Overcoming the challenges.
To work from home definitely has its advantages: no daily commute, better work-life balance, healthier lifestyle through more flexible scheduling and so on. While, for many, remote work may have been abruptly imposed by the pandemic, these days, it’s the new normal.
Still, a home office can mean working in an environment that’s less than optimal. Back in the day, the office was set up to promote concentration. Now, to work from home is a matter of balancing the often-conflicting demands of work and home. There’s no getting around it: kids, pets, partners and other non-work-related factors can make it difficult indeed to get through the task at hand.
Whatever your situation, there are strategies that can help you be more productive at home — and maybe even more so than when you were at the office! Here are six smart tips tailored to the current circumstances.
1- Switch off all notifications on your phone
Always within reach, your mobile phone is one of—if not the—biggest distractions at home. There it is, face up on your desk, sound on, ready to be picked up at any time . . . Time spent replying to a text, calling your mom or checking your favourite news feed can add up quickly, chewing up precious minutes or even hours that could be put to better use. Easy solution: switch off notifications and reenable them only during breaks. Separating work from leisure pursuits (which include your phone) is a good strategy for being productive at home.
2- Set up a private workspace
If possible, set up your office in a room with a door that closes. Pets, kids and partners can be cute, but they sure can wreak havoc on productivity. A closed room offers the ideal working environment and is an effective barrier against interruptions. If this isn’t possible, then try to find a quiet corner. Above all, avoid common spaces like the living or dining room. Sticking to the less-busy areas in your home is the way to go.
3- Schedule breaks
As mentioned in tip #1, separating work and leisure time is important, especially with home life so accessible and tempting. Before you start work, try planning your breaks so that you’ll be more focused during the day. It’s important to remember that breaks are just as important as work—learn more about this in our article 4 physical exercises for home workers. An agenda can be very handy in helping you plan and keep track of your breaks.
There are many advantages to earphones. First, they block out external sounds, making Teams or Zoom calls clearer and communication easier. If you’re easily distracted by background noise, earphones will keep you in your bubble, helping you stay focused. Music may also help you concentrate; if so, we recommend choosing something instrumental. Whatever your preferences, there are any number of genres that can help boost focus when working remotely.
5- Be comfortable
An optimal work environment offers a certain level of comfort. Here, an ergonomic setup with a proper chair and desk are key. Appropriate furniture was provided to you at the office, so make sure you’re just as comfortable at home.
6- Stay hydrated
Trivial though it may seem, you might not think to bring your reusable water bottle and coffee mug to your home workspace, like you would if you were heading to the office. Wherever you work, you still need to hydrate! With your insulated mug keeping your cup of Joe hotter for longer and your reusable water bottle, you’ll be all set!
In sum, here are our six tips for being as productive at home as you would at the office:
- Switch off all notifications on your phone (especially social media)
- Work in a private space (avoid busy areas in your home)
- Schedule breaks (use an agenda)
- Wireless earbuds
- Be comfortable (ensure your setup is ergonomic)
- Stay hydrated (with your coffee mug and reusable water bottle)