Author: Rebekah Mechtensimer
As things progress with COVID-19, for the safety of all, a lot of people are being asked to stay at home and work remotely. Now, working from home isn’t for everybody. You have to be disciplined and have a lot of drive/motivation. Even when you have those characteristics, working from home has its challenges. Whether you’re working from home for the first time or you’re struggling to stay focused with all of the ‘unknown’ floating around right now, here are some tips to help you stay productive while working remote.
1. Set up an “office”
A functioning work space is very important when it comes to productivity. When it comes to our home (for most people), it’s where we relax and feel the most comfortable. This can make it hard to get things done because we’re in the comfort of our own homes. As comfy as it is, we need to stay off the couch and find a room in the house that you can make into some form of an office space. Whether it be a spare bedroom, your dining room table, or your kitchen bar/island area…just as long as you have a clean and designated spot to get things done at.
2. Make a To-Do list
Make a list of the goals you want to accomplish that week or that day. This list will help hold remain accountable and make sure that you’re executing the things you need to complete. It also helps keep you organized and on-task with what you need to finish before that day/week ends. It’s also a great way to keep track of what you accomplished throughout the week to know if you’re in line with what you normally get done working outside of the home and if you’re being productive with your time.
3. Map out a schedule or routine
It’s important to have a routine for your day. This is how we stay effective and on-task. Whatever your typical work schedule is like, you should try to stick to it. For example, if you get up at 6:00 am, shower, have your coffee and are out the door heading to work by 7:30, I would suggest still getting up and doing the same things you’d normally do to start your work day. The difference will be that you don’t have to make that commute into work. Now, you can take that extra time to practice some self-care, get some things done around the house so it’s not on your mind while you’re trying to work, or you could always hit the ground running and start work early. Same as you would do in the office, work through the morning allowing a mid-morning break if you need it and then practice the same lunch time and afternoon schedule closing up shop the same time you normally would. A lot of people assume that if you work from home that you don’t get a lot done, but if you stick to a schedule/routine, you can actually get more done in a day than you would in the office because you’re cutting down on that commute time and all of the different office interruptions.
4. Set up “unplug” times
As with many people that work from home, it can be hard to unplug. Unlike someone who works outside of the home who has set hours and at the end of that work day everyone packs up and heads home, when your work is also at your home, it can be easy to “respond to that email” or “finish this one thing up” and the next thing you know it’s 8:00 pm and you’re still at your computer working. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have flexibility as that’s one of the pros of working from home, but it’s important to honor work/home life balance. We can do this by being mindful of how much time we’re actually working and making sure that we aren’t overworking ourselves. This can mean you don’t start work until 9:00 am, even if you’re up and see you have a lot of work emails to address or setting a hard stop for answering anything after 5:00 pm. This can look however works best for you…the goal here is to have that balance so that you don’t feel overworked or burn out.
There are many other things people can implement for productivity, but if you implement the above tips, you’ll be able to effectively work from home – whether it be just in the interim or if you’ve decided this is how you want to work moving forward. Not everyone thrives or even likes this type of work style, but at times it’s necessary. It’s better to make the best of it and have the necessary tools to be successful.
Have any other tips or suggestions for working from home? Share them with us! We’d love to hear how you stay on track working remotely.