With the recent COVID-19 pandemic forcing many businesses to rethink how they work, the amount of people working remotely has increased dramatically. Whether this is a temporary thing, or a sign of things to come in your future working life, staying productive can sometimes be hard.
Let’s face it, you’ve got Netflix, pets and other family members to hang out with, and you don’t even really need to get dressed. So, how do you stay productive in what feels like a pretty relaxed environment?
Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
Firstly, setting up a quiet place to work is a must when working from home. Not every home has spare rooms that you can transform into an office, but you can still improvise. If you do have a spare room, this is the perfect opportunity to do something with it. If you can get a cheap flat-pack desk or even something second-hand, that’s basically all you need. Also, of course, a chair.
If you don’t have a spare room, there may be a corner of the lounge room you can set up a desk, or even anywhere else in the house that doesn’t get used as frequently. Even a couch in the garage can work! As long as you have a dedicated space that you associate with work, it can help with productivity.
When setting up any personal workspace, always remember to ensure your safety. You may be at home, but if it becomes your workplace you need to keep it ergonomic and free of risk. Consider things like keeping wires safe and out of the way, adjusting chairs for comfort and following all the guidelines you would in a normal office. You can find some government advice on this right here.
Limit Distractions and Keep Focused
Part of the idea of setting up your workspace is to limit distractions. There is a lot of temptation around the home, even if it’s getting a head start on some laundry or washing the dishes. So many things can draw your attention away from work, so if you can limit those things, you’re halfway there.
Even if you can’t hide yourself away in a different room, make sure the TV is off, even put your phone in another room if you don’t use it for work. Give yourself dedicated work time, and keep distractions at bay. Most of all, make sure you can get yourself in the right headspace for work. If you don’t feel like you’re working unless you’re dressed up, then go for it! Make sure you’re taking regular breaks to stay healthy, and do whatever you need to make sure you’re switched on and ready for work.
Schedule Your Tasks
When we’re working in an office, we tend to fluidly move from one task to the next. We’re there to work, so we just keep working. When working at home, this isn’t always the case, because other things can get in the way – especially if you’ve got children at home.
One idea is to schedule your tasks and be realistic. Use a digital calendar, or even a piece of paper to keep you focused. If you know you’re going to have to stop to get snacks or lunch for the kids, schedule it in as best you can. This can prevent overestimating how quickly you can get through everything.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Finally, make technology your best friend. With any luck, your employer will provide you with access to all the systems you need. This could include chat or messaging software, project management tools that everybody can access, or even using files that allow collaboration.
You can access calendars, time logging apps, messaging systems, and of course trusty old email and phone calls. Everything you need for a productive remote-working life is at your fingertips – you just need to find it!