Adapting to working from home and ensuring you work as efficiently as you do in the office can be challenging. At home, just like in an office environment, there are many distractions. Combine that with less accountability and less communication with colleagues, and it’s easy to see why some people have a tough time adjusting.
There are plenty of ways to ensure that you can keep working productively from any location. For many of us we need to allow a little time before working from home becomes a natural thing to do.
Whether you work from home every day or just a few times per week, try following these tips to get the most out of your remote working hours:
Create An Office Space
The first and most important step is creating a great home office space. Ideally, it should be somewhere that separates you from home and family life, a space where you can really concentrate. Where possible, avoid working at a desk in your bedroom or a small corner in the living room. Instead, consider building additional space to create your ideal home office. This is by far the most effective way to maintain privacy and avoid distractions.
An excellent and very popular option is a garden room. At Shomera, we have built many garden rooms as offices, helping homeowners build their unique private space, where they can be productive at their jobs while enjoying all the benefits of working from home (WFH).
Plan Your Working Day
When we work from home, away from the company of others and watchful eyes, it can be easy to daydream and get carried away in our thoughts. It is so easy to lose track of time on Social media and Google searches.
To avoid this, we recommend making a work plan and sticking to it. Assign time for work and for light-hearted relief from the heavy workload – maybe once or twice a day for 10 minutes. Avoid getting distracted by unpredictable situations however fun and exciting they are.
Use calendars, desk organisers and notebooks to organise your time and make a schedule. Depending on your profession, you can make weekly or daily schedules to keep track of time and work tasks. Start each day by jotting down the 3 most important tasks you have to complete that day. It’s a great way to focus quickly.
Keep Regular Hours
The most common mistake for beginner remote workers is not having regular work hours. It can be really counterproductive to have an overly flexible schedule, as it can create bad habits. Working one day in the morning and the next at night will only confuse you and set you back at work. Instead of a fluid approach, choose regular work hours. If you are a night person, you can start in the afternoon, but try to keep continuity in your schedule throughout the week.
Separate Home And Family Life
One clear benefit of working from home is spending more time with your family. Too much time spent with them, away from our desks and we can end up buried in unfinished work tasks. Set boundaries in order to separate your family and work. Ask your family for support and inform them that you should not be disturbed during work hours.
This separation will be much easier if you build your office outside the house where you will have maximum privacy and won’t be distracted as much. You may also be able to schedule a long break in which you can all spend time together. But remember that if you stick to your daily schedule, you will spend more time with them after work.
Dress For Success
Even though it might sound silly to some, the clothes we wear influence how we behave and perceive our routines. Research has found that people feel more competent when wearing business clothes. If you stay in your pyjamas or are too informal while WFH, you can bet that you won’t be as effective and productive.
The clothes you wear set the tone for the day ahead. Sometimes it’s not even about whether the clothes are business clothes but how particular clothes help us feel good.
Set Blocks Of Time To Work
Good time management is crucial for achieving your working goals. Time management enables you to work smarter – not harder. Luckily, there are plenty of tried and tested disciplines and techniques you can use to improve your time management
Consider, for example, the Pomodoro technique. Francesco Cirillo invented the Pomodoro method in the 80s. It’s a technique that separates your time into small intervals called Pomodoros. This technique got its unusual name, Pomodoro (the word for tomato in Italian), because Francesco initially used a kitchen timer that was shaped like a tomato.
For this method, choose a task and set the timer for 25 minutes. End the task when the timer rings and mark it as complete on a piece of paper. After you complete four tasks (100 minutes or one set), take a 15 to 30-minute break. You can also take brief breaks (2-3 minutes) between each Pomodoro. Using this wonderful technique really helps you manage distractions and control your time.
Take Scheduled Breaks
It is so important to take breaks while you are working and when working from home it’s no different. Take a moment to go outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. Stretch your legs; in fact, stretching more than your legs is really good if you sit at a desk for long periods. These activities will increase your energy and improve your workflow. There are no rules, everything depends on your personality and the type of work you are doing. Some people need one long break, others function better with multiple shorter ones.
Stay Active And Socialise
In your quest for more productive remote work, don’t forget to also reap the benefits of spending more time at home. Even though you should maintain the same level of productivity, with less commuting you are sure to have more time for socialising with friends and family, and for relaxation and sports.
Use this extra gained time during the day to show some self-love – consider yoga or short meditations. Build memories with your friends and family when you can pop to collect the children or have a nice lunch in your garden.
Doing things like this will not only help keep you connected with others, but it will increase your energy, enabling you to reach your goals faster and start your workday with a clear and peaceful mind.