Whether you are working from home due to being a freelancer, or your employer allowing you the luxury to work at the comfort of your home for several days a week, or a government-mandated regulation requiring you to stay at home to protect yourself from a dreaded coronavirus, such as CoViD-19, the constant challenges that you will face are forcing yourself out of laxity and into productivity, distancing yourself from distractions, and staying productive.
Many professionals from different industries dream about working from home, foregoing daily commutes resulting in more sleep, extra time with family, and more personal time. The thought of it might be refreshing to professionals whose offices are several hours away from home. Moreover, studies show that commuting makes professionals less fulfilled and happy with their jobs. However, succeeding at being productive, while being surrounded by too many distractions at home, takes a little extra effort and demands hard work and discipline. The piles of dirty laundry you noticed when you got out of bed in the morning, your kids playing loudly in the next room, or thinking about the snacks you should binge-eat while working suddenly become distractions; even doing household chores seems to look more appealing than your to-do list for the day.
Ever since offices were built, people have been conditioned and taught ways to be productive in an office setting; therefore, starting a work-from-home setup requires the right mindset and strategies.
- Use productivity tools
Apart from the must-haves, such as a decent internet connection and a reliable computer or laptop that meets your needs, working from home highlights the importance of productivity tools. These tools would require professionals to increase reliance on and welcome new technology to improve the efficiency of internal processes.
For companies that engage in face-to-face meetings daily, utilizing video conferencing technologies is crucial. For businesses that maintain hundreds of documents daily and require the signing of legal forms and documents, such as real estate firms or recruitment companies, online document management solutions are the best options.
If you are a full-time employee and your company is requiring you to work from home, you may find out what tools they will provide and pay for.
- Create a structure
Creating a structure is dedicating an area at home where you can physically and mentally prepare for work. The area does not have to be a room with a door that you can close while you work. However, it is ideal that it is not a place where you relax, such as your sofa or bedroom.
Nevertheless, if you are most productive in your bedroom, you may set up there. The goal of creating a structure is not to replicate your work station in the office but to figure out the area in your home where you can get work done.
- Establish a routine
Unlike in an office environment where your productivity is at its peak, as there are company-set guidelines and schedules that enable you to manage your workloads efficiently, the hardest part of working from home is perhaps establishing a routine.
Start work at the same time every day and follow a consistent daily routine. Find a routine that works for you and keeps you productive. By setting your own work guidelines at home, you will be able to determine and establish strategies that let you stay on top of your work and eliminate distractions.
Also, try to end work at the same time every day. While there would be deadlines that would require you to work beyond your shift, by establishing a routine and sticking to it, you will be able to manage your time and workloads properly.
- Stay connected
Working from home can be monotonous without interactions with your colleagues. In addition, the psychological effects of working remotely for extended periods can lead to loneliness and the degradation of one’s sense of teamwork. It can be hard to establish and maintain relationships from afar.
Social interactions facilitate cooperation and closeness; it improves collaboration. Thus, do not hesitate to start a chat with a colleague or your teammates. If chatting is not enough, you can set up a social video call. Staying connected is not only beneficial for our mental health; it also helps us to be accountable for our work, essentially promoting productivity.
From using the best tools to let you focus and be more productive and finding a routine that works best for you, to staying connected with your team, it is important to remember that working from home requires discipline and dedication.