For weeks now, most of us have been working from home thanks to the lockdown in order to avoid further spread of the Coronavirus.
With all the unanswered questions around COVID-19, it might be a while before “things get back to normal” (if ever there will be such a thing). As such, in order to continue receiving a monthly salary, many companies will require employees to work from home.
Be sure to check out these important tips to get more done when working from home during lockdown:
1 – Get ready mentally, and even physically
Well, perhaps not exactly ‘dress to impress’, but at least make an effort before you start your work-from-home day!
Albeit tempting to stay in your comfy pajamas all day while you work from home, it’s important to keep your morning routine intact (ie shower, shaving, brushing, getting dressed, having breakfast etc.) as if you’re getting ready to head out the door to work.
This simple habit routine will help you make the necessary mindset shift to prepare you for the business day which lies ahead.
2 – Respect normal work hours
Starting your work-from-home day later than you typically would on a ‘normal office day’ is one of the advantages of working from home.
The problem there, however, is the tone you’re setting for the day. Sure, you can get up earlier the next day, or work late into the evening/night to make up for it, but it’s an all-too-easy (bad) habit to adopt when you’re new to working from home.
Why not set yourself a ‘worktime schedule‘? For instance, you could set aside a number of hours in the morning and afternoon, and view them as being sacred working hours! In other words, you don’t mess with those!
Call it “time blocking” if you wish – say, from 9-11am and 2-4pm, you are not allowed to do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g else but work!
Any other time around those hours, you can check messages, emails, be half-focused, interrupted, distracted, etc.
How does that sound? How many potential productivity goals could you achieve by implementing a 2×2-hour per day strategy?
3 – Delineate a workspace
While some people don’t really mind how messy their surroundings look like, the majority of the work-from-home newbies won’t be able to get a single thing done.
Sitting at the dinner table ready to get work started, and being surrounded by dirty laundry, last night’s dirty dishes, untidy living room, and the potential list of distractions goes on, your focus will highly likely dwindle very quickly.
In other words, you better make sure you have a dedicated workspace separated from everything else that’s going on in the house.
If you have a home office, you’re obviously sorted, if not, a spare bedroom will definitely do the job.
After all, not only are you separating yourself for your own sanity (and productivity), you also want to show everyone “you are off to work”. Having your partner or kids interrupt you every few minutes to ask questions doesn’t bode well for achieving your work deliverables.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of a spare room or home office. If this is you, try to set up an area at home where you can work (visually) away from the distractions.
If that means shoving a fold-up table against your bedroom wall, well, then that’s what it takes.
4 – Focus on results only
As a salaried person, you may not feel 100% one day and decide to “work-from-home” (whatever that would entail) instead of going into the office.
Now, doing the “work-from-home thing” all day, every day is a different ballgame altogether.
Will your productivity be as high as it normally is when you’re at the office? Chances are it won’t be – at least, not initially!
Not having your boss around to stop by your desk every so often shouldn’t keep you from being accountable though.
Let’s not forget, in a 100% work-from-home setup, the only way you will be judged will be on the volume, quality, and timeliness of your output.
A good place to start is setting out a clear list of (daily) deliverables – perhaps also discuss these with your boss to ensure you are on the right track in terms of priority.
This helps you to focus on what HAS to be done as opposed to what would be nice to have done.
5 – Eat healthy
On a different note, (but not necessarily less important), working from home also entails watching what you take in food-wise.
Stuffing your face with snacks and foods high on sugar while you’re trying to get things done will undoubtedly be followed by crashes. Not only will these (unhealthy) foods affect your brain, energy levels, and mood, it will play havoc with your immune system.
We know it’s tempting to quickly run to the kitchen to get some food, but try to prepare ahead of time, just as if you were to go into the office. Grab a couple of pieces of fruits, water bottle, and a few small candies to nibble on while working.
6 – Limit your distractions
And last but not least, try to limit all your (social media) distractions!
Isn’t it scary how many notifications you get in any given hour?
And of course, these happen just when you want to get started writing your new article, or putting together that important sales presentation!
You’ve probably read up on a number of tips and tricks to overcome it and while some work better than others, one great way which is simple, yet effective: turn off the WiFi on your laptop.
And lo & behold, no more Facebook notifications, new email alerts, retweet messages, or any other distractions of that sort until you’re done!
This doesn’t last for hours on end, but for the next hour or so, at least it gets you to finish that one important document for the morning/afternoon, after which you can switch on again, take a breather, do the necessary research or calling, and put your head down again for another hour or so!
We hope the above tips on how to be more productive when working from home during lockdown were helpful.
How has working from home being like for you? We’d love to hear!