Spenda 25 March - 5 min read
We know everyone talks up working from home and have seen the glamour shots with sunny days, beautiful gardens or sparkling home offices. But we know this is not the norm for 90% of people suddenly working from home.
I was always jealous of people who had this capability. It sounded like the dream to work in comfort, take breaks in front of the TV, listen to music and have my own private work domain.
It’s easier said than done for some.
While a lot of businesses (including ours) have decided on working from home to comply with safe social distancing requirements, many employees out there are about to make the leap to remote working.
Distractions are common. I have two desktops and a laptop running, but some people have their children running around at the same time, or an office with multiple people like my colleague Mark below:
While it may have its downsides, working from a home office provides numerous benefits to increase performance, efficiency and a great balance between your quiet time and work time.
Here’s how you can take advantage of working from home;
You’re going to be sitting at this desk for hours on end. Having a comfortable chair, sufficient desk and plenty of space are crucial. Initially, my first remote setup was on the dining room table. Before I knew it my back was aching, there were cords and cables everywhere, I was distracted easily and my productivity went out the door. I moved into a private room with a better desk and comfortable chair and my focus improved immensely.
Unfortunately for some, working from home has required small investments, whether it be hardware, routers or software that is compatible with their usual workplace setup.
In my case, I grabbed all my work monitors and laptop to take home with me. While this may have looked like a robbery to my work colleagues, if this is an option to you then take advantage. If you need to invest in buying hardware, do what you need to do that ensures you will be able to work comfortably and efficiently. Just let your employers know what you take home!
Remember, having no other option than to buy hardware for working at home is also tax-deductible. It might sting the bank balance now, but it’s not all financial doom and gloom down the track.
Now that your cozy work area is good to go, it’s important to stick to routine and work the hours you know. Your body clock has already become accustomed to the specific amount of time you spend working, but the luxury of working from home means you can be flexible and pivot your working hours.
Regardless of your schedule, establishing your work hours clearly with your co-workers, teams or bosses is important. Personally, I find waking earlier to finish earlier is a much easier and productive schedule than sleeping in and having my mind hit the snooze button by late afternoon. Making sure you change out of PJ’s into work-attire clothing also helps!
Probably the most important tip. Nothing kills productivity faster than by making your brain go stale. Get up, walk around for five minutes, make a cup of coffee, listen to music, have a snack, go outside, take your dog for a walk. Anything that gets you off that chair and briefly takes your mind away from work helps your mind reset for a better plan of attack on your tasks.
Most experts recommend a break of 5-15 minutes every hour. Not only does this help your job performance, it’s also better for your health. Times are tough, your mental health comes first.
Remember how many times you get up to make a coffee, fill up your water or stop for a quick chat with colleagues at work? Staring at a screen or paperwork flat out for eight hours is not practical.
If you can leave the house even for a brief amount of time during these social circumstances, do so. A lot of people by now are finding out that being inside for excessive amounts of time makes anyone go stir-crazy.
It’s often hard to keep track of your schedule or tasks at hand when you don’t have co-workers reminding you along the way or the boss breathing down your neck. While many businesses are now conducting meetings via social channels such as Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp (as you can see in our latest meeting below), not having quick accessible support in person can make it challenging to track what you need to work on.
Start your day by reviewing your priorities, make a task list and stick to it. If new and urgent tasks arise then roll with the punches and get back to your job list. Calendars and planners are also mighty helpful.
Food is your fuel, exercise is your release. Lag in either and your productivity and focus will suffer. When my work setup was in the living area, the pantry and fridge whispered to me. Within two days my chips and cookies stash was annihilated.
It was only this week I started eating healthy and made sure to go for a run on my lunch break. I can’t even begin to explain how much this helped my energy levels, creativity, and focus. Exercise also releases endorphins and keeps your mind positive.
Set a goal, achieve it, reward yourself. This will boost your hunger to smash through tasks faster. If you have a mammoth project to complete, tell yourself to take a break once it’s done to reflect and exhale.
I’ve written this entire post with music in the background and it kept my mind flowing. While music at your regular workplace may not be allowed, changing your scenery on occasion is healthy and can help maximise your output.
Working in dead silence is a mood kill. There are no restrictions on making your workplace more fun and enjoyable for you. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, I guarantee the more productive you will be.
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