Working from home is a new concept to some and is becoming more and more the norm. However, if you are new to working from home, it may be hard to balance your work/life routines at first. Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, I have been working from home for the last 9 months and there is definitely a learning curve when trying to boost your at-home productivity.
For many, there are more distractions at home and you may want to maximise your productivity in this new working environment. Together, let’s learn the top productivity tips for working from home to help optimise our efforts and boost our careers, no matter the environment.
How To Work From Home Effectively
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” – Michelle Obama
Below are my personal favourite top 12 quick productivity tips for working from home that I found most helpful, plus extra information to help you create a more productive working environment and routines. If you have any tricks of the trade or suggestions, let me know in the comments!
12 Productivity Tips For Working From Home
1. Maintain Your Regular Work Hours
When you initially start working from home, this can lead to more flexible hours. While this should be discussed with a manager or boss first, I would suggest keeping to your originally contracted hours as this maintains a routine and makes the initial change easier.
This is especially important if working from home is only a temporary situation, as it will help long term when you eventually transition back into office work.
2. Create A Productive Environment
With work-life balance, it can be difficult to differentiate between your work environment and your home environment. For example, a desk set up away from your bedroom is important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Likewise, invest in a comfortable chair for better posture. For me, I always find a tidy mind and a tidy environment goes hand in hand. Make sure at the beginning of your day, your working environment is tidy and clean.
3. Listen To The Appropriate Music
It can be tempting to watch TV or listen to podcasts throughout the day. However, it is best to match your media or music according to the task you are currently working on. For example, for more basic tasks, watching something in the background or listening to a podcast can help keep you occupied.
On the other hand, when it comes to more focused tasks, switch to instrumental music. Lyric free music can assist you with the most difficult of tasks.
4. Plan What You Will Work On Ahead Of Time
While it is also important to be flexible when new tasks come into your inbox, it is also crucial to have a rough agenda that outlines each project you need to complete. At the beginning of each week, create a schedule or timeline of your assignments and reassess this plan at the end of each day. This can help boost your productivity and get tasks completed.
5. Schedule Breaks
Similar to point 1, it is important to maintain breaks, especially when working on a computer and looking at screens. It is suggested that more frequent, shorter breaks are more effective with avoiding problems caused by computer screens. Breaks, in general, can improve your relationship with work, decrease stress and promote wellbeing.
6. Communicate With People You Live With
Working from home not only changes your day-to-day life but can also affect those you live with. Be sure to openly communicate with those you live with so they know what to expect. For example, there may be environmental changes (see point 2) that affect those around you.
Similarly, make sure you are clear that while you are at home, you are officially at work during those specific work hours. Compromise is essential for everyone involved.
7. Say In Contact
Working from home can be very isolating in comparison to going into an office, surrounded by coworkers. Whether in lockdown or working from home permanently, it’s important to reach out and see other human beings. This may be virtually (using video calls) or in person. Talking and interacting with other human beings can help reduce stress and boost your everyday productivity.
8. Take Advantage Of Your Situation
While it is important to remember you are at work, you are also at home and you can use this to your advantage. Incorporate daily chores into your breaks (as long as you also relax during this time), bake more, keep your home tidy etc. Stay positive and remember your situation has many advantages.
9. Take Sick Days
Don’t be scared to take sick days; when you are ill, you will need the rest. It is often tempting, when working from home, to carry on as you don’t even need to leave the house. However, taking the proper time to rest will allow you to recover faster and be more productive when you are well again.
10. Make A Morning And Evening Routine
For ultimate productivity during your work hours, it is important to make time for yourself outside of these hours. Curating a morning and evening routine allows you to bookmark your working hours with self-care, which in turn can reduce stress and prevent burn-out. Use the time you would be commuting to prepare in the morning, and recuperate in the evening.
11. Seek Out Training
Whether you work from home or in an office, it is important to continue your learning journey for personal growth and career progression. While working at home, you may miss out on opportunities to train alongside coworkers or assigned by managers.
However, there are many websites (paid or free) to help you learn new skills or gain qualifications. Even free sites like YouTube can provide tutorials. Don’t be scared to approach your manager and request extra training; it can benefit you, your coworkers and the company you work for.
12. Stay Positive
Working from home isn’t for everyone… The isolation can heavily affect one’s mental health. Plus, the transition from office working to working from home can be daunting and overwhelming. Using mindfulness techniques can help you relax, avoid burn-out and increase your productivity. When you feel particularly stressed, take a moment to breathe and meditate. It may not seem like much, but just breathing can help you remain in the present moment, stay positive and boost productivity.
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt