Working from home sounds like a blissful idea. Imagine working in the peace and quiet, while being able to avoid the commute; it all sounds like an ideal working environment.
In reality, when it comes down to it, work from home is a little hard to get by. Sometimes we get distracted, and other times, it’s a lot more challenging than we originally planned. Just because you’re in the comfort of your own home, doesn’t mean it is easy to implement the full office mode effect!
You get settled in front of your laptop to the constant notifications on your phone, emails arriving on your personal address and the constant need to make a cup of green tea go on blaring at the back of your mind. It seems like distractions are all around – so how do you stay productive during that time?
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
No, your sofa doesn’t count, and neither does your bed! Creating a workspace for you to work in is important for your productivity. Though sitting in bed is a tempting and comforting idea, nothing quite beats having a desk with inspiring literature and the right equipment to knuckle down to work. Treat yourself to a few homeware goodies and make your workspace an inspiring place to be. It will be a real treat to be in such an interesting space!
It will also help you set your working hours and turn off at the end of the day – it will feel like you’re leaving your actual office. When you enter this space, you’ll know you need to knuckle down and work, once you leave it, you know that that is it for the end of the day.
2. Get Prepped Before Everything Else
You may not have the commute but it’s still important to look and feel ready to work. Top up on your Zoom meeting-ready essentials and perfect your hair routine. Look after your hair by applying all those masks and oils you never have the time to use.
Then get styling! Practice waving your hair for a smart and sophisticated vibe for working from home and the office. Apply a bit of makeup, even if it’s just a bit of gloss, to feel a bit more prepped and groomed whilst you’re working from home.
Last but not least, dress up to boost productivity. Even if you’re just wearing a dressy top with your gym leggings, you’re video call-ready and feel a bit more human!
3. Create a Schedule
Like in the office, you need a schedule to get through the day with. That doesn’t mean you have to pile up the work, but decide what hours you are going to do certain tasks. If you’re more productive in the morning, with a cup of coffee, then give yourself more difficult tasks in the morning.
If you struggle to keep awake after lunch, then give yourself easier, hassle-free tasks in the afternoon when possible.
If you have things to do outside of work, such as activities, or other jobs, then work around these and don’t blend them into one big mess – you’ll be rushing around and panicking! The structure is key to having a productive work from home session!
4. Create a To-Do List
Creating a to-do list is another thing to put into place to structure your day. When working from home, it’s easy to do a mix of everything and jump from task to task.
Creating a to-do list allows you to report back more efficiently to senior management to say what you have done, and allows you to feel like you have accomplished far more. You can even treat yourself to a planner for all you stationery addicts to have fun with it – yes, to-do lists can be fun!
Find ways to still work with your colleagues when you’re working from home or you all are. There are so many tools for people to collaborate on – Slack and Trello to put into place a teamwork strategy, and Zoom for those all-important conference calls. Get the job done, and boost your productivity with tools especially-designed teamwork platforms.
6. Communicate More Often
Even though you work together, you can also communicate and enjoy a virtual social life when you’re working from home. Create a Google Hangout or a WhatsApp group conversation with colleagues to talk about your hobbies, things in the news, and what you are up to on weekends or when you’re working from home.
Just because you’re not in the office, chatting around the coffee machine, that doesn’t mean you have to lose the camaraderie of the office.
7. Cut off Distractions
It’s very distracting having your social media notifications pop-up on your screen or your phone, it’s even more distracting having your text messages ping every 5 seconds, or having news notifications.
Unless you and your colleagues are conversing over text, turn notifications off for certain applications on your phone and your computer. Do you need to read the news? Turn the pop-ups off until you have finished your day. It will all contribute to better working conditions.
8. Don’t Forget to Exercise!
You’re not commuting anymore, and though you may not have been walking many miles, you may have even been getting the subway, get those extra steps in. Whether it’s a little jog in the garden or even just trying an Insta Live yoga session, get that bit of exercise to feel liberated and relaxed. Again, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished far more when you’ve managed to fit in a bit of sport in between the conference calls and big tasks!
9. Know Your Boundaries
Set your work hours and stick to them. If you haven’t managed to finish all your tasks for the day, finish the one you’re doing and switch off. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself working well into the evening and you will lose some of your free time.
The same goes for your colleagues if they ring to talk walk late in the evening, tell them you’ll ring them back tomorrow. Unless it’s a very urgent matter, everything can wait until 9 AM the next day. You’ll be awake, refreshed and energized for the day ahead – but you won’t if you’re working or talking to your colleagues until 9 PM. Take time out for yourself!
Today’s guest author is Beth Strong. She is the UK Editor for All Things Hair and has worked in beauty journalism for over four years. When she’s not writing about hair, she can be found wandering around London looking for the best new brunch spots.