Remote work can come with unique challenges. Learn how to stay productive while working from home.
Here's what you need to know:
- Ensure that you’ll stay productive while WFH by creating a dedicated workspace for yourself
- For maximum productivity, try to set your work hours for the time of day when you’re usually most productive — then make sure to let everyone know what they are
- Reduce distractions. Let your family know they shouldn’t disturb you during work hours. Free your workspace of items that might distract you
- Make sure to plan out and write down what you need to do every day. GTD and the Eisenhower Matrix are possible frameworks to use
- Taking regular breaks is crucial for staying productive and avoiding burnout when working remotely
- Exercising regularly, eating healthy, and scheduling social interactions all have positive impacts on productivity
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way most businesses operate and has forced many companies to transition to working remotely.
Since most businesses weren’t operating remotely prior to the pandemic, it’s not surprising that a lot of companies and their employees are struggling to stay productive while working away from the office. This is especially true for startups since they have fewer resources to spend on adapting to remote work compared to large companies.
In this blog post, we’re going to go over 6 tips you can act on today to make sure you’re productive while working from home.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
One of the best ways to ensure that you’ll stay productive while working from home is to create a dedicated workspace for yourself. Having a dedicated workspace will help to put yourself into work mode and allow you to stay focused for prolonged periods of time.
When deciding where to set up your new workspace, try to find a quiet area inside your home, with preferably a window nearby. This could be a spare room or a dedicated area of your living room or bedroom.
Once you find the ideal spot for your workspace, make sure to equip it with everything you need to work and be productive. You should also strive to make your workspace as comfortable as possible since you’ll be spending a large chunk of your day there.
2. Try to maintain regular work hours
Transitioning to working from home can often result in people working more hours than they do at the office. Some do this to prove to their boss that they’re not slacking off. For others, it simply gets harder to separate their work and personal lives.
Remember — just because you have a flexible schedule right now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set and try to maintain regular work hours. This will help to prevent you from spending the entire day working and having no time for yourself. It will also help to ensure that you’re only focused on work-related tasks during your work hours. Finally, it will make you more productive and help to improve your work-life balance.
For maximum productivity, try to set your work hours to be during the time of day when you’re usually most productive. Once you set your work hours, make sure to let everyone know what they are. This includes your family, friends, and coworkers.
By doing this, you’ll make sure that your family and friends won’t disturb you while you’re working. As for your coworkers, they’ll know when you’re available, as well as when they shouldn’t be trying to reach you.
Remember — just because you have a flexible schedule right now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set and try to maintain regular work hours. This will help to prevent you from spending the entire day working and having no time for yourself.
3. Reduce distractions
Getting distracted is one of the biggest issues for remote workers who want to stay productive while working away from the office. If you work from home, you probably get distracted by family members all the time. This is especially true if you have small children. Distractions are inevitable for those living alone as well; household chores, video games, and Netflix will all be competing for your attention.
If you want to stay productive while working from home, you need to make sure to reduce distractions as much as possible. Let your family members know they shouldn’t disturb you during work hours. You should also make sure that your workspace is free of any items that might distract you (e.g., your smartphone or tablet).
4. Prepare for the day
Proper preparation is the best way to ensure that you’ll stay productive while working from home. You need to have a plan for your workday, with specific tasks you need to complete and goals you want to accomplish. There are many techniques and frameworks you can use here, including:
- Getting Things Done (GTD)
- The Eisenhower Matrix
- Time blocking
Apart from helping you stay productive, writing down all your daily tasks and goals will also ensure you don’t forget to do anything.
Which of these you’ll ultimately decide to use doesn’t really matter. What’s important is to make sure to plan out and write down what you need to do every day. Apart from helping you stay productive, writing down all your daily tasks and goals will also ensure you don’t forget to do anything.
Additionally, checking off tasks as you complete them will give you a sense of accomplishment, helping you stay motivated about doing everything you set out to do for the day.
5. Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks is crucial for staying productive and avoiding burnout when working remotely. If you know that you can only stay focused for about an hour before zoning out, schedule a break every hour and then use it to get away from your desk. You can go grab a snack, go for a walk, or read a few pages of a book — whatever helps your productivity.
Alternatively, you can try the Pomodoro technique and work in 25-minute sessions broken up by 5-minute breaks.
Most importantly, remember to actually rest during your breaks. Don’t make the mistake of trying to finish up some household chores during your breaks — you’ll only end up exhausting yourself.
6. Stay healthy
You can’t be productive if you’re not feeling well. It’s very common for people to neglect their health when they first start working remotely. They spend all their working and resting hours sitting or lying down, and get into the habit of ordering takeout instead of preparing meals for themselves.
With social distancing orders in place, a lot of people are also completely isolating themselves right now and not having any social interactions whatsoever. You need to combat these issues by exercising regularly, eating healthy, and scheduling social interactions — even if they’re virtual.
A lot of people are also completely isolating themselves right now and not having any social interactions whatsoever. You need to combat these issues by exercising regularly, eating healthy, and scheduling social interactions — even if they’re virtual.
Making sure you do some form of physical exercise regularly is extremely important when you spend most of your workday sitting down.
Don’t think that you can’t do a good workout just because you can’t go to the gym right now. You can find a workout routine on YouTube and follow it at home, try out yoga, or go for a run. Which type of exercise you’ll choose isn’t really all that important as long as you make sure to do it regularly.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering takeout all the time while working from home. While there are a few healthy takeout options out there, most takeout food is high in both calories and fat. Eating this kind of food all the time — apart from most likely making you gain weight — will also make you feel sluggish. This, in turn, will have a negative impact on your productivity.
It’s crucial to make sure you’re eating healthy when working from home. In most cases, you should avoid ordering takeout and just prepare all your meals at home. If you organize yourself properly, you should be able to prepare a day’s worth of meals the night before. This will make sure that you’ll be able to eat healthy during your workday and won’t resort to ordering takeout or surviving on chocolate bars.
Schedule social interactions
Your mental health is especially at risk when you work from home. Due to the nature of remote work, people working from home tend to experience reduced social contact and even isolate themselves. This has been linked to a host of health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular problems, depression, anxiety, and increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
To make sure you don’t isolate yourself completely, remember to schedule social interactions the same way you schedule time for work-related tasks. With social distancing orders in place, you’ll most likely need to keep these online. That shouldn’t be a problem, though.
There are plenty of ways to interact with others remotely thanks to technology. For example, you can chat with your coworkers about non-work related things on Zoom or get together with your friends for a virtual coffee using Skype.
Stay productive during the COVID-19 pandemic
While staying productive during the pandemic is harder than usual, it’s not impossible. The key lies in creating a dedicated workspace for yourself, maintaining regular work hours, and reducing distractions as much as possible.
You should also strive to prepare for every workday by writing down a list of tasks you need to complete and the goals you want to accomplish.
Additionally, strive to take regular breaks, exercise regularly, eat healthy, and stay in touch with your family, friends, and coworkers.