So as we enter another week of lockdown here in the UK, if you are working from home how are you finding it ?
Here’s a second article from me on remote working and in particular how to keep and improve your productivity levels.
As I mentioned in my previous article (which you can find here), I have worked from home for over 10 years now, and quite frankly I love it. For me, along with setting up in business, it was always one key aspect of setting up in business and it continues to work both on professionally and on a day-to-day personal level. It suits my style of work, personality, and role with my clients, and in the past it has suited and helped with such things as family life with being round for the kids and taking them to and from school and sport.
But as we know the world has changed with the pandemic and working from home has been forced upon many of you as a result. If you are doing it for the first time, now you are a few weeks into it the whole novelty value may have worn off. You may be wondering how you can stay focussed and productive and especially now with other distractions of a partner and/or children also around. After all, it could yet be some weeks before a return to the office is in the offering.
So here are a few more tips to hopefully assist you with getting more out of working from home and keeping up and increasing your levels of productivity.
1.Stay in touch with your colleagues
As seeing your work colleagues in person at their desk or in the kitchen is off limits for now, make a point of checking in with your fellow team members on a regular basis. Whether it’s a work-related question or just seeing how someone is doing, use online tools like email, Skype, or Zoom to keep in contact. However, be strict with their use and don’t overuse them or you could find yourself working less and distracting you and your colleagues with endless online conversations. So why not schedule a daily chat with a colleague or perhaps convene a group chat, but set and stick to a time limit where possible
2. Take a break..regularly
When you don’t have the daily routine of commuting, taking a coffee break, going out to lunch, or having the odd gossip with others, it is very easy to work long periods without pausing. And it’s amazing where the time soon goes. So schedule regular breaks, even if it is to just get a tea or coffee, get out from your chair and stretch your legs (in the garden perhaps?), put out some washing.
To not take breaks can actually be counterproductive for it can negatively affect your productivity, performance, and well-being, leading to stress and getting burned out in your job.
So take a break.
3. Keep to a regular work schedule
If you work with others, try to set your core hours for times when your team is also working and online so you can ask questions and get answers in a timely manner. If you find it hard remembering to contact others or perform certain daily tasks, add daily recurring appointments in your calendar to remind you.
One of the perks of working at home is having more flexibility in your schedule (although the current lockdown restrictions means limits your opportunities to go out just at the moment. Nevertheless a schedule – whether it is loose or strict – can allow you more time to do the odd job around the house, spend a bit of time with a partner or children, catching that bit of government recommended daily exercise, even doing the occasional bit of shopping.
4. Maintain a healthy diet
Since you won’t nipping out for a lunch break with your colleagues, you might be tempted to save money and time by eating junk food. Neither is good for your health. So watch what you eat. You can be tempted to have more little snacks than normal with a visit to the fridge and passing the cupboards (you’ll be surprised).
Also preparing healthy meals or a schedule of meals in advance and getting some nutritious (yet tasty) snacks are good ways to staying and eating healthy.
5. Dress for success
So you can lose the tie or business suit by all means, however rolling out of bed and wearing what you wore the night (or day) before will not put you in work mode. Or will it make you look professional especially if you have video conference calls. How you dress affects your attitude toward your job, so finding a happy balance between dressing for work and feeling comfortable in your new temporary working environment is key. You will be surprised just how much an affect what you wear impacts on your demeanour and resulting productivity levels.
6. Avoid distractions and limit your use of social media
If you think you can watch TV shows or sporting events while working, perhaps think again. Contrary to popular belief by some, people cannot really multitask and focus on two things at once. What you find instead is that your brain and focus is quickly switching back and forth between tasks, so your focus, productivity and accuracy suffer.
And then there is the temptation to “quickly” check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media apps or sites. It never ends up that way. You can end up spending a lot of time endlessly scrolling through a feed, watching videos, and clicking on links. The result is it can derail your flow, causing you to spend less time on your tasks. And ask yourself, are you allowed and would normally check it during the day in the office? Many companies have strict policies where they you can’t.
So try to avoid the distractions around you; perhaps have a bit of music or TV noise in the background, but keep it to a level it won’t impact what you are doing. And the same with social media. Stick to a time limit; better still do check on it if you have to first thing in the morning or when you have finished for the day
Working from home has many advantages and allows you to save time and money you would otherwise spend commuting to and from work. By following these tips and other practices you may have thought of, you can maximize your productivity and enjoy a better work-life balance.
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