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Stay productive!

Our top tips for how to stay productive while working from home:

Due to the COV-ID 2019 epidemic many employees are now working from home. For some, it may be easy to adapt to your new working environment but for others it may be quite challenging. We’ve put together some top tips about how you can get the most out of working from home during these difficult times

SET REAL WORK HOURS

One of the greatest benefits of working from home for employees is the flexibility that it offers. For example, if you are most productive in the morning you can start working earlier and finish earlier or respectively if you are most productive in the evenings you can start work later and finish later.

Use the time when you are most focused to zoom through your tasks and enforce a hard limit at the end of the workday, to avoid nonstop work or burnout.

Regardless of your schedule, make sure to set specific work hours, follow them every day and communicate your work schedule to your manager and co-workers.

AVOID WORK CREEP

Sometimes work can become invasive and if you are always at home and near to your work, then it may creep into your personal life.

Yes, the risk is real, but you could prevent it. This refers back to setting work hours – by setting specific work hours and sticking to them, you will not only increase your performance but you will also create a healthy work schedule.

At the end of the workday, shut down the laptop, set your work apps to “away” and close the door of your workplace.

DISCOVER YOUR HIGHEST PRODUCTIVITY PERIODS

Every individual has productivity peaks at different times of the day. Some individuals are morning people and are most productive during the early morning hours. Others like night owls are most productive and focused in the evenings. Therefore, it is crucial for you to discover when you are most productive and build your work schedule around those productivity peak periods.

MAKE A TO-DO LIST EVERY MORNING

When working from home and you manager is not close around, it could be challenging to keep track of what you have to do throughout your workday. It’s very easy to lose track of priorities, tasks and deadlines.

Start your day by reviewing your priorities and create a list of tasks to follow throughout the day. Set goals and time limits for each task. Once you have completed the task simply cross it off the list. This is a simple technique but is both very effective and fulfilling.

DON’T WORK IN YOUR PJS!

We all know this is one of the reasons people love working from home. Although you may enjoy working in your PJs, you will be killing your productivity if you do so. “Dress for success” isn’t just a corporate cliché, it really matters when you work from home. Beyond psychologically getting in the right mindset for work, if you dress for work you will be able to handle any kind of video chat or check-in with a co-worker without disturbing your focus and productivity. You will not be only mentally and physically prepared for the day but you will be prepared to get work done.

Therefore, even if you don’t have to leave the house, dress for work as if you are in the office.

AVOID WORKING IN THE LIVING ROOM

This is another way to kill your productivity. Some people may think working from home is a day to binge watch Netflix, but that’s wrong. You could indulge in this experience but only once, otherwise it will catch up with you and completely ruin your productivity.

Working from home is not just about avoiding meetings and appointments. In fact, quite the opposite and remote workers need to take seriously the responsibility that comes with working in their quarters. Avoiding the TV and other digital distractions will allow you to focus on your work and finish your daily tasks.

SET A MORNING ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT

Another enjoyable perk of working from home is not having to rush out of the house and commute to the office.

However, that doesn’t mean you should skip all of your morning routine. Get up early, take a shower, make your coffee/tea and breakfast, and prepare your lunch just like you have to do when working from the office. Since you will be staying indoors, take a brief walk around the block during your lunch break to take some fresh air and clear you head.

SET MULTIPLE ALARMS

When working from home you won’t need to get up as early to leave the house, however you should still set up an alarm to commit to waking up at the same time every day. This will prevent you from oversleeping and will help you keep a healthy sleep schedule.

Human beings are creatures of habits. We depend incredibly on habits, routines and schedules to be more focused, more alert and more productive. Alarms are not just for waking up, you could set alarms for lunch and wrap-up since working from home tends to blur the lines.

EXERCISE AND STRETCH REGULARLY

Exercising naturally boost endorphins, which increases the levels of happiness, enjoyment and engagement, all of which are important for your productivity. Furthermore, regular stretches will help you maintain a healthier posture. Get involved in many of the online challenges, have fun and increase your fitness levels.

STICK TO HEALTHY MEALS AND SNACKS

Another work from home reality is that we have full access to the kitchen all of the time. So, when it’s time for lunch or a snack break we are immediately tempted for the usual snacks like crisps, biscuits or leftover pizza. Whereas, when we work in the office, we have only the choice of what is available in the office kitchen and the lunch we brought from home.

However, studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct positive link on our productivity levels. If you are really drawn to unhealthy snacks you can avoid buying them to reduce the temptation. With extra planning you can purchase more nutritional snacks rather than impulse purchasing crisps and biscuits. Make Friday your cheat day and reward yourself for your productive week with meal or snack of your choice.

TAKE SHORT BREAKS

When we work from home we can get more tasks done due to fewer distractions. Therefore, sometimes we may end up working too much which not only kills productivity but also may lead to burnout. Although taking regular breaks may seem counterproductive, studies have shown that taking short breaks is actually increasing both productivity and creativity. If you don’t create a significant work life balance you won’t last long working from home.

You could easily avoid that by setting short, five-minutes breaks into your work schedule or even make them part of your reward system.

CREATE A REWARDS SYSTEM

We mentioned using a rewards system in the point above. This is a very easy way to motivate yourself to finish tasks and deadlines – even the ones you have been procrastinating or putting off. For example once you finish an important business call take a five-minute break to stretch or grab a healthy snack.

Although it seems simple, implementing a reward system will boost your motivation to get things done as well as help you feel fulfilled.

UTILISE PRODUCTIVITY APPS

If you struggle focusing on your tasks while working from home, then you may need to adopt a time management app. Some productivity apps will track the amount of time you spend on each task and even minimise distractions. We recommend the following apps:

  • Harvest
  • RescueTime
  • Toggl

Using a time tracker app will help you to analyse your productivity levels each day and highlight your most productive periods during the day.

STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

I think we can all agree that we are guilty on this one from time to time. Social media can be extremely time-consuming if you are not careful. Many mobile apps now reveal to users the exact amount of time they have spent on each one. This could be an eyeopener especially for casual social media users.

Minimising the use of social media will help you to avoid distractions and you will be able to fully focus on your tasks. If you love using social media make a habit to pause, mute or even turn off social media notifications on your phone during the day.

Depending on the nature of your job you could end up spending most of your day on video conferencing with your team. In that case we recommend working in a well-lit room – it will bring out your best features!!!

CHECK-IN WITH CO-WORKERS REGULARLY

Make time to meet with your team regularly. All meetings should have an agenda actively involving contribution from all members. Dedicate time to meet privately with each member so that they can share status updates on current projects and discuss developments in their personal life.

Video chat is a great way to stay connected with you colleagues. Meet regularly and don’t forget to relax and have a little fun!

BE AWARE OF SECURITY RISKS

You may not be in the office but that doesn’t mean you are not a target for hackers. Even at home your computer/laptop is still vulnerable and incredibly valuable to hackers and digital criminals, so you need to ensure you work securely:

  • Make sure you are familiar with your company’s network policies regarding the use of Wi- Fi, personal devices, phone system and more.
  • Utilise a business-grade Virtual Private Network (VPN) for encryption. Larger companies are likely to have already adopted a VPN solution.
  • Employ “trust but verify” mindset for all attachments sent to your inbox. Learn how to get IT assistance help and how to report security threats.
  • When working close the room’s door to avoid disclosing sensitive information to family or visitors.

 

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