As time goes by, more and more companies are implementing work from home policies. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, about 70% of Americans worked from home at least one day a week. However, with the spread of COVID-19, many companies that hadn't already implemented a work from home policy have had to quickly adjust to the changing times.
As a result, people are working from home multiple times a week or even full-time. The ability to work from home more often is now the new normal and is something that companies will more than likely be incorporating permanently into their cultures.
Work from home jobs are not just for big companies though. Working remotely has been the norm for many people who make their living from working in the gig economy.
However, when it comes to working remotely, it's very easy to get distracted and find that your day has gone by with you not being as productive as you'd hoped.
Here are some tips that can help you take your productivity up notch.
10 Key tips to help you improve your productivity while you work from home
1. Create a designated workspace
It could be the spare bedroom with a desk, your kitchen table or a dedicated home office. By designating a specific part of your home as your workspace you can create a sense of boundary. This way you have a specific location dedicated to working just like you would at the office.
Working out of bed can be super attractive and comfortable but then how do you draw the line for yourself between your place of rest and your place of work? You want to be able to tell your mind when it's time to work vs. when it's time to stop working; this can make a huge difference in the level of your productivity.
2. Set fixed working hours
In addition to creating a specific working area, setting fixed work hours can really help you focus on what you need to get done within that time. Yes, you might have a pending deadline that causes you to work late on some days. Or it could be an urgent work email that requires your attention outside of your normal working hours.
However, having a set window and mastering your time is important to be productive. Setting a fixed time to work, allows you to be intentional with your time. It also helps you avoid having work creep into your personal time.
3. Dress up for your workday
It's easy to go straight from your bed to your computer every day (or stay in bed with your computer). And it's definitely super easy to stay in your PJs with your hair in a bun all day. But after a while, it starts to get old and somehow over time, you may feel less and less inspired by taking this approach.
There's something about taking a shower and getting dressed for the day ahead that can help put you in the right mental state.
Who says you can't dress up and look good if you are staying home? By doing this you'll get the chance to wear all those awesome clothes sitting in your closet and reduce your cost per wear.
4. Create your list of goals for the day
Having a list of goals or workday priorities can help improve your focus and in turn your productivity. Sometimes work tasks can be overwhelming and so it's a good idea to make a list of the top 3 to 5 work tasks you need to get done each day.
Doing this will keep you on top of your tasks and remind you of what you need to get done within your designated work hours.
5. Minimize distractions
Distractions are the enemy of productivity and there are so many. From your Instagram feed to all the other social media you consume to your text messages and email alerts constantly going off.
One way to counter this is to set your phone to "do not disturb" for certain periods of time while you are working. You can also mute your email notifications and instead check emails at designated times during the day.
There are also a ton of apps that can help you stay focused and block distractions on your devices including your computer.
6. Take breaks
Being stuck at your desk or in a room all the time can take its toll. Taking breaks can help you step away from the monotony and give your mind a breather. Take a few minutes every couple of hours to stretch or talk a walk for a refresher.
In addition, take time for lunch, preferably not at your desk, if you can. You'll come back fresh and rejuvenated to carry on with your work.
7. Create a nice work atmosphere
Have you ever found yourself going back to the same restaurant over and over again for the ambiance? It could be that you just love the environment even if the food is not that great.
Well, guess what? You can create a workspace that you love regardless of if it's on your kitchen table. And the great news is that it doesn't have to be complicated.
Things like a small vase of flowers, an inspiring photograph, a comfortable chair, a scented candle or diffuser with your favorite essential oils are all things that can make a huge difference. You can even create a system to keep your desk organized and visually appealing while you are at it.
8. Check-in with your team and your boss
While you might be getting work done at home, it's hard for your boss and team to keep up if you don't communicate. Checking in with your team to discuss projects, share updates and stay on top of work tasks is extremely important. It ensures you are focusing on the right things and makes your boss aware of your accomplishments.
Opting for a video call over a phone call can help you feel more connected to your team. Also, sending a weekly update to your boss is a good idea to help you both keep track of your work progress.
9. Stay hydrated, eat well
Staying hydrated and eating well can help you maintain your focus and balance throughout the workday. Sometimes you can get so focused on work that you forget to eat or even drink anything. This can make you tired quickly and in some instances cause headaches.
Plan ahead by purchasing your favorite healthy snacks during your next grocery store run. You can even take some time out on the weekends to do some meal planning to ensure you always have a good meal in the fridge during your workweek.
10. Schedule time for your personal social connections
It can be isolating to work remotely and while you may be keeping up with your co-workers, it's also important that you maintain your personal social connections. Staying in touch with the people you care about can help to minimize stress and loneliness.
This, in turn, can help with your motivation as you approach each workday and keep you focused on what you need to do to stay productive.
If you are new to working remotely, it can take some adjustment especially when it comes to staying productive and setting boundaries. Give yourself time to adjust, be sure to maintain open lines of communication with your team and stay engaged.
Over time you'll find the best workflow for you and you can adjust as needed. If you stay intentional, you can make working from home a great experience.