How to Stay Productive While Working From Home
With current precautions in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, many businesses have put forth a work-from-home scheme to heighten health and safety. With this being the case, many employers and employees alike are worried about productivity suffering and deadlines not being met. However, if you end up having to stay at home for two weeks, it doesn't at all mean that productivity will go down.
In fact, according to a Business News Daily article, while remote workers take longer breaks on average, they remain productive for an additional 10 minutes per day when compared to their in-office counterparts. Remote employees also work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. With this in mind, productivity should never suffer when working from home and can, in fact, increase. However, there are essential considerations to be made to ensure that working from home doesn't become too distracting, dull, or repetitive. We've put together a shortlist on how to make the most of working from home.
Work When You Are Most Productive
This doesn't necessarily promote an 11 am start time, but if you feel more productive in the afternoon, a later start and later finish may work for you. Baring it doesn't affect deadlines and late emails, shifting your start time can make all the difference. While the standard norm is the 9 am-5 am work period, some feel more productive in the late morning or early afternoon. Thus it's best to plan your day accordingly. If you feel most productive in the morning, then set the most difficult tasks for yourself first, and the easier ones in the afternoon. It can help save time to match your task priorities to how you best function. Moreover, during slower periods of the day (immediately after lunch or the last hour of the day) is when you can set aside the tasks that take little to no time to complete.
Give Yourself More Tasks Than Usual
While it appears to be Draconian to set aside more tasks for yourself to make up for being in the office, there is a genuine reason to. Giving yourself a heavier than usual workload tends to do two things; generally, it can help you plan your day more efficiently, to complete everything on time, and secondly, you may end up finishing tasks ahead of time. With more tasks to complete in a shorter time, you are forced to manage your day in a hyper-efficient manner. While you may not get everything done that you have planned in your heavier workload, you will almost certainly get more done than you usually would in the office. You may even be ahead of your deadlines if you keep this up. With that in mind, be cautious not to give yourself an unrealistic task list where both quality and productivity suffer.
Self-Disciple Means Knowing Your Distractions
If there is a particular distraction that you know you have, then you must isolate yourself away from it. If part of your morning ritual before you head to work is to watch a bit of news, you may want to consider how distracting it is. Will you get stuck watching the news for an hour longer because you don't have to rush to the station? Often you can end up taking longer with your morning rituals simply because you don't have to be in the office and unknowingly waste time. Before you know it, you're an hour or two behind on your daily tasks. That's why it's important, to be honest with yourself about what you find distracting.
Don't Stay In Just One Room
While some find it more productive to work in a quiet room on their own, others may get more done in a busier atmosphere. Either way, studies have shown that moving from one place or station to another helps improve mental function and awareness. Moving from your kitchen to your office after lunch can help refresh your background and bring a greater sense of awareness to a tired mind. Even leaving home can help, as going to a cafe where you can have a livelier atmosphere can be more conducive to a productive workflow. Whichever you decide, make sure it's an atmosphere you are comfortable in and don't get distracted.
Time Your Diversions
Working from home can be both a gift and a curse. Depending on your lifestyle, you may have a few too many distractions at home. Whether that be the dishwasher, laundry machine, family members or pets, you may have to plan to avoid these diversions. The most beneficial strategy is to prepare as best you can to time these other responsibilities in a manner that doesn't break your concentration. Taking the dog for a walk, and taking out the garbage can all be done closer to your lunch hour period to compress all these tasks into a shorter timeline. Timing your other responsibilities can help streamline your day by giving you mini-deadlines for each task.
Plan Your Lunch Ahead of Time
It seems obvious but making your lunch the day before can help prevent you from wasting your lunch hour. Often times being at home, you may want to make a fresh lunch from scratch. It's a great idea, but be wary of how long it takes you to make your meal. You may well end up running behind on your tasks. Preparing your meals as though you were headed to the office can make a big difference than, for example, making a meal from scratch and taking 40 mins to cook it.
While these tips can seem simple often, we tend to forget about them or underestimate their importance to our productivity. Try these out the next time you work remotely and see how it affects your productivity and deadlines. Who knows it might make all the difference.