Forced to work from home due to the global coronavirus crisis? The initial joy of being able to work from home can be quickly replaced by worry, a lack of motivation and never-ending distractions.
How on earth do you get things done when there’s so many distractions? While home working can deliver a lot of benefits, there are a lot of challenges it presents too.
Here, you’ll discover some useful tips you can follow when it comes to transitioning to working from home.
SET UP A QUIET WORKSPACE
With all of the distractions at home, it can be really hard to concentrate on work. This is especially true if you have kids at home. So, if you want to ensure you can get things done in peace, it’s worth setting up a quiet working space. Try and use a room that isn’t frequently used during the day. Place a sign on the door when you’re trying to work to let others know not to disturb you. Make sure the workspace is comfortable too as you won’t get a lot done if you aren’t comfortable.
START AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
One of the main challenges that can come from working from home is delaying the time you usually start. It’s tempting to have a lie in bed and take longer to relax in the morning before starting. However, this only zaps your productivity.
If you want to ensure you stay productive, you’ll want to start as early as possible. The positive side to this is that the earlier you start, the earlier you’ll get to finish!
SET SOCIAL LIMITS
You’ll have a lot more time to check in on social media when you haven’t got the boss breathing down your neck. However, it’s easy to waste hours using social media accounts if you aren’t careful. Many home workers find it useful to set limits on their social media use during working hours. It could be simply committing to using it during a specific time for example. Having limits in place makes you more aware of how much you’re using it.
ALWAYS PREPARE FOR THE DAY AHEAD
When you go out to work, you know there’s things you need to do to get ready for the day. You have a routine which prepares you for work. However, when you start working from home you don’t really have that. Rather than thinking you can now work in your pajamas all day, make the effort to get dressed. Create a morning routine which sets you up for work. That way, you’ll find it much easier to stay productive if your mindset is geared towards work.
MAINTAIN YOUR USUAL "GET READY" ROUTINE
It’s really important to try and maintain your usual routine. This means, getting ready for work in the same way you usually do. So, wake up at the same time, have your usual cup of coffee and get dressed into your work clothes. It’s amazing how much of a difference this can make to your productivity.
RESPOND TO COMMUNICATION QUICKLY
If you receive emails from colleagues and clients, make sure you respond quickly. When you’re working in isolation, waiting hours, or even days, just to get a reply can be tough. So, ensure your colleagues and clients don’t feel ignored by responding as quickly as you can to communication.
These are some of the best ways to stay connected when you’re working from home. It isn’t always easy, but if you make the effort, you’ll feel much less isolated. It can be a real shock to the system moving from office to home working. So, allow yourself a period of adjustment to deal with the changes and adopt a more flexible working approach.
DECLUTTER YOUR WORKSPACE
You’re going to find it hard to stay productive if your workspace is cluttered. So, before you start, take time to clean up the area you’re planning on working in. Get rid of any clutter and organize the space. The cleaner and tidier the space is, the easier you’ll find it to focus on your work.
TAKE BREAKS AND GET OUTSIDE
Suddenly being cooped up in the house all day can be detrimental to productivity. It can cause issues with low mood and leave you feeling less motivated to get through your workload.
By taking regular breaks and making time to get out into the yard, it can really boost those productivity levels. Spend just 10-15 minutes gardening or reading a book outdoors to help refresh productivity levels.
UTILIZE THE POWER OF NATURE
Did you know that plants and flowers can help you to feel more motivated? Adding them into your workspace can help to brighten up the working environment. Numerous studies have shown how effective greenery can be within an office environment. So, if you want an easy way to stay productive, add a few houseplants and flowers to your home office.
You can also utilize the power of scent too. In some countries, workplaces spray citrus scents to boost employee productivity. Try experimenting with different scents to see which ones make you work more efficiently.
USE DISTRACTIONS AS A REWARD
Distractions don’t have to be a bad thing. They can be used to reward yourself after completing work tasks.
For example, if you love nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV watching your favorite shows, allow yourself the opportunity to watch something after completing a project.
Similarly, you could use social media in the same way. Once you’ve completed a task off your to-do list, reward yourself with a short period of time on your social media channels.
Using distractions as a reward can help to keep you focused and boost your motivation to get your work done.
CONSIDER WORKING IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE HOME
It’s common to set aside just one place to work from. However, did you know you may find it more productive to work in various areas of the home?
It’s all about adding variety into your new working environment. Some days, the spare room may be the best place to get work done. Other times, you may find it more beneficial to work on the dining room table or in the back yard. Don’t limit yourself to where you can work, mix it up and watch your productivity levels increase.
ADD A LITTLE BACKGROUND MUSIC
This tip might not be useful to everyone, but many professionals claim working with background music on can limit their distractions. You’ll want to focus on calming music, rather that something that makes you want to sing along.
Alternatively, listening to podcasts and audiobooks in the background can also work well. So, if you struggle with productivity, try adding a little background noise and see if that helps.
RESIDE TO CHECK EMAILS SPARINGLY
Checking emails is important when you work from home. However, it can also take up a lot of time. So, you’ll want to limit how many times you check them during the day.
Ideally, you’ll want to check them first thing in a morning, then after you’ve completed each task you’re working on.
TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Finally, a great tip is to turn off those notifications. Social media, news and app notifications can all prove really distracting when you’re working from home. So, turn them off until after work to boost productivity.
PARENTING, WORKING AND TEACHING: CREATE AND WORK FROM A SCHEDULE
The recent coronavirus outbreak has meant that millions of parents across the globe are now facing the impossible task of being a parent, worker and teacher.
Getting through your day is difficult enough when you’re trying to work from home with the kids. However, when you also have to home school them at the same time, it can prove to be a real challenge.
The one thing that’s going to prove invaluable during this time, is creating and maintaining a schedule. The kids need a schedule and you need one to help you keep up with your increased duties.
Start with making a schedule for the kids. You can include educational activities, play time and mealtimes. When they know what they are working on and have a schedule to follow, it makes it so much easier for both them and you. Kids need a routine and they’ll be a lot happier when they’re following one.
MAKE TIME FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
It can be tough trying to work when the kids have bundles of energy. So, why not help them burn off that energy so you can work in peace?
Getting them to partake in physical activity helps to wear them out as well as keep them healthy. So, encourage time running around in the back yard. You could cerate a mini assault course or look online for physical games you could play. Once they’ve finished their physical activity, they will be more likely to play quietly for a period of time.
DON'T TRY TO BECOME A TEACHER
Now that the kids are off school, you may feel like you have to become a teacher. You really don’t. It’s not your job to research and familiarize yourself with the topics they cover at school.
Instead, focus on educational activities they can do such as reading. You can also set up things such as sensory buckets and let them use educational apps. If the school provided digital work they can follow, don’t forget to utilize that too. If you look online, you might also find free workbooks they can use.
PLAN ENGAGING ACTIVITIES
When you need to get on with an important project, it can help to get the kids immersed in an engaging activity. Craft projects tend to be a popular option. They are fun for the kids, and they take a while to complete.
You’ll find hundreds of craft project ideas online. Try and find something which utilizes supplies you already have in the home. Then, they can be getting on with their crafts while you complete your important work tasks.
CREATE A ROUTINE EARLY ON
Working from home and having the kids home all day is a new experience for both you and them. Therefore, it’s going to help if you create a routine as early as you can.
Kids thrive with a routine so make sure you all have set wake up, meal and bedtimes. Try and schedule time you can spend together on your breaks too. That way, they are still getting one to one attention from you, reducing the likelihood they’ll pester you when you need to get on with work.
TALK THROUGH ISSUES WITH YOUR EMPLOYER
If you are having issues juggling everything, don’t be afraid to talk to your employer. They may give you additional days off so you can get used to the new arrangement.
Remember, there are a lot of people going through the same situation as you right now. It’s not easy but remind yourself that it is only temporary. The above tips will help you to better juggle your new responsibilities in the time being.