The quest to stay productive from home amidst the coronavirus pandemic continues for employees. Now that the COVID-19 has become the new normal, companies may have to shift gears and offer more flexibility to their employees. However, is working from home more or less productive than working in a traditional office environment?
Some research highlights the answer to this question is not black and white. It all comes down to the ability, concentration level, and organized home office structure of employees. There are several challenges remote employees have to face, but they can still improve their productivity standards working remotely.
From full-time employees to independent workers, here are the best ways to stay productive in the remote work environment:
Create Boundaries in Home
When you’re working from home, you have to set some specific boundaries and rules for people living in the same house. Your goal should be to stay productive without minor distractions from family members.
It is the aspect that most remote workers struggle with – it unleashes a series of distractions throughout a day that impacts productivity standards. Essentially, you have to create visual “red” and “green” signals at the home office to indicate whether you’re free or working.
Set Up a Dedicated Home Office
If you want to keep your home and work lives separate, you will have to create a home workspace. In fact, you should create a separate permanent space for work that is separate from your room and everyone in the house.
However, if you don’t have the luxury to create a separate and personalize space, find a semiprivate and quiet area in the home. If you have kids in the home or share the household space with someone else, it is a great strategy to find a quiet space where you can be most comfortable.
Build a Home Workstation You Love
If you have a big monitor or dual-monitor system, you’d be surprised how productive you can be in a short time. Similarly, if you intend to sit for long hours, make sure to get a comfortable ergonomic chair. In fact, think of the chair as an investment that would prevent back pains and help you stay focused.
But there are many minor and major aspects of working from home that you have to optimize. Ultimately, no matter what structural and comfort changes you make, make sure it is a workstation and workspace where you can enjoy working each day.
Create and Follow a Consistent Routine
Ideally, if you want to remain productive at work, you will need to create and follow a strict routine. In fact, view this routine through the same lens as a traditional office routine. Therefore, keep consistent and regular work hours at home.
For instance, set more than just one alarm so that you don’t oversleep. Whether you work in the morning or night, enforce the same rule about multiple alarms. Ultimately, you have to make “your” daily home-based routine work. You don’t necessarily have to take a page from another worker.
No one understands better than you how your routine should be each day. It is the secret not to work hard but work smart. In fact, your daily remote work routine can be productive and healthy so long as you have an organized schedule and workspace.
Organize Your Work
You don’t have to wait for your work hours to figure out how you want to organize your workspace. The best course of action for you would be to create an extensive list of all the activities you have to complete in a day. Think of it this list as a way to gain more focus for your daily tasks.
The trick, however, is to create a realistic list. In fact, your list should revolve around the tasks you need to complete in a specific day. Nonetheless, this list can become your guide to create a more productive daily routine and save valuable time.
Make the Most Out of Time Blocking
Time blocking refers to the process of dividing your daily routine tasks into small time blocks or chunks. Time blocking is a time management approach that allows you to take care of your work-related activities and tasks more efficiently.
The more time you save from the time blocking method, the more time you will have to take breaks and exercise. It is a practical way to avoid burnout and work overload issues. Whether you want to be productive at home or in traditional office settings, it boils down to your time management skills. It is a skill that allows you to be more aware and responsive to how you spend your entire workday.
Turn Your Notifications Silent during Work
Generally, it is vital to make your notifications silent in traditional office settings. However, it is of paramount importance to stay away from mobile device notifications when you’re working from home. Whether it’s Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, make sure the notifications are silent before starting your work routine. Another way to avoid notifications altogether would be to put your smartphone out of sight to concentrate solely on your work.
Make Space For Creative Time
Aside from your regular work routine, you should also make ‘creative time’ a priority; a purposeful, meditative action will surely boost your productivity and will also impact on your mood throughout the day.
Take Small Breaks
Working from home can turn into a nightmare when employees don’t take small breaks. In fact, it impacts your professional and personal life. Not to mention the mental health implication that comes with a distraught work environment.
Therefore, leave your work for the workspace at home and take small breaks to relax and spend some time with your close family members. If you think you have more than enough time on your hands to complete the work-related tasks on a specific day, go for a short walk outside. When you return home, you will notice more sense of calm and relaxation in your behavior.
As more non-essential employees accept that they may have to work remotely for the remainder of the coronavirus outbreak, there is more need to be organized and communicative. In hindsight, employees have to have set up a separate workspace at home to achieve optimal concentration.