With the recent Corona-virus pandemic, more and more people have experienced a shift to remote work and the home office. After months of business closures, self-isolation and threats of repeated outbreaks, it seems the trend of working from home will become a long-term or even permanent change for many working professionals.
The home office, however, can be quite a challenge for professionals used to the business office environment. With an abundance of distractions at home and the lack of separation from your work life and personal life, focusing on your remote work can prove a difficult task.
Pick a Location For Your Remote Workspace
Before getting started on your remote work at home, you should choose a location where you will have all your work-related items. While you can certainly move around the house with your laptop, spending time in the kitchen or on the couch, you will want a central location for your files, paperwork and other work-related items.
Haphazardly placing files and documents throughout the house will not only break your concentration, but waste your time and energy when you need to find your notes. Choose a central location where you can keep all your work-related items.
Keep Your Workspace Tidy and Clean
Once you have designated a location for your remote work materials, spend some time each day before you begin cleaning and organizing your space. It is important when working from home in the remote work environment to keep a sense of order and organization. Cleaning your workspace will not only help you stay organized, but will energize you and help you get into the working frame of mind.
Clean Up and Dress For Success
While it is tempting to get out of bed when doing remote work at home and just start work in your pajamas, a daily pre-work routine can help in many ways, much like stretching before a workout.
- Taking a shower before dressing can help clear your mind and boost your energy.
- Dressing for business will help you be more inspired to work and keep you focused.
- You’ll be ready for any video meetings that might pop up. Being dressed up for a meeting will help boost your confidence and you won’t be wondering if your attire may be a little inappropriate.
Prioritize Your Workflow and Make Large Projects More Manageable
First determine which projects you will want to finish first. Generally you can find yourself more productive after finishing some easy projects first. Starting these first can give you that boost to move onto more difficult projects.
Breakup larger projects into manageable chunks. Large, difficult projects can sometimes be demoralizing when it isn’t clear how long it will take to finish. Make an outline of your project first, then work on each section as a small project in itself. You will soon feel yourself getting into the groove of your workflow and won’t be dreading your project and looking for distractions.
You can try to plan your workday the night before. Spending 5 to 10 minutes making a roadmap for the next day will help reduce the stress of not knowing what to do while feeling overwhelmed as work piles up.
Limit Your Distractions
With social media and internet browsing, it’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole and let a whole day go to waste. Some tips to keep yourself away from these distractions when doing remote work:
- Disable app notifications – If you are browsing on your phone, you can disable notifications for the social media apps you use. Without hearing reply ‘dings’ every five minutes, you can focus on work.
- Use a Digital Wellness app, such as Google Digital Wellbeing where you can set timers where apps won’t disturb you, while still getting important work-related notifications.
- Uninstall programs and apps – If temptation to browse is too great, uninstall programs and applications that aren’t work-related. Keep these on a separate device or computer that you can use outside of work or on breaks.
Take Regular Breaks From Your Work
A big killer of creativity and productivity comes from working long stretches non-stop. Your brain needs a break periodically to reset and see things anew. Set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes and plan on taking a 5- to 15 minute break in between. On your break, take a brisk walk, wash your face and drink some water. This will help renew your energy and come back re-focused to your remote work.
Exercise and Workout
Even if gyms are closed, you can still get a workout, even during breaks throughout the workday. Exercise helps oxygenate the brain which in turn helps with focus and concentration. Working out a little throughout the day can also be much better than saving your workout for the evening when you are already tired.
- Take a brisk walk outdoors. Even during a quarantine, the outdoors shouldn’t be closed. Some sunlight and fresh air will help invigorate your spirits.
- Do squats for a minute. Simple bodyweight squats can elevate your heart rate and help with blood circulation. The best part is you can do this anywhere, anytime, even while doing some work or reading. Whether doing remote work or being back at the office, you can incorporate this exercise into your daily routine.
- Do some quick household chores. Taking out the trash or vacuuming a spot in the house during a break can count as exercise and you are also doing something productive.
Keep Connected With Work Colleagues and Friends
Even if you can’t go out to meet your friends and colleagues, staying in touch can help maintain your much needed mental wellbeing.
- Schedule calls to collaborate on work projects.
- Keep track of your meetings and calls. Knowing how long it has been since you reached out to someone can help encourage you to get in touch.
If you are working from home, use these tips to help stay focused and productive. For further reading about working from home, check out these other resources:
10 Best Remote Working Tools to Use During Covid-19 (learningcomputer.com)
Best Distance Learning Platforms in 2020 (learningcomputer.com)