Working during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge adjustment for everyone. Almost all businesses globally shifted to remote work, forcing everyone to turn their homes into makeshift offices.
While working from home offers a lot of benefits – such as saving time and money from commute – challenges also arise from this new normal. Due to competing priorities at home, most people would agree that the biggest challenges in working from home are minimizing distractions and maintaining focus.
Given this and many other challenges, how can one actually stay productive while working from home? Here are five tips you can consider:
Find and set up your dedicated workspace.
The first thing to consider in working from home is your work area because it affects how well you can stay focused and concentrated.
There are a lot of things that can hinder your productivity at home. The key is to find the most optimal place in your house where you can focus for your day’s work. Avoid places where there is constant foot traffic and, if possible, choose a quiet room where you can stay focused and isolated from the rest.
Let your co-habitants be aware of your work schedule.
Sometimes, interruptions from people can really set your focus off, and you’ll find it really hard to get back to what you're doing. But people around you would not get what’s going on unless you tell them. So, let them know about your work hours and advise them to minimize interacting with you during these times unless there are urgent things that need your attention or during real emergencies.
Plan and structure your day.
Plan your day ahead – you can do this every night, before your work the next morning, or before the end of your shift. By doing this, you may reduce the time trying to remember the tasks you need to do for the day and focus more on getting things done.
Include breaks in your day structure. Going for short walks, petting your dog, or having snack breaks can help your mind ease down after every big task. A way to do this is by breaking down your 8-hour shift into 90-minute segments and having 10 to15 minute breaks in between.
Working remotely can be lonely especially if you are alone in a house. Connecting with your team from time-to-time is a way to ease the feeling of isolation. Thankfully, digital tools today allow for easy remote communication among teammates. Set a regular catchup or chat with your teammates so you can stay connected.
Keep a work schedule and respect your quiet hours.
Despite your office and home merging, keep your personal time separate from your work hours. Remember Tip Number 1? Treat your workspace as a distant place just like your physical office so you would not be coming in anytime you please to do work. Aside from keeping your personal time, enforcing your work schedule also helps in staying productive. By confining the hours into your work schedule, the limited time you have for work could get you to work on the tasks and not succumb to distractions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for a global shift to work-from-home. While this setup poses many challenges - ranging from distractions to competing domestic priorities, best practices can be adopted to make working-from-home "work” for you.
Augustin, L. (2020). 5 Tips for Staying Productive While You're Working From Home | Time
Haden, J. (n.d.). 11 Best Productivity Tips for Working From Home | Inc.com
Robinson, B. (2020). 9 Tips To Be Productive When Working At Home During COVID-19 (forbes.com)
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