Alarm goes off at 7:30am, freshen up, come down stairs in your pyjamas, make yourself a coffee and a bite to eat. You look at the clock and it’s already 8:00am! Are you late for work? Your commute most likely doesn’t take more than a couple minutes as you make your way to your at-home work space. We can credit the world-wide pandemic for opening up a new standard for when it comes to our new daily routine.
Studies show that about seven out of 10 employees work remotely full time or part of the time. Of those seven workers, four of them prefer to work in the office. However, regardless of your preference, it looks like remote working will be the new norm for the foreseeable future with a slow transition back to office life. Some offices are re-opening slowly with limited desk space available that needs to be pre-booked. The days of having a personal desk space may soon be a thing of the past.
Whether or not working from home is your preference, it pays to know how to work from home effectively. Without keeping a close eye on your time and activities, you may start to see some negative consequences of working in a more relaxed environment.
Here are some suggestions on how to be productive while working from home:
1. Create a Reliable Daily Routine. Working from home saves you the hassle of a morning commute, but this doesn’t mean you should roll out of bed and right into work. It is important for professionals to stick to a morning routine that works for you. Whether you like to meditate, exercise or catch up on the news over a cup of coffee, do what works for your lifestyle. If you are supposed to start work at 8 a.m. and wake up at 7:55, you’re not giving yourself a good start to the day. Give yourself time to complete your regular morning routine. Tools like white boards that can be easily seen with your written out daily schedule can help you stay on track!
2. Remember to “Clock Out”. While remote work comes with the perk of no commute time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly working. It’s all too easy to start your day sooner and work later into the evening since you are already at home. However, McManus says this is a bad habit because you will start to feel like you spend all your time working. To avoid this, be sure to sign off for the day at an appropriate time. We suggest having a little alarm clock, with a reminder alarm set to your “clock out” time to make sure you ‘get home’ at your regular time.
3. Schedule Breaks to Give Your Mind a Break. Even if you work in a home office with the doors shut, distractions are all around you. Rather than getting lost in a text message conversation, the endless rabbit hole of social media scrolling, putting on a load of laundry or coming across a great recipe you just have to try, schedule in regular breaks so that you don’t get lost in your work or your distraction. Try setting a timer to keep yourself on track. To ease the distractions within the home, a pair of noise reduction headphones may be the accessory you need!
4. Plan Out Your Work Lunch and Snacks. In the workplace, you often have to pay for snacks in the vending machine. At home, all the food is there for the taking—no loose change necessary. Prepare your lunch and snacks the night before, and pack it into a lunch bag to bring to your work space.
5. Schedule Active Time. Your fitness routine may be thrown off, too, especially if you are accustomed to working out on your way to or from work. This could mean going for a short walk around the block or pausing for a yoga break. The idea is to try and eat mindfully and stay active while working from home.
You can work from home successfully if you keep yourself accountable. Create a reasonable schedule for your work and try to adhere to it as much as possible. Be sure to stay mindful about how you spend your time and look for ways to get up from your laptop. You can be productive and still enjoy the perks of working remotely by striving to avoid the bad habits above.