Remote work has emerged as the new normal in the COVID-19 crisis. A number of organizations have recommended their employees to work from home in an attempt to encourage social distancing, a vital aspect of fighting the pandemic. Although the idea of working from home sounds fascinating as there are no dress codes, no daily commute, more family time and you can work right from the comfort of your couch, there are a few downers as well which can make your entire experience quite disappointing. Focusing on work could be a real challenge when you’re working from home. Be it the household chores glaring at you, the chattering housemates or just some cacophonies on the nearby street interrupting your train of thoughts, sometimes staying productive while working from home could be quite a job. Also, for those who are habitual of socializing in the offices, the isolation at home can quickly trick their mind into boredom and depression.
It’s a common misconception that working from home is somehow easier than working from the office but in reality the former, in fact, requires a little extra effort to produce the desired outcome. The biggest challenge of remote work, which is managing yourself, could be turned into your greatest advantage using the right strategies. If you can master the art of managing your time, focus and accountabilities while you work from home, it can enhance your professional skill set in multiple ways.
Here are a few tips for working from home effectively and staying productive and focussed.
- Have a Separate Workspace
You might be tempted to work from your cosy bed but that could be an incredibly bad idea. Having a separate workspace is very important to set boundaries for yourself and limit intrusions from your housemates. Your home, the place which was only for relaxing or playing, is now being used for office work and that can actually disrupt your focus in multiple ways. Therefore it’s important to have a separate desk or a room where you can work without any interruptions so you can train your mind to be more focussed. In case you’re traveling while working remotely and cannot find a workspace, a coffee shop or a library could be great options too.
- Prepare a Schedule
Managing work from home requires sticking to a schedule. Start with a simple routine and gradually lead yourself to a full day schedule starting from the time you wake up to planning for how to complete each of your task. Being disciplined is important, more so when you work from home. Once you plan out your entire work day and get comfortable following it, you would certainly see anincrease in your work efficiency.
- Prioritize Your Tasks
Having a to-do list isn’t enough; you need to prioritize it for effective time and task management. We often delay the difficult tasks or sometimes miss deadlines because we don’t keep a track of the urgency. While planning your work day, prioritize which tasks you need to complete first, which ones require more time and which ones can be pushed back. Completing tasks on priority basis can make things easier for you. Also, if you work with a team, you can connect with them online to get assistance or share your work.
- Avoid Distractions
If your television screen is right behind your laptop screen, it’s natural to sometimes give in to the temptation of catching a quick glimpse of your favorite show. Or, you may also get distracted by the music playing in the house or more so by the popping notifications of your social media accounts. Avoiding such distractions is essential while working from home. For this, identify the things that hamper your workflow or concentration and consciously avoid them. Put a limit to your break times or turn off the smartphone internet while working. A few days of practice can easily get you into the habit of following a disciplined work schedule.
- Avoid Absolute Isolation
Working from home could feel lonely sometimes. In the office employees usually connect with their colleagues. Catching up with them about work or in general is helpful to take the mind off work and relax for a while. Also, just having some people around could be motivating at times. However, working from home alone all day and not socializing with anyone could bring you blues and loneliness. To avoid this, try connecting with your co-workers over a phone call or video conferencing. Talking to a friend or your spouse during breaks and making dinner plans could be also helpful.
Like everything, remote work also has its own pros and cons. Whether you work from home out of choice or necessity, knowing a few working from home tips for success could help you in the long run to stay productive and focussed.