With the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies are encouraging their employees to work from home. Working from home can be great. You will save time in commuting, and have more time to do things that you want. But it can also be dangerous, especially if you are easily distracted and lured into procrastination.
Sure enough, working from home has a lot of benefits, but if not planned properly, this could turn into missed opportunities. If you are new to the work-from-home lifestyle, you will need to change some habits and routines to make sure that your working from home becomes a success. Here are some tips for successfully working from home:
1. Have a Dedicated Office Space
Make yourself an office or a work area. With a specific working area in your home, you won’t be bothered easily by the other people living in your home. Keep this workstation dedicated to just working because working in front of the tv, in the kitchen, or on the couch will provide many temptations. Make this a stress-free zone - it should be quiet so you can concentrate. To mimic the office environment, invest in pieces of furniture like a good desk and chair so you’ll be comfortable working but not comfortable enough to slack off.
2. Maintain regular working hours.
While working from home, we often lose the track of time especially if our mind is completely into work. Being a workaholic can be good, but keep it within working hours. Having a clear guideline on when to work and when to end will help maintain a healthy work-life balance. Always remember that your personal life is as important as your professional life.
3. Create a Routine
We tend to think that routine is a creativity killer. There are times that you would like to work at a different time. However, having a routine will remind you when it is work time and when it is personal time. Some people start their day with jogging. Some start it with a cup of coffee and check their email. After this, it will make them feel that it’s time for work. A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.
4. Avoid Distractions
If the majority of your work is online, you definitely know the distractions of the internet. It is easy to fall into the trap of social media. Many people start checking their social media accounts as soon as they wake up, and that can carry on throughout the day. Remind yourself to check your accounts only before work and during break time. While at work, close all non-related tabs and websites.
5. Don’t procrastinate
Create a to-do list that you will follow for the day. Make sure to follow the whole list and do 100% of it. Some people do 70% and push the remaining tasks for the next day. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Doing less of what you intend to do for the day creates a cycle of constantly pushing things off to another day. If there are new tasks and you are already behind, it can put you further back.
6. Leave home
Now that you’re spending a lot of time at home, get outside as much as possible. Your body needs to move plus, the sunlight and fresh air will do good for your body. Take time walking outside or do simple gardening in the backyard. Spending time with nature allows you to clear your mind and lessen your stress, which in return will help you to focus on your work the next day.
7. Socialize with Colleagues
Isolation and loneliness are the common problems in working from home. In the office, you get multiple breaks which allow you and your colleague to do small talk. However, in the work-from-home scenario, it is totally different. But don’t feel disconnected, there are multiple channels where you can talk to your colleagues. Allow time to interact with them. Talking to your colleagues about work and life will build a stronger bond that can help keep you excited for work each day.
Discipline is important when working from home. If you are new to this work setup, it may take a little time to adjust. But don’t give up, following the steps above will make life easier and you will eventually get accustomed to it. Also, it is important to figure out what is best for you and sometimes you need help from people who are in the same boat as you. Ask your friends and colleagues for tips on how they stay productive at work.