Worried about working from home? Tips, here

Worried about working from home? Tips, here

Published on 16th April, 2020 at 05:16 pm

Surprisingly, you could expect increased productivity working from home, if you’re smart about it. These tips will get you on track.

A 2019 survey conducted by online outsourcing marketplace Airtasker on more than 1 000 full-time employees found that while remote workers take a couple more minutes for daily breaks than their in-office counterparts do, they report less idle time and an average of 1.4 more days worked every month. Similar research conducted by Stanford University over a two-year period found that a work-from-home setup was less distracting and improved the odds of workers’ concentration.

Instead of a slide in productivity, you could expect increased productivity. So, how do you do this?

Working from home tip #1: Define your workspace

And no, it’s not your bed. Create a clear distinction between your workspace and areas normally used for downtime. It needs to be comfortable, quiet, well-ventilated and well-lit.

Where not to set up your at-home workspace? Anywhere near noise or heavy foot traffic, like the TV room or kitchen, or open spaces where you don’t have the option to close the door to block out distractions.

Top tip: Make your workspace even more conducive to productivity with a snake plant, which works overtime by converting CO2 into O2 during the night (unusual for a plant), meaning less CO2 in the air to dull your focus.

Working from home tip #2: Keep up your routine

While staying in your PJs till lunchtime is tempting, avoid letting it become the norm. Treat your workday as you would if you were going into the office – this routine is essential for staying on top of deadlines and keeping your mind focused.

Top tip: Get up at your usual hour, take a shower, get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast and perhaps fit in some extra time on something that’ll benefit you now that you’re saving on a commute. If you have a daily status meeting, agree on an online video call platform to connect with your team members daily – not only for work updates, but for support and to prevent loneliness from setting in. It could improve your team’s joint output too: according to 2017 research published in Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, team communication is significantly linked to team performance, plus face-to-face teams (here’s why video calls are better than voice calls) show a stronger relationship between communication and performance.

Working from home tip #3: Stick to your hours

Routine also means deciding on – and sticking to – your work hours. The lack of office structure means you could either overwork by losing track of time on tasks, or not put the same effort into tasks you ordinarily would’ve got stuck into at the office. Strike a balance by defining what a successful, productive day will look like and aiming to achieve that within the hours you’ve set.

Working from home tip #4: Set boundaries

Be clear about what working from home means, and how family can help you achieve this. Have a friendly but direct conversation about your availability during work hours, i.e. yes: you’re physically at home, but no, you can’t grab a coffee right now with your spouse or play with your child, because you’re on duty. Writing on the topic for Forbes, mental strength trainer Amy Morin suggests the following friendly but firm lines you can use when family or friends want to engage:

  • “I’ll have to call you back when I’m done working.”
  • “I’ll need to look at my schedule first.”
  • “I am trying to meet some tight deadlines.”

This goes for pets too – don’t give into those puppy-dog eyes when you have an urgent report due! Playtime can wait.

Working from home tip #5: Know when to turn off

Have a life outside of work; you’re at home, after all. At the end of your workday, switch off your computer, and if it’s a laptop, close and store it out of sight until it’s time to log on for the next workday.

Need help checking everything off your to-do list? Your Personal Assistant is on standby. Reality Club, Core, Plus and Health members can use this benefit for free in the Sanlam Reality App, 24/7.

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