Most of us are not complete novices to working from home. We have all worked from home at some point in time. Even if it was only a small task, or sending an email late at night, it is still considered a type of work-from-home. Most of us also enjoy taking a break from office work, if we can. A day every week, or a day every month, we've all been there.
However, things are quite different now. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many office workers have to work from home extensively. This means long-term work, usually for weeks or even months on end. In many cases, we cannot go back to our office because it's locked down during this period. This means no coworkers, no lunch breaks, and definitely no water cooler chats.
And most of us are not used to this type of work, especially for longer periods. Embracing this new type of work is difficult for many of us. Working amidst family and children, the constant restrictions and distractions can make it a struggle. Our productivity can be negatively affected.
But how do you avoid this from happening? How can you stay productive while working from home? What productivity tips really work? What are the top productivity hacks you should know about? Let's see:
Have a schedule and stick to it
This is definitely the #1 tip everyone will tell you about. Let's face it – most of us cannot maintain a strict schedule since working from home has become the norm. We wake up late in the morning and struggle to become active. We slowly become ignorant and lazy. Distractions make sticking to a strict schedule even more difficult. The results? You are either underworking or overworking. And both of these situations look bad, both for you and for the company you are working at.
Having a strict schedule is critical, but sticking to it is much more important. After all, we all want and create a schedule, but many fail to stick to it. Use a scheduling tool in order to track time, the tasks you have to complete, and how you can increase efficiency. Great tools are Slack and Monday; both of them have excellent tools to help you boost efficiency and keep track of everything when working remotely.
This is a great productivity hack you need to pay attention to. Burnouts can happen if you are working from home, and they can be disastrous, particularly for your mental state. Burnouts are no trivial issues, even though many people consider them unimportant. They can have disastrous effects on your productivity, will leave your personal life in confusing clutter, and will create imbalance. In time, both your physical and your mental health will suffer, especially if you don't take care of it, and you don't know what's happening. The key advice is to simply avoid burnouts at all costs.
Make sure to create a strict schedule. For instance, work for eight hours every day, but have a small lunch break after four hours. After the eight-hour work schedule, rest for the rest of the day. If some tasks must be completed and cannot be postponed, try to complete them, but don't work more than twelve hours per day. Also, try to keep track of your work progress. Avoid piling up work and various tasks.
Create a comfortable workspace at home
Your previous office might have been very comfortable. You were productive, relaxed and everything was perfect. There was no disturbance and everything was easy to work with. Fast forward to the present scenario, where you have to work from your living room. You are surrounded by your family members, your children, or your parents, and they all have different needs. But you still have to be productive. You will have to deal with enormous challenges if you don't have a good work environment and your productivity will be negatively affected.
Try to avoid this by creating a comfortable workspace. Ideally, you should have a home office, with two separate computers – one for your work tasks and one for your personal needs. Also, clearly differentiate your personal and work-related needs. Similarly, try to find a comfortable chair and desk – these items will help you immensely and will create a comfortable workstation.
Communicate with your team
Communication is a hugely important productivity hack for many types of office work. Unfortunately, working remotely is a major problem for companies that rely on efficient communication between team members. No matter what your work is – manager or employee, communication is critical. You should use every type of communication tool that is available and use it often. Zoom, Google Meet, or simple phone calls are amazing tools that will increase productivity. You can better track the progress of your team, fix problems, and exchange ideas with other team members.
Focusing on communication is an excellent productivity tip – it makes team members feel important, it reduces stress, boredom, fatigue, and provides much-needed feedback. You get a chance to socialize, chat, and even joke with your colleagues. After all, working remotely is tough for everyone – why not enjoy the benefits of technology and interact as much as possible?
Have access to all the tools you need
This is an important productivity tip – make sure you have all the tools you need when working from home. When moving swiftly to a work-from-home scenario, you may lose access to some of the tools you need. For instance, you may lose access to the excellent project management software that you used while working in your office. Similarly, the softphone may not work from your home, or the VPN has errors. Make sure everything works when transitioning to a work-from-home scenario. Test and retest all tools to make sure they are working properly. If not, contact your IT department as soon as possible and ask for technical guidance or assistance.
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