Although the trend towards working from home was in place well before the COVID-19 pandemic, it has certainly sped up in the past 18 months with large scale lockdowns impacting organisations all over. Many workers are finding themselves permanently working remotely for the first time and are finding the adjustments significant.
Whilst working remotely has many advantages, to some, it can feel like Groundhog Day with a sense of disengagement and a lack of camaraderie..
There are also a number of hazards that are present in the working from home environment that can impact on your productivity, as well as your health.
Here are some tips that may just make it far more productive, safer and enjoyable for you:
01. Escape Groundhog Day
At home, you don’t get to see different faces everyday as you would in a normal working environment and sooner or later one day can tend to blend into the next. To avoid this, plan a week at a time and include things throughout your days that will tend to differentiate one day from another. Try getting dressed for work as you would normally and leave the house, take a walk around the block and return as if you are walking to work.
Think about things that enhance your health and well-being as well as productivity, activities that motivate and inspire you.
02. Prevent Burn Out
One of the traps of working remotely is that your work life and home life can often tend to meld together. The problem with this is, working too many hours can lead to burnout and a decrease in productivity.
A way to resist this is to have preset start and finish times and stick to them. If your organisation allows it, these hours can vary from day to day depending on the requirements around the home and family. But try to keep it as rigid as possible.
You should also have a daily morning ritual that works for you. Try out different things like getting up early to do a morning run, a yoga session, meditation and so on.
03. Perform Safe Ergonomics
Having your work station setup inappropriately from an economic point of view can wear out your body and have an enormous impact on your energy levels at the end of each day.
In a perfect world , when sitting at your workstation, try a chair with adjustable height and a sitting upright posture with your lower back supported.
When working at a computer, your eyes should be at least 46 cms from the screen, and just above the top of the screen. Looking down at your screen creates a posture where your neck is too far forward and there is too much strain on your neck muscles.
Just as important as posture are adequate rest breaks and gentle stretching sessions.
You should also alter your work duties for a few minutes every hour or so. This relieves muscles and gives your eyes a well earned rest.
04. Avoid Distractions
If you are working from home, some of you may have housemates or family home at the same time who may find it hard to respect the fact that you are actually working. It usually helps if you can set the ground rules early.
If you have a young family at home during working hours, you must discuss expectations with them. You need to be given the same ability to focus on your work during working hours as you would have if you were working in your organisation’s office.
If possible try to create a dedicated work space that separates your work from the rest of the living area even if it is just a desk in the corner of a bedroom.
A technique you might find helpful is at the start of the day to put on your work clothes and at the end of the workday to move out of your work clothes and into your lounge clothes. This will give a visual signal to those around you when you are at work and when you are at home.
A white noise machine or app can help reduce noisy distractions emanating from other areas in the home. If you prefer silence, noise cancelling headphones can be a great investment.
05. Procrastinate Less
As well as distraction, procrastination is another pitfall that can impact productivity when working from home. A great time management technique and a sure fire way to increase productivity is to make a to-do list of what you need and or want to accomplish at the start of each day. Prioritise the tasks that are most important, budget your time accordingly and then apply the Pomodoro technique.
Sometimes a change in scenery can aid productivity. You may want to think about scheduling a block of work in a different part of your home or apartment, maybe a balcony or at a coffee shop with Wi-Fi.
Always keep a drink bottle nearby and make sure you are hydrated. Getting plenty of fluids into your body will help increase your focus and boost your energy.
06. Maintain Communication
It’s a well known fact that in the workplace, effective communication is a huge advantage when seeking successful outcomes.
This is especially important in remote teams when day-to-day and casual conversation is at a minimum. Regular video catchups with co workers and management are vital to keep everyone on the same page, informed and connected. Social video catch ups with co-workers are also important with the ability to read body language via video a huge plus.
Working away from the office can present unique challenges …. we hope the few tips we have shared with you in this training program will help make your remote working a bit more comfortable, productive and enjoyable.