mental health during this difficult period.