Working remotely from home has become the “new normal” for many American workers. This paradigm shift has been challenging and takes a special kind of discipline and flexibility. These challenges rise proportionately when your spouse also works from home or your children are out of school. Since working from home will continue indefinitely, let’s take a look at some of the ways productivity can be increased.
Avoid working in bed
It can be tempting to grab a cup of coffee after waking up in the morning, grab your laptop or tablet, and return to bed and start working. But if you start working in bed, you’ll likely get sleepy or have a hard time feeling truly awake. Instead, get up and make your bed just like any other day. Matter of fact, avoid the urge to work in your bedroom at all, unless that’s the only space where you have privacy.
Set boundaries with others in your home
It’s important to set boundaries with all the people in your home. Tell everyone who’s home with you that you’ll be working during certain hours and to not disturb you unless it’s an emergency. Put a sign on your door if you have to. Doing what you can to avoid interruptions is key to staying as productive as possible.
Avoid working where you’ll be tempted or distracted
One of the keys to successfully working from home is to pretend you’re at an office. Would you stop to do laundry, watch Netflix or do the dishes if you were on the clock at work? Probably not. So, don’t work somewhere that will tempt or distract you. Don’t work with a TV on, and if laundry or dishes are calling your name, avoid them! Get your chores done before you begin work and save time for binge watching Netflix once you’re done for the day.
Take regular breaks
Scrolling through Instagram does not count as a break. You should aim to take a break approximately every 90 minutes, for about 15 minutes per break. Ideally, your break should involve no screens at all. Get some fresh air. Take a walk outside, play with a pet or talk to a friend. You’ll find that you’re much more productive overall if you walk away from your desk and computer throughout the day.
Schedule some exercise time
Working remotely involves establishing new routines. It’s likely your total movement each day has been reduced and stopping at the gym on your way home is no longer an option. Make exercise part of your new routine. There are many ways to get a workout in, including using exercise routines available from apps on your phone or other devices.
Avoid total social isolation
While working from home can feel more productive at times when you’re alone, there is also a downside to working alone all day. One of the most challenging things with working remotely is the lack of socialization. Catching up with coworkers that you enjoy working with can bring social fulfillment. Make time to connect with others, whether that means a FaceTime call with coworkers or making dinner plans with a friend.
Know where the mute button is at all times
Digital calls, whether originating on a cell phone, laptop, or tablet, amplify background noises. Dogs barking, children playing in other areas, even the rustling of papers become an annoyance to others on the call. Knowing where the mute button is on your device will help to minimize these types of embarrassing interruptions.
Successful people who work at home strive to over-communicate. It is a given that supervisors wonder whether subordinates are being productive while working from home. Supervisors should take extra steps to ensure accountability markers are in place to measure productivity. Workers should go above and beyond to communicate their accomplishments.
We hope each person reading this article is safe and healthy during these unique times. The good news is that we will get through this, but while we are in the midst, the key to success is discipline. The suggestions above require discipline. During this COVID-19 period, strive to improve on your communication skills as well as being a disciplined person.
Contributed by BEMA Information Technologies which offices in the Westchase District at 10700 Richmond Ave.