With Coronavirus numbers rising in the United States, it seems that much of our workforce will continue to work from home. Some might be thinking… “There is no way I can do this for another six months!” Luckily for you, I have put together a guide to help you learn to enjoy working from home – or at least learn how to be more productive. 😉 Some might feel that they don’t get as much work done at home as they do in the office. We have all been there over the past nine months! Maybe the laundry needs folded or the kids need lunch — whatever it may be, it could lead you to be distracted and unable to complete your tasks. By following these few tips, I hope you can learn to enjoy the opportunity to work from home and be productive at the same time.
Too often I hear, “I can’t get any work done at home with my kids either in the same room or the next room over.” This brings us to tip #1.
- Establish rules within the house regarding your work schedule. If your children are learning remotely — explain to them the importance of respecting each other’s workspace. Put it in terms they will understand like asking them if they would be happy if you were trying to talk to them while they were taking a test. To be able to get work done you need to limit the number of distractions present. By setting rules about what’s acceptable and what’s not while you are working, it will limit the chance your children or other family members will distract you from work. Set rules such as times and circumstances where it’s okay to interrupt work to ask you a question.
(Check out this photo from Director of Strategy & Innovation, Dave Homan. His daughter made this sign for the family to know when to be quiet –or at least, “try” to be quiet.)
In addition to having a clear set of rules with your children, you should also have a space in your house dedicated solely to work. I know I wouldn’t get a lot of work done if my workspace was the dining room table. By setting up an office in popular places of your house, you make yourself susceptible to multiple distractions.
2. Having a room solely dedicated to work allows you to delegate when it’s time to work and when it is time to relax. Having to work at home can make work/life balance difficult. Most of the time when you leave the office, you are done for the day! Now that many are working from home — some may find it hard to stop working, since their office is now their home (and no one is shutting the lights off on them). By having a space dedicated to work — once you leave that room, you can think of it as “leaving the office.” This means more work done in your designated “office hours” and more time with your loved ones “after hours.”
3. A schedule is more important than ever. Without a schedule, it can lead you to waste a lot of time doing tasks unrelated to work. By having a set schedule each day, you will be more likely to stay on task and get things completed on time. Planning your day and what you need to work on can increase your productivity dramatically — as well as hold you accountable when you fail to do so. At the end of the day, when you look at your schedule and checklist, you have a tangible item to cross off and see where you’re sitting.
My last tip is the most important tip of them all! It may be a bit surprising to you.
4. Make it a priority to schedule periodic breaks throughout your day. When you’re in the workplace — you take a break for lunch, go on a short walk, chat with a co-worker for a few minutes. Whatever the case might be – it’s essential to schedule some type of break in your day. By scheduling these short breaks, you will be able to be more productive throughout the day. Without these breaks, it can lead to… BURN OUT. By having a short 5-minute break, it allows you to reset and be ready to attack whatever challenge comes your way next!
There you have it. My go-to guide on how to work from home effectively. We no longer have to dread this adjustment because with these tips, it can become an enjoyable experience! The last nine months have taught me a lot about myself both personally and professionally. By changing your mentality and strategy towards working from home, it will allow you to find joy in your job again!