2020 has thrown us all some serious curve balls. The COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic has had some significant impacts on how life functions. One of the biggest changes that many of us have experienced is the shift to working from home. The rapid movement to WFH has caused a lot of companies to make quick decisions to ensure the safety of employees while maintaining business continuity. In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at five tips that you can use to remain productive in the current WFH climate.
Work From Home Tip #1: Create a Designated Office Area
The first tip to share about working from home involves creating a designated office area in your home. If there’s one thing that we are all looking for right now, it’s a sense of normalcy. While you might be tempted to answer your emails from the couch with Netflix streaming, fight the temptation. To maintain your productivity, it’s essential that you have a specific space dedicated only to work.
If you have a spare room or an existing office, this process is probably pretty easy. If you do not have this, you should look for a corner of a room that can be blocked off as a work-only zone. While it might seem weird at first, make it a habit of going into your new office space to get used to it. The more time that you spend working there, the more focused and productive you will be. In the next section, we’ll take a look at how this new working process might help you maintain balance.
Work From Home Tip #2: Maintain A Consistent Work Schedule
The second tip to consider about being productive as a WFH employee involves working a consistent schedule. Whenever possible, hold yourself to using your new workspace only during working hours. One way of doing this involves arriving at your desk at the same time each morning. Design a break and lunch schedule that allows you to appreciate walking away for a few moments. When you are working, treat it like you did when you went into the office. Close the door and be “unavailable” to family members.
At the same time, it’s important to only work during your scheduled times. This may be challenging since the physical distance between work and home may only be a few feet. During working hours, put away your unrelated electronics and truly focus on the work. In return, don’t look at work projects during off-hours. In the next section, we will take a closer look at setting and maintaining boundaries with your non-work contacts.
Work From Home Tip #3: Set Boundaries with Family, Friends, Appointments
The third tip about WFH to consider involves setting boundaries between your friends, family, and other types of interruptions. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year, many citizens are at home a lot more often than they were before. Pets, kids, partners, and roommates can create challenges, but your productivity depends on your ability to limit their interruptions. It will take some adjustment for everyone involved, but the end result will mean more focused time on work followed by more focused family/friend time.
As you begin working from home, you will likely notice things you didn’t before. Perhaps the dog barks at any outside sound; maybe the kids are jumping on the couch in the living room; maybe your spouse is running the blender a lot. Find ways to block these outside factors. Consider investing in noise-canceling headphones or earbuds. Many newer versions have the ability to connect to Bluetooth to improve sound quality on conference calls. It might also be helpful to find background music that feels warm, energizing, and encouraging. Avoid music with lyrics as these can be distracting. Ambient, Jazz and Classical music have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve productivity. In the next section, we’ll take a look at ways to feel more engaged with your work by reaching out to your co-workers.
Work From Home Tip #4: Find Ways to Interact
The fourth concept to consider involves looking for ways to increase your communications with co-workers, friends, and family members. While the work part of the equation is likely filled with conference calls, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams meetings, it’s important to maintain your connections with friends and family. A big part of being productive in WFH involves staying engaged with the outside world. It’s important to take a look at yourself and those in your social circles to ensure that support is available. In these unsure times, it’s easier than ever to get lost in isolation and depression. Find times to schedule a friends and family Zoom meeting. Just being able to look at your nearest and dearest from a distance can improve your mood and theirs. In the final section, we’ll take this idea a little further and look at self-care.
Work From Home Tip #5: Don’t Work Off the Clock / Find New Hobbies and Activities
The fifth and final tip for maintaining your WFH productivity involves what happens when you’re not working. While we have been encouraged to minimize our contact with the outside world to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, it’s still important to find ways to avoid cabin fever. Find ways to get outside and spend some time away from your home and working spaces. Research has shown that spending time in nature and doing outside exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and can allow perspective to reflect on all aspects of life.
If you just need some time to relax in your non-working hours, consider reading, watching a movie or television program, or explore cooking a new meal. Be open to possibilities that you might not have considered before. The bottom line with being productive while working from home: you are not alone.
Solar VPS: Your Work from Home Guides
In today’s blog post, we presented five tips for maintaining WFH productivity. These tips might not all work for you but we’re here to help. The team at Solar VPS has been assisting companies of all sizes to find working systems that make their jobs easier. When you’re ready to learn more about how we can help you, contact our team right away!