Working from home used to be a luxury just a few years ago, but due to the pandemic, it’s become a necessity for preventing the spread of coronavirus. Unfortunately, even after two years, a lot of people still have trouble getting accustomed to it.
It appears that working from home will become the new norm since 47% of company leaders are willing to allow their employees to work from home full time after the pandemic.
While there are numerous benefits to remote work, there are also a lot of things that can make work from home productivity seemingly impossible. A plethora of distractions can occur when your home is your office, so if you have trouble staying productive while working remotely, make sure you read on.
Have designated work hours and let others know
One of the most important keys to work from home productivity is having designated work hours you and everyone you share your home with will respect. Your productivity will suffer if you switch between your work and professional life too much, but you can avoid that if you know when you actually have to work.
Ideally, your work hours should be the same as your business’s operating hours. This way, the hours you would spend in the office are the same hours you spend while working from home. An organized timetable could help you achieve this.
These hours need to be consistent, but you can still allow yourself some exceptions. For example, if you have a large stack of paperwork that needs to be finished by the end of the day, it’s okay to allow yourself to work for an additional hour or two. Just don’t make this a standard practice.
And if you share your home with someone, clearly communicate your working hours with them. Ask them not to bother you during that time unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Have a dedicated workspace
One of the main issues for people who work from home is not being able to work in a space that they normally associate with leisure time. This is completely normal and you can’t be expected to maintain your work from home productivity if you’re working out of your bed, for example.
That’s why you need a place that is dedicated specifically to work. Ideally, you should have a room that you use as your home office and nothing else. If you don’t have an extra room, you can use a specific table and chair that you will only use while working.
Use communication apps to stay connected
Feeling cut off from the rest of their organization is something many people who are working remotely experience. Luckily, we live in a very technologically advanced world and there are many communication apps you can use to stay connected to your coworkers even when you’re not sharing a space.
Effective communication is one of the ways to maximize employee productivity. Instant messaging apps like Slack and video conferencing tools such as Zoom are very popular among remote teams as they allow for smooth and instant communication.
Create a healthy routine
A majority of the tips you will see about work from home productivity will revolve around the things you do during your working hours. But it’s just as important to have a healthy routine outside of those hours that ensures you are ready to take on every workday.
The first thing you need to include in your daily routine is a healthy diet. When you work from home, you always have access to your kitchen, which can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful enough.
If you find yourself munching on unhealthy snacks, you need to create a healthy and balanced diet for yourself. This will give you more strength, make you feel better, and allow you to get the most out of your routine without draining too much health.
The second on your list of priorities when it comes to maintaining a healthy routine is keeping a good sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at a reasonable time (ideally at the same time) will make your work from home productivity much easier to maintain.
Finally, you need to make sure you’re exercising regularly. An exercise routine can help you increase your work performance and stay motivated. And not only that, but it’s beneficial for your personal life as well. Exercise is a great way to improve your physical well-being but also your mental health because it increases your endorphin levels. This is a chemical that is responsible for your happiness and overall enjoyment.
Unfortunately, working from home has affected the mental health of many employees because they feel isolated, especially if they live alone. So if you take even 15-20 minutes out of your day to do any sort of physical activity, you will see a big change in yourself and your productivity levels.
Set clear rules for family members
As we already mentioned, a big part of keeping your work from home productivity high is to let your family members (or anyone else who you live with) know you’re unavailable during working hours. Setting ground rules is essential when you need your peace to stay productive.
People who aren’t familiar with the concept of working from home can easily misunderstand it because they don’t see it as real work or don’t understand the gravity of it. This is a big issue with older generations who never knew anything except working inside an office.
Children also sometimes don’t understand the importance of working from home. If you live with your children or younger siblings, it might be hard for them to understand why you aren’t available for 8 hours during the day even if you’re at home.
So if you have people in your home who don’t understand the concept of remote work, set some ground rules with them. Have an open conversation to explain your work hours, why it’s important for you to be left alone, and how you would appreciate it if they didn’t make any unnecessary noise during those hours.
A lot of people are under the assumption that work from home productivity includes working even harder than you would at the office. A report by Owl labs in 2021 found that 55% of respondents say they work more hours remotely than at the physical office.
This is actually one of the worst things you can do to your productivity. If you constantly overwork yourself and put in more effort than necessary, you’re going to burn out. This is why taking breaks is a necessity.
While you were still working at the office, you probably had designated break times that you couldn’t wait for. But now when you work from home, the situation is different. When you don’t have a schedule that tells you when to take your break, a lot of the time you just don’t take the breaks you need.
If this is an issue you’re facing, add a break-time schedule to your work planner. Specify how much time your breaks will last and when the clock strikes that specific time, get up from your computer. Walk around a bit, rest your eyes and your brain, and take your time to rest and unwind.
Don’t work when you’re tired
Burnout is very common among people who work remotely. Even more so if they don’t take the necessary breaks and work in a less than ideal environment where they don’t have enough peace and quiet. This leads to working when they’re tired or even exhausted.
This type of work will produce results that are far from optimal. And that’s why our last work from home productivity tip is to never work when you’re tired. In those conditions, you don’t have enough energy, concentration, or enthusiasm to complete the task you should be focused on.
Your body will tell you when you’re exhausted and overworked, so it’s best to listen to those warning signs if you want to ensure you’re the best employee you can be. Observe your behavior closely and look for signs that show you it’s time to give up on work for the day.
- Do your muscles ache from sitting down too much?
- Are your eyes heavy from looking at the computer screen for too long?
- Are you having trouble processing a message from a coworker despite reading it multiple times?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, give yourself a break.
If you want to be an engaged employee and reap all of the benefits that working from home offers, these tips will improve your work from home productivity. Good technology that will keep you connected, dedicated work hours, and necessary breaks are all important in the grand scheme of things.
If you miss the office and think working from home just isn’t for you, there’s no need to give up. As long as you follow the tips you read about in this article, you will realize that remote working is even better than working at an office if you have the right approach.