Tips From Remote Workers on Working From Home Effectively
Nothing quite says “hold on to your hats” like a global pandemic. As the Coronavirus spread, businesses not only had to cut costs and brainstorm new services that were more practical during a time of isolation, but many were also forced to go from working in a nice big office to working from home. Although working remotely comes with many challenges, businesses have found that it’s a great way to save money and some have even decided to permanently work from home. It allows employees more flexibility as well as the chance to see just how long they can go without wearing a single piece of clothing that doesn’t fit the “fuzzy pajamas” category, plus more time at home with family and pets. With all the benefits that come with working remotely, what could possibly be so challenging about working from home?
Well, going into work every day, seeing your coworkers, and having your own space where you’ve established a productive work environment is certainly ideal for most people. It’s much easier to stay consistent with community connection, culture, and productivity habits when you have a designated workspace shared with your team. Without that space and sense of community, it’s difficult to adapt to an at-home office, and all business communication transitioning from face-to-face to virtual meetings and online chat channels. It’s also tough to separate work from home and not get burnt out from overworking. However, it’s not impossible to find a new groove working from home even if it means you have to switch a few rooms around to find your perfect office space and ensure you’re sticking to a healthy work routine.
Other than feeling burnt out, another common work-from-home challenge is facing constant distractions. If you have young children who are now home from daycare or school and poking holes all over your productivity, you’re not alone. Building the skill of balancing out time and figuring out what works best in your home for your ultimate success can be the most challenging thing of all. After hearing from all kinds of remote businesses and their top productivity tips, we have some good news. No matter how many trials and errors you have to go through, being productive while working from home is possible!
Top Productivity Tips
When waking up earlier for commute time, getting the kids ready for school, and driving to work every day is no longer a part of your routine, the simple task of putting on some pants can seem unnecessary. At first, going remote may be a comparable feeling to the lightbulb that goes off in a teenager’s mind when the parents go away for a weekend. But unfortunately, you’re an adult, and working from home does not mean it’s party time, as much as your kids might think so. But luckily there are simple hacks like making your bed in the morning that add to the feeling of productivity. The trick is creating a new routine that complements your new work from home schedule.
#1 - Keep Office Hours
If your daily schedule doesn’t have a hard start time, it won’t have a hard end-time either. And if you catch yourself answering emails and doing work late at night, your coworkers will get used to it and form expectations.
Set up a schedule for yourself that accommodates the perks of remote work (like mid-day walks or picking up your kids from school), but that also structures your day in such a way that you have a clear end time, so you don’t forget to relax and spend dedicated time with your friends and family.
Thanks to Daniel, The Dog Tale.
#2 - Create A Dedicated Working Space
Creating a dedicated working space will keep you focused and productive. It will not only draw a line between personal and work but also build a positive working environment that lets you concentrate on doing tasks effectively.
Easily getting distracted by almost everything at home was the biggest challenge we faced while working remotely. We needed to set ourselves to feel being in a “work mode” at all times but the distractions like kids, and TV drags us out. Setting up a dedicated area that’s solely intended for work was the answer. You can make use of any vacant room or space at home and set it as your office. Put some plants to make it more relaxing. Have some sofas for you to relax on while taking your breaks or naps. With these all set up, a work-life balance at home will be created. Without distractions around, you can stay focused and productive at all times.
Thanks to Israel, Linktracker Pro!
#3 -Start Your Monday's On Sunday Night
It's definitely been a struggle finding a balance. Either I'm working continuously or I'm procrastinating. The whole shift in environment really took time getting used to and I had to create a "work-only" space within my house to keep myself productive. My number one tip would be to start your Monday's on Sunday night. Write the list of things you need to do the following week on a sticky note and when you wake up Monday morning, you will not be wasting any time getting things in order or searching for what you should do.
Thanks to Scott, Betworthy.
#4 - Create A Schedule And Stick To It
My first word of advice is to cut yourself a break! It is a hard transition and putting too much pressure on yourself helps no one! My second piece of advice is to create a schedule and stick with it. Maybe that means setting an alarm, taking a shower, putting on a work outfit and making sure you are logged on by 9 am. It is also important to schedule breaks be it snack breaks, stretch breaks or puppy cuddle breaks! Do things throughout the day to give your brain a break and allow you to refocus on your work.
Thanks to Taylor, Bluestocking Society!
#5 - Make A Checklist
My tip for staying focused and productive is to keep and track goals you need to complete throughout your day and week. It feels nice to check things off my list and pushes me to complete everything I need to get done during work.
Thanks to Ariel, Service Direct!
Make Mental Health A Top Priority
It’s no secret that isolating yourself from your coworkers, friends, and family, can take a toll on health and wellness. But going remote doesn’t mean you can’t still keep a sense of community with coworkers or make time for other healthy habits without leaving your house or going to the gym. The more time you spend prioritizing your mental health, the more productive and proud you’ll feel at the end of the day, not only for the work you’ve accomplished, but for the benefits to your body, mind, and spirit.
#1 - Do Simple Brain Focusing Exercises
When working, focus and make sure all your attention and energy is dedicated to the job at hand. There are several exercises to make sure that you are fully focused. One is to move your eyes away from the email you are writing, the paper you are reading, or the excel sheet your team has prepared for Q3, then after counting to 20, resume back and continue with the project you are working on. If your brain is completely focused, you will get the job done in less time with higher efficiency.
Thanks to Pooneh, Dr. Brite!
#2 - Make The Most Out Of Your Break Time
My top tip would be to make the most out of your break time. Since you’re free to do what you wish while at home, take this time, to go for a jog, take a walk around your neighborhood, or meditate.
Thanks to Sam, Life Insurance Star!
#3 - Stay On Top Of Your Mental Health
Working from home is a constant reminder that things are not as normal as they may appear. Productivity is best when the mental stress of environmental conditions is at its least. It is important therefore to have strategies to stay on top of our mental health. Exercising, yoga, meditation, breathing drills, staying in touch with family and friends, and talking about our respective experiences can help alleviate the problem of mental stress and enhance productivity during work hours.
Thanks to Ajay, Unveiled Sagas!
#4 -Find Ways To Re-Create The Water-Cooler Moment
How to stay focused and productive: Find ways to re-create the water-cooler moment. A stronger informal bonding will improve the commitment of teams towards the broader organizational goals.
Thanks to Mayank, QuickEmailVerification!
Utilize Tools & Technology
As much as this pandemic has seemed to put the world on pause, it couldn’t be a better time for online communication, which is a requirement for working from home. With all the tools and technology out there, we are well prepared to continue weekly meetings virtually, organize daily tasks online, and keep up with fellow coworkers. The tricky part is finding the tools that work best for your business and encourage efficiency and productivity as some online tools can do more damage than good.
#1 - Use Time Tracking Software
As far as the technologies that I use, I have found that time-tracking software helps a lot. This gives me a better insight into how I spend my time and what I can do to improve my productivity during work hours.
Thanks to Tim, Clever Creations!
#2 -Use Slack Integrations To Help Foster Community
Slack is a great tool to foster community, collaboration and execution. Integrations for Slack like "Donut" can allow you to connect with people within your company that you might not interact with daily, and "HeyTaco" for employee recognition and regular pulse surveys.
Thanks to Hilliary, Hill Street Strategies!
#3 -Communicating via Zoom and Slack
We've been using Zoom a lot to communicate, which has been effective. It's nice to have face to face conversations with the people I used to see every day in person. We're lucky to have such effective technology in a time like this that allows us to do things like edit a single document from two locations and communicate in real-time via Slack messaging. Imagine if this had happened thirty years ago when the internet and technology were just becoming available to the average person! I have also been using a stand-up desk, which I think helps boost my personal productivity by energizing me and keeping me focused.
Thanks to Molly, Service Direct!
#4 - Use A Project Management Tool
The most effective tool that I have used during working from home is Monday. We’d describe it as a powerful project management platform that helps teams of all types track, manage, and execute various tasks and initiatives. To do so, Monday combines a slick and intuitive UI with automation capabilities that make it a breeze to use.
Thanks to Caroline, CoSign!
Take Advantage of the Challenge and Thrive in it
Although working from home may not be ideal for everyone, adapting to challenges can sometimes be the encouragement you need to start a new routine that ends up working better for you in the long run. After all, there’s no room for growth or improvement if you’re not willing to search for weaknesses, and lucky for us, 2020 took the liberty of throwing all our weaknesses in our faces. So from everyone here at Service Direct, we encourage you to take many breaks, keep your business community a priority, focus on your mental health, and turn your business and work performance into an even bigger success all from the comfort of your home office.