Work From Home Life: How to remain productive
Laundry. Your spouse. Kids. Your phone. The refrigerator. Netflix.
What do these items have in common? They are potential distractions when you are doing your best to remain productive in your work from home environment. As more companies allow employees to work remote, individuals need to learn how to remain focused in completing 8 hours a day.
According to research, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based coworkers, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. While some managers expect to see a decline in productivity from employees working from home, the research shows this is simply not true1.
Whether you work from home every day, a couple of times per week, or just work from home during a pandemic, here are a few tips that I use as a production manager to help get the most out of my remote work hours.
I have created an environment in my home where I go during my working hours. By jumping from spot to spot, you can become easily distracted with things that need to be addressed. Think about the type of environment you need. Is a little noise OK? Do you want to play music? Do you need access to a particular room in your house? Settle on a place that you enjoy being in. I always prioritize comfort.
Set a Schedule
Every morning I act as if I am going into the office. I maintain regular hours. I set the alarm. Shower. Eat breakfast. Get dressed (makeup optional). I enter my WFH workspace and get to work. I establish set break and lunch times based on the events of the day and try my best to stick to the schedule every day to stay focused and productive. The average worker starts work at 8:32 am and ends work at 5:38 pm. My hours are very similar.
Set Ground Rules with the People in Your Space
A recent study showed that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most productive days of the week, in that order2. Just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. I have three kids. They know the rules. Unless someone is sick or injured – do not bother Mom! When my children come home from school, I take 5 minutes to ask them about their day, grab them a snack and then excuse myself until dinner.
Listen to Music
Music can help you be more creative and more productive at the same time. Researchers have claimed that listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. This theory, named “the Mozart Effect,” suggests that listening to classical music enhances one’s ability to manipulate shapes and solve spatial puzzles3. I personally prefer Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan to get me through my day.
Leave Your Space
Know your company’s policy on break times and take them. I take small breaks throughout the day, whether for a walk around the neighborhood or a phone call to a friend. It gives me the mental break that’s needed to help remain focused on completing the tasks for the day.
A good dose of laughter and weekend catch-up is beneficial for everyone. A few years back, a top banking firm did an employee study that showed the most productive workers belonged to close-knit teams and spoke frequently with colleagues. Go ahead, take a few minutes to message your friends or connect on social media. Better yet, schedule a lunch or meet coworkers for coffee at least once a week.
Keep Your WFH Space Organized
At the end of each workday, I clean up the clutter. I wipe down my laptop and desk and remove any trash. The idea is to leave your work from home environment as you would like to see it the next morning – clean, neat and organized. I feel energized—and not deflated—when I sit down at my desk the next day.
Many employees have been working from home for years, thanks to developments in tech that make remote work possible. Now, amid the outbreak of COVID-19, more companies are realizing that it is no longer necessary for everyone to be in the same building. Recently, Twitter said that employees have the option of never coming back to the office to work, while Facebook Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Salesforce.com Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc. have said they don’t expect workers back in the office until 2021 — if then. When employees set up an efficient workspace, establish a daily routine and set clear boundaries, employees are showing it is possible to be efficient and productive when working from home.
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