As the COVID-19 pandemic changes how millions live, working from home is the new normal for workers across multiple industries. If you are one of the many currently making the transition, we have compiled tried and true work from home tips so you can take control of your workday like a boss.
How has your life changed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to Global Workplace Analytics, 5 million employees were working from home at least half-time before the pandemic, if not more. With companies such as Google, Twitter, and Amazon requiring their workers to work at home to proactively prevent the spread of COVID-19, the number is sure to rise in the coming months.
For those who are new to remote work, we are here to help.
Below are ten tips to optimize your home office, take control of your productivity, and reduce stressors.
1. Ergonomically Optimize Your Workspace
Merriam-Webster defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” Ergonomics in the office centers around creating a comfortable environment you will want to work in for eight hours straight. To ensure your body is ready-for-work, consider making some ergonomic changes to your home workspace.
Thankfully, ergonomically altering your workspace doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. For example, your computer screen should be at eye-level to prevent eye and neck strain. Laptop stands are typically easy to DIY, or you could head to Amazon where most are $30 or less. Investing in your office’s ergonomics prevents strain over time and injury.
2. Explore What Makes You Productive
The environment that makes you productive is unique to your needs and wants as a worker. Now that you can structure your own workday, now is the perfect time to explore different ways of maintaining productivity and figure out what works best for you. Below are a few research-backed productivity methods you can find inspiration from:
- One study found that incorporating self-imposed deadlines throughout the day made them more productive.
- Another study, conducted by the Psychology of Music, found that listening to music while working can improve mood, as well as boost productivity.
- A popular time-management method, the Pomodoro Technique, states the best way to optimize productivity is to break your work down into 25-minute intervals, with short breaks in between, typically 3-5 minutes.
Take a few days to experiment with various methods of productivity and find out what fuels your efficiency.
3. Prioritize Taking Breaks
A study conducted by Airbreaker found that working from home may be more productive than working in an office. As a result, you may find yourself in a consistent flow with your work and forget to take breaks. But when those scheduled breaks come, you should prioritize taking them.
First, check-in with your supervisor and double-check how many breaks you should be taking throughout the day. Then, when the time comes, recharge your batteries by taking a walk, listening to a podcast, or having some family time. Regularly scheduled breaks can increase productivity, prevent “decision fatigue”, and boost your overall physical and emotional health.
4. Treat Yo’ Self
Working from home can be difficult. It is even harder when you don’t have anything to look forward to during the day. If you find yourself lacking motivation, treat yourself to something small, like a short break or a small snack from the kitchen, when you are done with a particular task. Research found that small, frequent rewards throughout your day can lead to a more enjoyable workday overall.
5. Duplicate Your Office Morning Routine
What you do in the morning sets your mindset up for the entire day. Treat it like you are actually heading into the office (i.e. getting up early, exercising, putting on work clothes.) All of these tasks prepare your mind for work and give you a better chance of having a successful day.
Many successful people swear by getting up early. For example, Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45 AM, Oprah Winfrey wakes up between 6:02 AM and 6:20 AM, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is already slaying it in the gym by 4 AM.
6. Minimize Social Media Access
According to the TeamLease World of Work report, 13% of total productivity is lost due to social media use. Whether you are an occasional social media scroller or spend hours looking at pictures of cute dogs on Pinterest, social media should stay far away from your work time. To prevent yourself from using social media during work, try the following tips.
First, log out of all your social media accounts during work hours. Just the extra work it takes to sign in can help you choose productivity over procrastination. Take off any social media notifications from all of your devices as well.
If you need a more powerful force to step in, apps like Freedom and FocusMe can block social media websites on your browser.
7. Communicate Your Boundaries
Working from home isn’t just a shift for you, it’s a shift for the entire household whether you live with family or housemates. In Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2019, 10% of remote workers say distractions from home are their biggest struggles while working remotely.
Make time to sit with your housemates and inform them about your new work schedule. Clearly communicate your boundaries between work time and personal time, as well as how they can help you stay productive. As days go by, you may want to put a sign on your door to differentiate when you are working, in a meeting, or available to chat.
8. Stay Connected With Your Team
19% of remote workers believe their biggest problem while working at home is loneliness. Socializing with coworkers is often one of the bright spots during our workday, and that shouldn’t stop because you are working from home. Use instant messaging, video-chatting, and email to engage with your co-workers and stay up-to-date about your team’s projects.
If your team is planning on keeping you at home long-term, your company may want to invest in a popular business messenger application like Slack and Fleep. Each app easily keeps a large team connected while incorporating features like task-management and file-sharing.
9. Ask for Help
If you are struggling to work from home, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to family and friends who may have experience working from home for any advice or a listening ear.
Also, social media (i.e. Facebook groups) has a wide variety of work from home support groups you can learn from. You may be able to find one catering to your particular location, industry, or whether you have kids.
10. Stick to Your Clock Out Time
The most common struggle remote workers have is unplugging after the workday has come to a close. It can be tempting to answer a few more emails and get a few more tasks done. But getting enough personal time ignites your work productivity for the next day.
Set an alarm to remind yourself when it is time to clock out. Turn off any work-related notifications and shake off the temptation you may feel to check your work email. Put your work items (briefcase, laptop, etc.) out of view. You put in a hard day’s work. Now it is finally time to relax.
Are you currently working from home?
Working from home can be a jarring, isolating shift after spending a lifetime working in an office around others. But remember there is a community of workers out there who are going through the same experiences you are.
The changes many have made to their lives globally amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have been a whirlwind, to say the least. But, if we practice social distancing and follow the guidelines of the CDC and WHO, soon this anxious, scary time in our lives will be just a memory.
What tip are you planning on using? Are there any questions you have about working from home? Let us know your thoughts below!