Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been an unusual and difficult year for all of us. Among all the unprecedented changes to daily routine, work-life has changed drastically.
Working from home has become the new norm for a lot of people during the COVID 19 quarantine. Employers have moved employees to their own homes as working remotely becomes more mainstream. This change to the way people work is likely to continue, even beyond the current global crisis.
As such, this article will outline some of the most useful tips and advice for people working from home during quarantine and beyond.
The first step to take when working remotely is to get yourself set up correctly. Before you begin any work, you need a workspace sorted with all your essential equipment. Try to recreate your work environment at home as accurately as you can. The kitchen table isn't the best option. It's important to have all the work tools you need, including a proper desk and chair.
Get any software you need installed, set-up email accounts, and redirect calls from co workers and clients. The moment you start working, all of these admin things should be settled already, allowing you to work productively and without distractions or unforeseen hassle.
Keep a Routine
Continuing on the theme of recreating a work environment, sticking to a routine is a good idea to help get the best work done. Set an alarm for an appropriate time and get working at the same time you would ordinarily. Just because you do not need to account for commuting time doesn't mean you should take the opportunity to have a lie-in.
Keeping a routine extends to lunch breaks. Keep a strict control on your breaks and don't take more than you would at work. Unchecked breaks can lead to long periods of procrastination and will affect your output. Check ins should be routine to promote productivity. Working from home requires self-discipline or you will quickly find your workload catching up with you.
Stay on Task
Another way to maintain productivity is staying on task. A schedule is a useful tool to ensure you stay focused and productive throughout the day. It can provide a much-needed structure to your day and help segregate your time into manageable sections.
Remove potential distractions like your phone if possible. If you require a phone or a laptop, delete distracting apps or consider investing in a work-only device. Working from home allows you to slack off far more than you would normally in a traditional work environment, but you must resist that urge in order to be successful.
Separate Home and Work-Life
Creating a clear distinction between home and work-life is essential to work from home successfully. If at all possible, avoid working in the same areas you relax. It can be tempting to work on your bed or your sofa, but setting up a desk area strictly for work will help segregate relaxing and working.
Another useful tip to help separate home and work-life is to dress as if you are going into work. Try to avoid the temptation to lounge around in casual wear and dress appropriately. It may seem rather pointless but this will help to prepare yourself for a normal day's work.
On the other hand, try to avoid working after traditional work hours if you wouldn't ordinarily. Take this time to relax and properly unwind to ensure you remain productive for the rest of the week. Establishing a good work-life balance is an important part of successfully working from home.
Be Firm with Friends and Family
The temptation to talk to friends and family members when you're at home can be difficult to resist. A buzzing phone should not mean you drop what you are doing to take a call to answer a message. Equally, for the people you live with, it needs to be made abundantly clear that just because you are at home, does not mean you are not working.
Set out ground rules from the start and make sure that friends and family know when they can speak to you and when you should be left alone. To work from home successfully you will need to keep work separate from other areas of your life as much as you possibly can.
It is incredibly easy to let productivity drop when you are not in a working environment and no one is monitoring what you are doing. It is important to stay motivated and avoid unhelpful procrastination when working remotely.
Remind yourself of the reasons why you do what you do and what you are getting out of it. The last thing you want to do is to let work eat into your home life and downtime. Check-in with team members and ask them for advice if you are struggling. Just because you are physically separated from coworkers doesn't mean you have to be socially isolated.
It can be difficult working from home, particularly if you have never done it or have grown used to your workplace environment. The key is to be strict on yourself and do not allow complacency to creep in.
Do everything you possibly can to replicate the same workplace environment in your own home and keep productivity at the center of your thoughts. Working from home does not mean your output needs to take a hit, nor does it mean your home-life should suffer.
Try to find the perfect balance and stick to it. If you do, you will be successful for however long you may be required to work from home.