We’ve all been thrown a huge curveball over the last month; to say the least. With many employees being forced to work remotely from offices being closed, we’ve all had to reexamine our roles and how we can best perform them from our own homes. Working remotely can be familiar to many in this day and age, but for some, this can be a new venture that may take some adjusting to. In this blog post, we give you 15 tips on how to be the most productive while working from home and how to become a better professional from it.
- Alter your schedule and create new routines to best suit your home life. Parents will most definitely know this to be true, with a huge challenge being from homeschooling while working. Trying to find time for conference calls and team communication can be tough while making sure the kids are staying busy. However, when a balance can be struck, you will improve immensely because of it!
- Sometimes you have to have quiet. If that means locking yourself in a back bedroom for a few minutes while you get on a call, or just to listen to yourself think for a bit, it’s all that’s needed! We often underestimate the benefit that silence has on our brains and concentration, but in all actuality, it is extremely important. Allow yourself some time that’s free from sensory distraction and see how your productivity increases.
- Change up your work location. If you’ve been sitting at the same desk or table, try another location in your house or step outside. Creating a new spot to work at can replenish your energy, thought processes and concentration levels to help you finish your workday strong.
- Make lists and stick to them. Take the last 15 minutes of the day to make a prioritized to-do list for the next day. Everyday distractors of home, such as social media browsing, playing with pets, etc., can really take up a lot of time and take away from your overall daily productivity. Creating a list can make all the difference. Plus, that feeling of accomplishment when you strike through lines of tasks is second to none!
- Take a break and take it in its entirety. When working in an office environment, it’s easy to allow yourselves a few breaks, because everyone else around you is taking them. It’s also psychologically important because not giving your brain (and eyes) a break can actually hinder your productivity and the accuracy of your work. Taking a walk outside or sitting down to read can help you replenish your mental muscles back to full capacity.
- Manage your expectations. When working from home, your patience can oftentimes be tested. Learning how to navigate that sudden wide and vast divide in communication, deciphering e-mails and what that typo was actually attempting to say can be an art and science! Now, more than ever, we are so reliant on each other to pull through, but managing expectations helps keep relationships healthy and deadlines met.
- Include normal hours to your workday. It’s important to be able to keep a set a schedule and stick to it. Well, most of the time. When working from home, it can be difficult to find a time to close down for the day but maintaining a positive work-life balance is important for both your happiness and productivity. Having a hard stop at a certain time can set healthy boundaries as well as to help you prioritize your tasks and workload.
- Embrace phone calls and webchats. Gone are the days of letting that phone ring through to voicemail to check later. So many know the power that Zoom chat or simple phone call can have and how far a conversation can go, even at a distance. Hour-long tasks can be minimized to a 30-minute Zoom call, and collaboration is now the future, where independence once stood.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Communication plays an integral role in working remotely. We often take for granted the ability to be able to just pop into the doorway of someone’s office and relay a piece of important information. When working from home, the answer to your question or the best piece of advice from a coworker is only phone call, email or video chat away.
- Always stay connected, even if it means over-communicating. For anyone who’s worked remotely, there’s always that lingering feeling right before you hit the ‘send’ button where you’re pondering if you’ve sent the person on the receiving end way too many emails. Although the answer to that question may be relative, over-communication is exorbitantly better than no communication at all. It’s easy for waters to be muddied from unclear messages, so even if you are needing the tiniest detail to get on with your task, just ask!
- Socialize with your colleagues. Even for the most introverted of workers out there, working from home can be very lonely at times. When you have some free time, send your coworker a text to see what they’re up to, or give them a call to see how they’re holding up. We have to remember that it’s not just the workplace that we’re shut off from, it’s our normal lives and routines as well.
- Know yourself and, therefore, know your weaknesses. This is paramount when it comes to being the most productive and efficient with your time. Finding it hard to work with your favorite show on while typing emails? Turn it off and allow yourself space to think and concentrate. Having difficulty being creative towards the end of the day? Block your creative work towards the late morning to early afternoon and leave simpler tasks time to be completed toward the end of the day. You know yourself the better than anyone, so redirect your weaknesses to make way or your strengths.
- Leave your company in a better place than it was before. Although working from home can offer up all-new challenges than what the day-to-day workload can, have a mindset for growth. If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands, why not use that time to strategize or think of new ideas, process and procedures? No matter the circumstances, there is always an opportunity to grow.
- Be optimistic and play to win. There’s no denying that these uncertain times have been scary for business owners and employees alike. The important thing is to optimize your mindset and to find new mental gears for improvement. Optimism is both a mindset and a strategy to push yourself and your company forward. Playing to win is a belief in yourself and your team and is a tool to help find new ways to best serve your clients and customers.
- Take care of yourself. Although the pandemic has led to many closures, it’s imperative to find time to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Exercise, eat as healthy as possible and find joy in your relationships and hobbies. It’s not that easy to ‘turn it off’, especially when it seems like all business is being run from our phones and computers. Burn out can seriously hinder your work performance, not to mention that it’s your fundamental human right to be happy!
Whether you’ve got an extreme case of cabin fever, or you’re just needing a shift in perspective, we hope that these tips are helpful to you or your business. Unusual circumstances call for unorthodox measures, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for our professional and personal benefit. Implement some or all of these tips and be amazed by how much more enjoyable your new work situation can become!