• Matthew Blair

Staying productive while working at home

Working from home for the minority of white collar workers is an absolute essential element of their business, without it they can't operate and often balance work life commitments.

There are plenty of pros and cons, and for many it's more productive homeworking, than wasting time on a daily commute or killing time chatting over the tea point at work! In a corporate environment there is also a trust issue, for many companies don't seem to trust that employees will not be sneaking off to the gym, having a nap or not focusing on the job in hand.

There is also the question of technology, without a decent internet connection, printer, PC or laptop, VPN, Zoom or Goto meting software and a work mobile it's often impossible to function.

At the moment many businesses simply do not have a choice but to adopt a working from initiative. Being home workers ourselves, here our Top 10 tips for working remotely!

1. Create a routine

If you normally walk to work, or start at certain time try not to deviate from these habits, It's essential to maintain a healthy work life balance, so try walking around the block before starting work or plan an after work walk. This is essential for a healthy mind, body and soul.

2. Have a permanent office set-up

If you're able to work from a dedicated area or home office, you can keep work separate from home life. This is very important if also sharing your house with others. If you are having Zoom calls, it helps to do these in a professional environment without local noise disruptions

3. Manage your diary

The biggest benefit to working from home is the freedom to work in your own way. But there’s still deadlines and priorities, alongside a whole host of distractions that can mean you very quickly lose concentration and spiral down a rabbit hole of procrastination.

It’s hugely important to make yourself a schedule and stick to it. You’ve got the luxury of working around your own needs, but try to keep track of how many hours you’re putting in as it’s easy to overwork yourself when you’re no longer commuting.

4. Remember to communicate and stay social!

It’s vital to keep in touch with colleagues, both for work productivity and your own sanity. Even the most introverted can find working from home lonely! Use chat apps like Whatsapp to maintain general communication or work based community group and jump on video conference calls to keep yourself in the loop. Make the effort to visit the office occasionally too, giving you a chance to follow up on things that aren’t always possible to discuss over email.

5. Where possible take a break from the work space

Having a dedicated work zone can maximise your productivity and keep you motivated but sometimes it's nice to mix it up, make the use of 'hotdesk' at coworking centres or drop into a quiet cafe or library a secure with WiFi.

6. Dress for success

It’s tempting to wear PJ’s all day, and we’re not saying you can’t ever have a lazy day…but taking the time to get ready and dressed for the day as you would for an office job is an important part of your structure and signals to your brain that it’s time to work. You don’t have to wear formal office attire, just go with whatever you feel most comfortable in.

7. Embrace ‘Do Not Disturb’ DND

If you’ve got a ‘DND’ option, make the most of it so that your colleagues know you’re unavailable or busy. Also make sure that when you’re not working, you’re not working. Allow time completely away from everything work related, switching off your laptop and email notifications. Most people would switch off from work during the commute home - instead proactively spend those spare hours on a personal project or fit in that extra gym class you’ve been wanting to do.

8. Change of scenery

The main advantage to working remotely is that you can work from anywhere. A coffee shop, a library, in bed, in the kitchen, in the park - wherever you feel most productive. It allows you to move around throughout the day until you can find somewhere that helps you focus.

9. Take regular breaks

Everybody needs a break, especially when staring at computer screens all day. Taking regular coffee breaks and going for walks will increase productivity because it allows your brain to recharge before heading back to your desk and trying again

10. Get family and Friends on board

If you've relatives, friends or family at home, share your routine with them, its often hard living with a homework, especially if you don't know when not to disturb or contact them.

Set some basic rules:

  • (DND), If the door is pulled too, the family know it's private call time and DND!

  • (If doing a school run), Clients should know at 3pm to 3.30pm your not available, so set an OOO and put the phone straight to VM

  • (Friends or Family that don't work), They must know what your working hours are, so you don't break routine or get stuck chatting to people who don't work!

  • (If you don't have a dedicated desk), Always agree to clear away as much of your work as you can, preferable into a secure storage unit.

There are probably lots of tips that we've missed and some rules work better than others. If you've got any tips to share, we'd love to hear them!

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