With all the changes over the past year, many people have found themselves having to adjust to a work-from-home lifestyle. At first, it was an exciting prospect and easy to stay productive. However as time goes on, many people find themselves struggling to stay on task, and are missing the human connection from the office. Below are some of the best life hacks for working from home that can help with your productivity.
When working from home, it is essential that you have a specific area set up as an “office.” This should be an area away from your bedroom and living room if possible. If it must be in the bedroom or living space, you should ensure that it is set up facing away from the bed or television. This area will work best for you if you can leave your laptop, or computer, and documents in this spot all the time. If you often make phone calls, you should consider an area in your home that has a door to give you more privacy.
Even when working from home, you should have set work hours. This will not only help with your productivity but will also help with motivation and help to decrease stress. One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to set your own hours, which means you can work when you are most productive. Obviously, this only works for some careers, as if you deal with clients or customers you must be available during working hours.
It may be tempting to wake up right before you need to be working, but keeping your morning routine will help prepare you for the day. This means waking up, having a shower, and getting dressed, then heading to the kitchen to make your breakfast or coffee. Maybe you also read the news or listen to a podcast as well. Whatever you would usually do before leaving the house to go to work in the office. The most important thing according to one study is to get dressed, as most people are much more productive when they feel presentable. It also takes some stress off if you get an unexpected zoom meeting request.
You should be ensuring that you take regular breaks throughout your workday and getting away from your desk. On your break, you should either go for a walk or move to another area of your home and have a coffee, water or snack. By doing these things you are not only benefiting your health but can help your brain to reset. Additionally, you should take a lunch break each day, and once again you should spend this time away from your desk, and do some sort of light exercise – especially if you used to walk to pick up lunch each day.
Now setting boundaries is not the same as setting a work schedule. Instead, when thinking about life hacks for working from home, your boundaries should be for the other people in your life, such as your partner, kids and friends. People often assume that because you are working from home, you don’t have a set schedule. It is important to explain your schedule and let people know when they can interrupt if needed and when they absolutely can not. This also applies to household chores, especially if you are thinking of dividing them up differently while you work from home and they don’t. For example, doing and folding laundry on your break may be fine, however, it is not something you can do while working.
Nothing kills your productivity more than distractions. Unfortunately, when working from home, you will face more distractions than a normal workday. However, the boundaries you set will help minimize these. Some of the best life hacks to minimize distractions online are to block push notifications and only check email at set times throughout the day. Both of those will help you to stay on track rather than switching back and forth between projects or tasks. A messy workspace can also be a distraction so ensure you clean up every evening so your workspace is clean for the next day.
A study by Gallup has shown that one fifth of remote workers say their biggest struggle is the isolation and loneliness that comes with working from home. To help prevent isolation you should use the digital communication tools available to you such as Zoom, Skype and standard phone calls. If you are in charge of hosting virtual meetings, consider having time at the beginning or end for employees to catch up with each other – just as they would by the water cooler. Another way to encourage socialization is by having a happy hour once a week where employees from all departments can chat, play games and socialize. Ensure you stay aware of email phishing scams and never open unusual links.
You never quite know what will happen, so you should ensure you have a backup system in place. From data protection to home title fraud protection. Ensure you have adequate cybersecurity set up, to protect your data and work. This could be in the cloud or on an external hard drive; whichever works best for your role. Ensure you are saving your work frequently and that you also know where it is on the backup device you choose. If your internet goes down, you want to have a backup – for example, using the hotspot on your phone. Additionally consider alternative communication tools and check everyone knows what they are. This way if Zoom fails, you and your team know to try Slack instead.
Whether you are new to working from home or a seasoned professional these 8 life hacks for working from home can help boost your productivity. Who knows, maybe as you master the work-from-home lifestyle, you can venture into a nomadic lifestyle, without needing to leave your job. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that your schedule works for you, your needs, and your role.