The concept of working from home is relatively new to a huge percentage of the global population.
Working from home is undeniably a big shift from waking up very early in the morning, getting dressed in a hurry, getting that much-needed dose of caffeine, and rushing to the office.
Working from home means that you can’t meet and interact with your colleagues in an informal manner on a daily basis.
However, there are multiple perks as well.
First and foremost, it’s advisable to see the brighter side of things to make this experience more enjoyable. But don’t be upset about the drawbacks of working from home.
This article will help you overcome a lot of the commonly encountered obstacles of working from home.
Keep reading this article to feel your productive best while working from home!
How to be productive and content while working remotely
As per the research study conducted by SHRM’s COVID-19 Business Index, 64% of employees from the United States of America have been working remotely after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working remotely is one of the best ways to reduce this novel virus, as we all know by now.
Although a good percentage of the global population have realized the benefits of working from home and are comfortable with this new normal, there are some undeniable drawbacks of working from home.
So, how can you overcome these drawbacks?
Well, here are 7 tips to make the experience of working from home a pleasurable and productive one:
- Have a separate workspace
- Dress for work
- Set a routine for your workdays
- Planning is imperative
- Take scheduled breaks
- Catch up with your colleagues virtually
- Use headphones
Now that you’ve read through some important tips to stay productive and happy while working remotely, let’s look at each of these pointers in detail.
1. Have a separate workspace
One of the biggest advantages of working from home is the comfort factor.
However, working in the comfort of your home can both be an advantage and a disadvantage.
Think about it, you can just get your favorite snack in the middle of work or fix yourself a cup of tea or coffee, exactly in the way you like it. If you have a pet, you can play with your pet at any time of the day!
However, there are a few issues with this comfort factor.
Firstly, you can get too comfortable. A lot of people are in the habit of working from their bed! That is both bad for your posture as well as your productivity!
The bed or the couch can be a little too comfortable to get any work done.
For instance, my friend of mine who started working remotely after the pandemic was initially struggling with getting enough work done for the day.
Do you know what helped?
She designated a specific part of her apartment for work. She set up a little workstation in her living room and kept all her important documents, stationaries, and laptop there.
She would only work in that portion of her living room. That’s what really helped her be productive.
Designating a particular part of your living space for working is very important.
When you’d actually go to the office, what helped you get into that mindset of working? It was largely your physical surroundings.
Try to create a set-up that resembles your desk at the office. Only work in that space. The bedroom is for resting and the couch is for recreational activities, not work.
The moment you sit at your desk, you’ll shift to a productive mindset and get work done!
2. Dress for work
Dressing is another major aspect of working from home.
The importance of one’s physical appearance is grossly underrated. The right outfit can actually make a huge difference.
Although it is important to be comfortable in the outfit you’re wearing while you are working, it’s best not to be too comfortable.
As mentioned in the previous section, some comfort is important but not too much comfort.
Although the idea of staying in your bed or couch and working in your nightwear can seem very appealing, it can really hamper your productivity.
Nightwear is very comfortable and so is your bed.
So, you might just feel very sleepy and lethargic and not really get anything done if you’re in your pajamas!
Although it’s not necessary that you wear formal office wear or uncomfortable pencil skirts while working remotely, it is a good idea to change out of your sleepwear.
It’s best to avoid very comfortable loungewear for work. This includes loose tops or t-shirts and track pants or joggers.
Try to find a middle ground such as a soft shirt with jeans or trousers. A comfortable dress or a blouse with flared pants can be great.
It’s also a good idea to groom yourself so that you look presentable for those video calls. Looking put together can make you feel good.
3. Set a routine for your workdays
Think about how your life was when you had to go to your office.
Without even consciously planning out your day, you’d still kind of follow a routine, right?
This is the key to being productive while working remotely!
Setting a good routine for every day of the week, especially the weekdays, is an integral part of staying on track and being productive when working from home.
The overall home environment can quite easily make you feel the desire to relax and put things off to be completed later.
As a result of procrastinating, work keeps on piling up and then you get overwhelmed at the amount of work you have to get done in a short period of time.
The best way to deal with such situations is to prevent these situations from occurring!
Plan your weekdays by either maintaining a journal or just make a chart and keep it on your workstation.
For example, you can write when you will wake up in the morning (e.g.: 7:30 am- Wake up); write down when you’ll have your meals; what time of the day you’ll do your household chores and your work hours.
4. Planning is imperative
One of the best ways to stay on track is by planning.
Now you might be wondering why planning is a separate point.
Well, the previous section spoke about a routine where you fix the timings and the number of hours of your weekdays for work.
Now planning is more in-depth. You can do this on a daily basis or a weekly basis or a monthly basis. Whatever suits you.
You can even plan in all the three aforementioned ways! This planning aspect of working remotely is specific to your work. The routine you set will help you understand how many hours a day you’ll work.
Your in-depth planning will help you understand what exactly you’ll be doing during those work hours.
This is the best way to stay on track and stay motivated.
You won’t encounter situations where you’ll feel overwhelmed by your workload. You may actually look forward to checking tasks off your planner’s checklist.
Buy a good planner that suits your planning requirements and try this tip!
5. Take scheduled breaks
A big part of staying productive is taking breaks. Especially when you’re working from home, it is important to take some breaks even during your work hours.
What I am saying now is validated by a survey by Airtasker, which reveals that 37% of people working from home stay motivated and productive by taking breaks.
There are a few important aspects of these breaks that you should keep in mind. These are:
- The timing: Your breaks should be well-timed. It’s best to schedule breaks right after meetings so that you feel rejuvenated. You can schedule a break to have lunch. You can even take a break for enjoying a snack!
- The duration of your breaks: Your breaks should consist of a mixture of long and short breaks. A long break can be your lunch break. A relatively shorter break can be your snack break. Other short breaks can be between 5-15 minutes.
- Frequency of your breaks: Now this varies a little from person to person. In my personal experience, I feel fresher with 10-minute breaks after 50 minutes of work. This is heavily inspired by the Pomodoro method. I take a 45-minute break for lunch and about 20 minutes for enjoying my cup of tea during the day.
- How you spend your break time: What you do during your break time is just as important as the frequency and duration of your breaks. Firstly, please make sure you stretch and/or move around a little during your breaks. You can even do a household chore such as washing the dishes or some light dusting!
6. Catch up with your colleagues virtually
One of the biggest things people miss while working from home is the social aspect. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s social habits in a drastic manner.
The idea of going to the office and chatting with your colleagues in your free time is undeniably very appealing.
However, it’s not impossible to recreate that joy you felt by interacting with your colleagues at work. You can still do that.
Planning virtual office parties, virtual game nights, virtual movie nights, etc., with your colleagues on a regular basis is a wonderful way to recreate your office environment at home.
This tip does not just apply to your colleagues. You can do this with your friends, family and other loved ones too!
This is one of the best ways to feel and stay connected and keep up with your social life amidst the pandemic.
7. Use headphones
This tip is especially useful for people who live with their significant other or have flat mates or children or pets.
Noise and activity around you can be very distracting when you’re working.
Imagine you’re sitting at your desk and trying to get work done when you hear your kids playing some video game or watching something on the television. Your attention gets divided.
Not everyone has enough space to allocate a separate room as their home office. Even with a separate home office room, it is still possible to be distracted when you’re working from home.
That is why it’s best to invest in a pair of earphones or headphones.
For example, a relative of mine, with 2 kids and a dog, has been working from home for the last year. Initially, she was having a really hard time concentrating because of all the noise around her. Then she got a pair of noise cancelling earphones and voila! Her productivity has improved exponentially!
Buy a pair of noise cancelling earphones and listen to white noise or any kind of music that helps you concentrate better.
This will help you stay focused and get your work done flawlessly!
According to research by Global Workplace Analytics, there has been a 140% increase in the number of people working remotely since 2005!
And with the pandemic creating havoc since 2020, this new normal way of working has its fair share of benefits such as flexible work hours and comfort, as well as drawbacks such as lack of motivation.
However, if you follow the aforementioned points, you will be able to overcome some of the most common issues that many people have been facing while working remotely.