Staying productive can be a challenge in any environment. When working from home it can be easy to become distracted unloading the dishwasher, feeding the cats or doing an online PE session with the kids. Working from home can make you feel cooped up, uninspired and, frankly, just too relaxed to work.
With 66% of UK workers now working from home, here are our five top tips for making the most of remote working and staying productive even when Netflix is calling your name.
TIPS FOR STAYING PRODUCTIVE
1. Keep in touch
Here at Faith PR we always have regular team catch-ups in the office over a cup of tea, which is definitely more difficult when we’re all staying home! However, there are ways to get around this using online conference and video calling tools including Microsoft Teams, Zoom and not forgetting a good old-fashioned phone call.
While it isn’t the same as face-to-face contact, seeing a friendly face and hearing a familiar voice can do a lot for your state of mind. Being able to connect with the team and have the usual conversations and meetings does wonders to keep team morale up, keeping you inspired and connected.
Feeling lonely or disconnected while working remotely is completely normal, especially when faced with it for a long period of time, but hearing a voice and having a good talk through the job at hand can really help get you out of that rut and back on track.
2. Track your time
When working from home it can be easy to get distracted and lose track of time. Planning out your day and trying to stick to it as best you can is one of the best methods of staying productive. While it may not be possible to plan the day hour by hour, simply aiming to get one project complete by a certain time can help motivate you and inspire productivity. Creating deadlines can bring out the competitive nature in even the most relaxed individuals.
At Faith we’ve been using time tracking tools Harvest and Monday.com to keep on top of projects for a while now. It is really handy to see where other team members are up to and update them on your progress as well. Some of these tools also allow file sharing, video calls and can integrate with other programmes like Google Drive or Dropbox.
3. Create a home office
Many picture working from home as lounging in bed all day on your laptop with an endless supply of chocolate biscuits to hand. While this may work for some, staying in bed can make you feel really unproductive. Moving to your home office or creating a dedicated space to work will really benefit your productivity.
Having clear boundaries and spaces for both working and relaxing will help create that ‘switching off’ feeling even when you don’t have the physical act of coming home at the end of the day. Making sure you have an office space separate from the relaxed areas of your home will make it feel like you’re at work and put you in the mindset to crack on with the task at hand.
4. Avoid headline harassment
We’re all guilty of having a quick glance at Twitter every now and then or having the TV on in the background of a conference call but, especially at the moment, it can be so easy to get drawn into the latest headlines and comments. Granted, some jobs (including ours!) require you to stay abreast of current affairs and respond to the news agenda, but scrolling through comments on the latest headlines and hearing the constant pinging of news alerts can be very distracting and make it difficult for even the most focused people to concentrate.
Getting drawn into the headlines and consumed by the worrying news can have a horrible impact on your concentration, mental health and your productivity.
Allow yourself set times to check social media and put your phone away, or at the very least mute your notifications and perhaps limit your news intake to a flick through the morning papers and watching the daily press conferences.
5. Stick to your routine
Try and stick to your usual routine as much as possible. If you generally make a coffee at 11am, do that. If you use your Wednesday lunch break to go to the gym, replace it with a home workout at the same time. Simulating your regular routine will help get you in the right mindset to get productive and get to work.
Make sure you maintain proper breaks throughout the day too. It can be so easy to continue working into your lunch hour or over the end of your working day when you’re at home. Make sure you maintain as much of your usual routine as possible. Overworking yourself will be detrimental and can affect both your current and long-term productivity.
Adjusting to a new routine and maintaining productivity can be difficult, especially with such a drastic change as we are currently facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Communication has never been more important and is the key to maintaining productivity, working relationships and our mental wellbeing.