Due to the COVID-19 global outbreak many of us are practising social distancing by spending more time at home, which includes workdays. Many companies are supporting their employees to work from home in order to comply with government recommendations.
For many employees working from home is a new experience so this can be a challenging time for them. They may not have an organised workstation, or they could have a very busy and noisy household which may impact their productivity levels.
For many employees, attending daily team meetings, having face to face check ins with their managers or simply having a chat with their colleagues while making a coffee is a normal part of their working day. Employees are now having to adapt to working from their kitchen table or spare room, while still trying to complete “to do” lists without the resources of their office space.
In the current situation, employees are seeking tips and guides as to how they can reach the same productivity, while adjusting to their new temporary working environment.
Here are some steps to help you remain productive while working at home.
1. A working space that is suited to your job role
If working from home is a new concept for you, you may be unsure where is the best location in your house to work. If your job role requires a quiet environment (e.g. accountants) and no distractions, choose a specific area in your home that won’t intrude into the lives of the other individuals living in your house.
Your job may require more brainstorming or creativity so curled up on the sofa one day and sitting at your kitchen table the next day could work best for you.
Think of how your day is usually structured at work and where in your house is best suited to complete these tasks.
2. Plan your day
Before you start work at your new temporary workstation, write out a plan for the day. Schedule your start and finish time and schedule structured breaks within your day. Ensuring your start and finishing times are aligned to your normal working day will ensure structure. List out the tasks you want to complete that day. If you want to be more particular about your list, you can have tasks you want to complete before lunch to ensure you get those done and remain productive for the whole day.
3. Increase communication with your team
Many us we spend our working days verbally communicating with our colleagues in both formal and informal settings. Remote working can present communication challenges and communication breakdown can occur. For employees who are not familiar with working from home, this new, rapid transition may feel very isolating and overwhelming. To battle this feeling, employers should ensure extra communication lines are opened through this stressful and demanding time.
Having virtual meetings may help with increasing communication levels and ensuring remote workers feel that they are still part of a team. Software such as Slack, GoToMeeting, Zoom etc may be useful to in promoting communication.
4. Fresh air
Individuals suddenly spending an increased proportion of time at home should be mindful of the importance of taking breaks and getting outside as much as possible. Many people enjoy breaking up their working day by going for a walk at lunchtime or may prefer to do some gardening after work. Do what works for you. Fresh air and light exercise will reduce stress levels, help you relax and switch off from work.
5. Prepare for work as normal
A useful tip in maximising productivity when working from home is to get ready for work as one would normally do. Getting ready as you would if you were going into the office will get you in to the right mindset and ensure you are the most productive you can be that day. If you feel and look like you would when you are surrounded by your work colleagues, this will help you feel motivated to achieve your tasks for that day.
6. Finish work at your normal time
Possibly the most important aspect of working from home is ensuring you log off the same time you would if you were in the office. You need to develop boundaries to ensure you continue a healthy work life balance during your time working at home. Just because you have 24/7 access to your workstation does not mean you need to log on every time a work thought pops into your head. Write the idea or thought down and come back to it the next day when your working day has begun. Having down time from work will allow your mind to rest and you will be able to tackle another productive day and work to your full potential.