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Do you know how to be productive when working from home? Unfortunately, for many, it looks like working from home is here to stay.
With the global COVID-19 pandemic shuttering some physical workplaces indefinitely, more and more businesses are considering ways to make the shift to home-based working a more permanent one to save on overhead costs.
There are some positives. Not only does it save time, stress levels, and the air quality not to have to contend with a daily commute, but there is a growing body of evidence that people who work from home are more productive.
However, it can be a BIG change for those of us who have never been home-based before (me), and some people will find it harder to stay motivated than others (also me).
Staying productive when working from home is less about nose-to-the-grindstone focus and more about understanding how YOU work best and how to manage your environment to match it.
Spoiler alert: I hate working from home and can't wait to get back into my office, but in the meantime here are some tips.
Create A Dedicated Work Space
One of the biggest issues that people find when they work from home is a struggle with the blurred boundaries between their working and personal lives. It can be too tempting to stay in pajamas all day, slump on the sofa and eat badly when you don’t have to face an office and co-workers.
The key is to create a routine that works well for you, and set those boundaries for yourself. Start by making sure you have a dedicated, ergonomic working space. Don't stay hunched over your laptop if you can get your hands on some external monitors and a docking station.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, you can turn it into a home office. If you have to work from the kitchen or the dining room table, make sure you have all the equipment you need. If you can leave it there, great! If not, make sure it's easy to pack away each night.
Maintaining this distinction and not having to look at work tools when you aren’t working may seem minor, but it’s actually very important for some people.
Check In With Self Care
Working solo means you have to be more self-reliant, but it is essential to check in with yourself from time and time and ensure that you have the tools for good mental health.
This could mean setting aside the time for some mindfulness practice each day, accessing the services of a coach like Kristen Blake Wellness, finding a virtual support network or simply factoring in time for a coffee on Zoom with friends.
If you don’t make time to look after your own wellbeing, you are likely to get burnt out far quicker.
Take Out Distractions
Staying productive when working from home means you're dealing with different types of distractions. Kids, chores, laundry, social media, interrupting spouse, pets... It's very different from the distractions that occur in the workplace.
It can help to download a social media blocker app (I use Freedom) if you find yourself losing time to mindless scrolling, and if you really need to concentrate on a particular piece of work, try muting all notifications so you don’t get the constant ping pulling your attention.
You can also try using productivity software to keep you on track and monitor what needs to be done, so that you’re on top of things, which naturally keeps you more motivated.
Give Yourself Grace
Above all, don't beat yourself up if you find that you're not liking working from home. I'm that person. I'm itching to get back into the office, to see people in person.
If you're working for one of the lucky companies that's re-opening their offices, use these tips in the meantime—and remember that they'll also help when you're back in the office.
This is a partnered post.