More and more businesses are moving toward remote working this week due to the current spread of COVID-19, and we, as employees, have the task of trying to be just as motivated and productive without our usual routine in place.
Every job role varies and the amount you’re able to achieve will also vary, but there are some very good ways to ensure you’re getting tasks completed and working effectively. Plus, you also want to make sure you’re staying sane and healthy too!
Before we dive into my top tips, I wanted to share some tools that I love for remote working:
- Zoom or Skype – great for sticking to the routine of having a daily meeting with your team.
- FaceTime (iPhone only) – not as good for conference calls, but excellent if you need to check in with a colleague.
- Slack – this is an instant messaging platform, brilliant for keeping in contact with your team throughout the day.
- Google Drive – this way you don’t have to use a USB/hard drive as it’s all in the cloud.
- WhatsApp Groups – I would advise this is only used for urgent queries otherwise you’ll be inundated all day.
- To do lists – an oldy but a goldy!
And onto some helpful tips… here are my top tips for staying productive whilst you’re working from home.
#1 Create a routine and stick with it
Just because you’re not going into your office, that doesn’t mean you should skip your normal morning routine. Wake up at the same time you usually would and make sure you change out of your PJs (I know it’s tempting to stay in them all day!). It may sound silly, but this helps you prepare for the day and get into the “I’m off to work” mind frame.
Plus, if your usual working hours are 8:30am-5pm, stick to them. It’s very easy to lose track of time and end up working a longer day than you normally would, or even missing your lunch break.
#2 Create yourself a workspace
Although it’s tempting to stay in bed or plant yourself on the sofa, it’s proven to be more productive if you set up a workstation. Whether that be in the study or at the dining room table, set yourself up somewhere and avoid the sofa!
As well as making you feel like you’re at the “office”, this also helps support your posture, dodge distractions and leave your work behind at the end of the day.
#3 Stretch your legs
Sitting all day isn’t healthy even if you’re at the office but working from home means you skip your commute and have fewer reasons to get up from your chair throughout the day.
If you’ve gained some extra time from not commuting, it’s a good opportunity to do a home workout (there’s loads on YouTube – here’s my favourite) or going for a run/walk around the block or at your local park.
I always find that a lunchtime walk (whether I’m in the office or working from home) helps me clear my head as well as sparking some creative inspiration.
#4 Get some fresh air
You’re less likely to feel the fresh air when you’re working from home. You don’t have the walk from the train station/car park and you’re probably not venturing out at lunch time either, so it’s a good idea to open some windows (weather permitting!) and get yourself out for a lunchtime stroll.
#5 Make sure you take breaks
It sounds so simple, but I know well enough that it’s so easy to let time run away with you when you’re working from home.
I would suggest setting some reminders for yourself on your phone. Reminders such as when it’s time for lunch or when it’s time for a (dog) walk will make sure you’re getting up for that lunchtime stroll as well as giving you that all important break.
#6 Communicate with your colleagues
If you work in a team, make sure to check in regularly just like you would in the office. Create to-do lists to keep yourself organised and focused and share the status of your lists with your line manager so they know you’re being just as productive at home as you would be in the office.
Besides email and messaging, it’s a good idea to set up regular check-ins via phone or video conferencing. When Team Ambleglow works from home we have daily Zoom calls to check in and make sure everyone’s on top of things.
#7 Fight the impulse to multitask
This may seem like a convenient time to catch up on bits that need doing around the house, but it’s easier than you’d expect to get distracted. I’d also urge you to prep your lunch the night before, so you don’t get preoccupied in the kitchen.
You probably don’t watch TV at work either, so try not to do so at home, even if it’s just for “background noise”.
#8 Prepare for disruptions (if you have children and/or pets)
It’s difficult to get work done if you have children or pets at home but it’s not impossible if you plan ahead and have some flexibility. Here are some tips for parents (or pet-parents!):
- Separate yourself: When you’re working, place yourself in a separate room so your children know that you’ve “gone to work”.
- Be flexible: If your job allows for it – especially with companies being more lenient around COVID-19 – try to squeeze in work when your baby or toddler is asleep. It’s not ideal, but you’ll be more productive if you have quiet time to yourself.
- Talk to them: It’s a good idea to talk to your children about the current situation, they’ll then understand the impact it’ll have on yours and their lives.
- Try something new: Time-consuming projects like crafts, puzzles and Lego, are sure to buy you some time.
There we have it… 8 really helpful and simple tips to improve your productivity and efficiency when you’re working from home. If you have any tips we haven’t mentioned, we’d love to hear them, just leave them in the comments below.