In the years to come we might look back at 2020 as the year we started the transition from the work office to the home office.
For some the move to the home office has been easy, with the benefits far outweighing the negatives. For others however, productivity has been hard to come by. With working from home set to become a part of life, we look at four ways to help you be as productive as you can be in your new workplace.
1. Start early
Even if you’re not a ‘morning person’, early mornings can be the most productive. The pets and kids are usually still in bed and the neighbour hasn’t yet cranked up the lawnmower. Plus your mind is fresh after a good sleep. A good method is to get up, have a shower, a coffee or tea, and get straight into it. This is often the time to get the thinking part of your day out of the way, with the afternoon set aside for calls and emails. You can get a good few hours of work done before the mind starts to wander and the stomach starts to growl.
2. Have a place that’s just for work
Your workplace at home shouldn’t also be your living space. Don’t set yourself up on the dining table; if possible have a zone that’s designated just for working, preferably with a door so you can shut the world and distractions out. When you step into this zone, try switching your mind from home to work mode. Make sure everything you need is in the room with you - you don’t want to be hunting through the house for a pen or your notebook 10 minutes in. At the end of the day, leave ‘work’ and close the door behind you.
3. Keep distractions at bay
At home, away from the glare of your colleagues and boss, it’s easy to get distracted by your pet, your partner, social media, the lolly jar in the kitchen, and the pot plant that you’ve just noticed needs watering. The familiarity and comfort of home can make it harder to develop a work mindset, so the less distractions you have around you, the more likely you are to get stuff done. If social media is your weakness, you can set up a work toolbar on your computer without social media icons. If the neighbour’s dog barks at the slightest noise, invest in a good pair of headphones and listen to some light music while you work.
4. Take regular breaks
Working is like driving. If you do it for hours without a break, you'll become less attentive and effective. So every couple of hours, take 10 minutes away from your computer to top up your drink bottle, make a tea or coffee and give your pet some attention. If it’s a nice day, pop outside to stretch the legs and get some sunshine. Taking a break will make you less likely to get distracted later in the day.