10 Tips to Optimize Working from Home
By: Megan Kossow
It seems these days, due to COVID-19, most of us are working from home. For some it has been a dream come true and others, well, it has been tough to stay on track. As someone who started working from home before the Virus broke out, I'm here to share a few tips with you to help you boost your productivity and overall well being! It is important to find a routine/plan that works well for you! Try different things out and do what works best for you.
1. Create a Routine
Create a morning routine for your work days. Wake up and make some coffee or do some yoga, same as you would if you were traveling to the office. Set your dedicated work hours and STICK TO THEM. It may seem convenient to work longer hours and get projects done early, but that is a sure fire way to burn yourself out!
2. Create a Dedicated Work Space
Create an area that is used strictly for work, even if that may be a seat at your kitchen table! Make sure that if it is your kitchen table seat, you do not eat there during breaks. The lines between work and home life can be blurred, establishing a work space can help make that line clear.
3. Take Breaks!!
Take scheduled breaks in their entirety (this is definitely one I tend to struggle with). Use the time to go on a walk, do some yoga or talk to family members/house mates. When you are on a break, make it a habit to walk away from your work computer and do other things. This will help your mind unwind- and again- avoid brain burnout. With that said- it is important that you take 2-5 minutes every hour to step away from your desk and stretch- in the office or at home!
4. Over Communicate
It can be easy to get in the zone and forget to communicate with your co-workers/managers/employees about what you are doing. Instant messaging, emails, and video calls can help clarify and remind everyone how you are contributing. It can also be a great way to communicate your schedule and availability.
5. Plan Out Your Work
A great way to stay focused is to plan out your work for the day ahead of time. Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer- but it can be easy to get distracted by everyday life and lose track of what you were working on/what is expected of you. Spending time figuring out what you will be working on for that day actually takes time away from those tasks.
5. Set Focus Days
Set clear days to focus on big projects and things with a specific deadline. Let anyone who needs to know that during these days you will be in minimum communication & full focus on the project at hand.
6. Take Advantage of Your Perks
Have a load of laundry in the basket taunting you to clean it? Throw it in the machine! Always wanted to make some fresh home-made bread? Go ahead! Working from home has its perks. So long as you are getting work done, take some time to also do things that you wouldn't have the chance to if you were in the office. You deserve it!
7. Take Sick Days
It may seem easy to not take sick days while you work from home. This is another way to create significant burnout. Your employer offers you sick days for a reason, use them if you need to!
8. Play Music
I find listening to classical music helps me focus on whatever task I am working on, especially if it is reading. Listening to music can help drown out distraction noises and boost productivity. Create a playlist for work and listen to it, however you want, you aren't in the office so it won't bother your co-workers!
This is different from over communicating your work projects. Working from home can feel like you are an outsider in your company. Whenever you can, instant message or email co-workers to catch up. Make time for "water cooler chat" like you would if you were in the actual office. Create or join a group work chat, it can benefit everyone.
10. Make it your Own
While these tips work well for me, they may not work as well for you! Do your research, take the time to figure out what works best in your routine and stick to it! Do whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable and helps you to be productive! Create your routine and own it.
For some working from home is a breeze, for others it is a struggle. Take these tips and create your routine and I bet you'll feel much better about the situation. Don't be too hard on yourself for getting distracted, it happens to everyone!
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